Cool Drinks for Hot Days

It finally looks like summer is here to stay. With the temperature in the mid-90s today and the extended forecast for 80s the rest of the week into next, any thoughts that we were going to miss out on nice weather can be forgotten.

But with the warm weather comes the need to keep hydrated. And what a better way than with cool drink such as milkshakes, parfaits or smoothies that are loaded with fruit.

Here are a couple of choices, a  Colombian Cholado, a nontraditional milkshake loaded with fruit and a couple of  slightly lower-fat alternatives, a Fruit Meethi Lassi, a sweet yogurt shake, and a Spiced Banana Shake.

Spiced Banana Thick Shake
2 small bananas, peeled
1½ cups ice cubes
3 scoops vanilla frozen yogurt or low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
½ cup pineapple juice or apple juice
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. If necessary, pulse a few times until the mixture blends easily.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 370 calories, 7 grams fat  (4.5 grams saturated), 17 percent of calories from fat, 23 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams protein, 71 grams carbohydrates; 51 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 75 milligrams sodium, 163 milligrams calcium, 450 milligrams potassium.

Fruit Lassi Meethi
2 cups whole-milk yogurt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom or to taste
2 tablespoons granulated sugar or to taste
1 pinch salt
1 cup ice cubes or ¾ cups crushed ice
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled mango, peach or other fruit
1 cup cold water (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender. (Omit the water for a thicker shake; add it for a thinner shake.)
Blend until smooth and serve.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 127 calories, 4 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated) 28 percent of calories from fat, 16 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams sugar, 1 gram fiber, 97 milligrams sodium, 155 milligrams calcium, 258 milligrams potassium.

Cholado
3 cups shaved or crushed ice
6 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed partially, divided
½ cup regular or low-fat sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 cups mixed, sliced fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, grapes, mango, melon, etc.), divided
3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, divided
2 maraschino cherries, for optional garnish
2 wafer-sandwich cookies, for optional garnish
Divide the ice between 2 glasses. In each glass, top the ice with 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup fruit.
Top the fruit in each glass with 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk and 1½ tablespoons coconut. If desired, garnish with a cherry and cookie. Serve at once with a spoon, a straw and lots of napkins.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 481 calories, 9 grams fat (6 grams saturated) 17 percent of calories from fat, 26 milligrams cholesterol, 8 grams protein, 92 grams carbohydrates, 83 grams sugar, 4 grams fiber, 140 milligrams sodium, 458 milligrams calcium, 898 milligrams potassium.

Tenderloin Mini-Sandwiches

Being an avid hunter, I’ve eaten my share of tenderloin. It’s one of the finest cuts of meat on any animal, whether it’s pork or beef or that from wild game such as deer, elk or moose.

I missed out on our annual elk hunting trip last fall because of illness, but someone else’s misfortune has made it possible to dine on some fine wapiti tenderloin.

Mike Lamoine, one of my grandson’s Cal Ripken youth baseball coaches, passed a couple of elk tenderloins my way after his freezer went on the fritz a couple of days ago. I’m planning to marinate and cook them on the grill this week while we have family visiting from Cincinnati.

Here’s another recipe for tenderloins that looks mighty tasty and one I might have to try in the future.

Grilled Tenderloin Mini-Sandwiches
1 whole tenderloin (4 to 5 pounds)
Nonstick cooking spray
36 mini-rolls
3 5-ounce packages Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin Cheese
4 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips peeled and seeded
2 bunches arugula
Creole seasoning blend, to taste
Slice the tenderloin into small medallions, about 2 ounces each, and season on both sides with Creole seasoning blend. Spray seasoned medallions lightly with nonstick olive oil.
Cut each roll in half and spread with boursin.
Place beef medallions on a hot grill and cook to medium-rare, about 1 minute per side.
Place a few leaves of arugula, a few strips of roasted pepper and a hot slice or two of tenderloin in each roll. S and serve immediately.
Yield: 36 sandwiches.
Approximate nutritional analysis per sandwich: 184 calories, 10 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 202 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 48 percent of calories from fat.

Honey Ginger Glaze Pork

Pork is pretty popular among grillers, and they got some good news recently about how to cook the “other white meat.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture now is recommending that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

The federal agency says it is lowering the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 degrees to 145 degrees and adding a 3-minute rest time, the same as for beef, veal and lamb. (That temperature should be measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to sit for three minutes before carving or eating.)

What this ultimately means is people who are cooking out will be able to get food on the table a little quicker.

Speaking of cooking pork on the grill, here is a recipe for a quick tenderloin that is seasoned with a flavorful glaze combines honey, ginger and garlic. Along with it is a recipe for a microwave brown rice salad.

Honey Ginger Glaze Pork
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ pound pork tenderloin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill. To make the glaze, combine the honey, mustard, oil, garlic and ginger. Remove fat from pork and butterfly it by cutting the tenderloin almost in half lengthwise; do not cut it all the way through. Open the pork flat and salt and pepper both sides. Place pork on grill; cook 5 minutes.
Turn meat over and spoon a little of the glaze on the cooked side. Grill 5 more minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove pork from heat and spoon remaining glaze on top. Slice and serve.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 300 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 8.6 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated, 4.4 grams monounsaturated), 108 milligrams cholesterol, 36.2 grams protein, 18.8 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 grams fiber, 177 milligrams sodium.

Brown Rice Salad
1 package microwave brown rice (1½ cups cooked)
1 celery stalk, sliced (½ cup)
½ medium cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes (1 cup)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat vinaigrette dressing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1½ cups of rice into a bowl and reserve remaining rice for another time. Add the celery, cucumber and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Sprinkle mint over top of rice.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 203 calories, 16 percent of calories from fat), 3.7 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated, 1.1 grams monounsaturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 4.4 grams protein, 32.3 grams carbohydrates, 2.4 grams fiber, 42 milligrams sodium.

Grilled Oriental Pork Chops

I’ve become a firm believer in marinades because a good one can turn an otherwise bland piece of meat into something special. And when it comes to marinades, the number of kinds is only limited by one’s imagination.

Recently, I’ve become enamored with some marinades from McCormick, the spice people. The ones I’ve tried the past couple of weeks have been dandy with some pheasant we’ve had on the grill.

But I do like to tinker with my own marinade recipes and ones that other people have perfected. A marinade recipe that I’m interested in trying that came via email from New Asian Cuisine (www.newasianscuisine.com) combines yuzu kosho, a spicy Japanese sauce made from green or yellow yuzu zest, green or red chili peppers and salt, and miso, a fermented soybean paste. (Both the yuzu kosho and miso can be found in Oriental markets or perhaps in the Oriental section of your local supermarket.)

The yuzu-miso marinade was suggested for use with grilled pork chops. The meat is marinaded overnight to give the pork time to absorb the miso flavor and also to give the active bacteria cultures in miso time to tenderize the meat. The yuzu kosho gives the pork a pleasing touch of heat.

Pork Chops with Yuzo-Miso Marinade
¼ cup red miso
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons red yuzu kosho
¼ cup finely chopped scallions
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 bone-in pork chops, about 1½ pounds
Mix together the miso, sake, mirin, yuzu kosho, scallions and sesame oil in a bowl. Pour ¾ of the marinade onto a baking dish or sheet pan, and reserve the rest. Lay the pork chops in the marinade and flip them 4 times to generously coat both sides of the meat. Once they’re coated, marinate the pork chops for 12 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
Preheat a grill to a 2-zone fire (medium and hot). Grill the pork chops for about 10 minutes. Start on hot heat for about 1 minute, then shift the chops to medium heat. After about 4 minutes, flip the chops and repeat the 2-zone grilling on the other side. When the pork is ready, it’ll be glossy and juicy on the outside. Test for doneness using the nick and peek method. Let the pork chops rest for about 2 minutes and serve.

Quick-and-Easy Spaghetti

Cooking elaborate recipes can be a lot of fun. But some days, a person just doesn’t have the time to spend an hour or so preparing a dish that has a dozen or so ingredients.

That’s why it’s nice to have several recipes on hand that call for a minimum number of ingredients and can be on the table in less than an hour.

I have several recipes like that. The pasta fagioli and broccoli and rigatoni recipes that I’ve shared with readers fit into that category. But a person can never have too many of those recipes.

That’s why the following spaghetti recipe that I came across is so appealing. It calls for just five ingredients, takes only five minutes of preparation and 11 minutes to cook.

Quick-and-Easy Spaghetti
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup tapenade (olive paste)
½ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to pot. Drizzle with olive oil; toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan; toss. Stir in tapenade; top with gorgonzola.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 412 calories, 27 percent of calories from fat, 12 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 58 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 338 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Cabbage and Kielbasa Skillet Supper

We had some kielbasa from Kramarczuk’s Sausage Co. on the grill the other night, and let me tell you, it was mighty tasty. I picked up the sausage, along with some Polish and coarse ground wieners, at the family-owned, northeast Minneapolis institution while on a recent trip to watch the Minnesota Twins play baseball.

I decided to go to Kramarczuk’s after a friend, Rich Vezina, offered to take me there. At the previous night’s ball game, I had a Polish with sauerkraut and fried onions from Kramarczuk’s at one of the company’s two concession carts at Target Field. (Kramarczuk’s also serves  bratwurst and Hungarian sausages at the field that are made fresh daily, just one mile from the ballpark.)

I’ve always been a fan of kielbasa, whether the pork or turkey variety. I have a couple of recipes that call for kielbasa, one of which is among my favorite soups.

I’m always on the lookout for more kielbasa recipes, and just recently, came across the following that also contains thinly sliced cabbage and onions. The nice thing about the recipe is that it can be cooked in a skillet on the stove and takes only 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook.

Cabbage and Kielbasa Skillet Supper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 16-ounce package coleslaw or 6 cups finely shredded cabbage
¼ to ½ cup chicken broth
1 apple, peeled if desired, diced
4 precooked kielbasa sausages
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions. Cook, stirring often, until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage, ¼ cup of the broth and apple. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Arrange cooked sausages over cabbage. Add more of the broth if needed. Cover; cook 5 minutes. Uncover; cook until broth is reduced, about 2 minutes; do not let vegetables burn.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 241 calories, 50 percent of calories from fat, 14 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 407 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Mushroom and Onion Burgers

Mushrooms and onions are two of those foods that seem like they were made for each other,  kind of like ham and eggs or fish and chips. And when you combine them with burgers . . . well that’s another story.

I remember my first burger with mushrooms and onions. It was like a slice of heaven. While it might not have been prudent, I might have had two burgers.

That combination is one you might find at the Burgerbase recipe collection at the website of Sutter Home Winery (www.sutterhome), which each year sponsors the Build a Better Burger contest. The granddaddy of beef burger contests offers a grand prize of $100,000. (You also can enter an alternative burger for a chance at a $15,000 prize.) Entries for the contest are being  accepted through Aug. 31. (For rules or to enter, go to www.sutterhome.com.)

To get you in the mood, here is a recipe that’s right up my alley. It’s a burger that is topped with both mushrooms and onions as well as cheese, another favorite of mine.

Porcini Mushroom Burgers
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms or favorite wild mushrooms
1½ pounds ground chuck (or mix of favorite ground meats)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
4 thick onion slices
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Favorite sliced cheese (optional)
4 hamburger buns or favorite rolls
Lettuce or shredded lettuce
Remove the meat from the refrigerator; set aside.
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl, and pour hot water over them to rehydrate. Let stand about 20 minutes. Once they are rehydrated, drain and squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop .
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
In a mixing bowl, gently combine the mushrooms, ground chuck, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and garlic. You can use other favorite seasonings.
Shape the mixture into desired-size patties of equal size and thickness; make them at least 1-inch thick. Make an indentation in the center of the patty about ½-inch deep, which will help the burger keep its shape and not create a dome.
Oil the grill grates. Place the onion slices on a platter and brush oil on each side. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Place the patties on the grill, and put the onion slices alongside. Grill the patties about 4 minutes per side, depending on desired degree of doneness. Flip them once; they should easily release from the grill. Cook on the other side about 4 minutes more. Flip the onion slices when you flip the burgers; they should have some nice grill marks and be slightly soft.
At this time, you can put the buns on the grill to lightly grill. Just before the burgers are done, add a slice of cheese if you like and close the lid so the cheese melts.
Let the burger rest several minutes before serving. Place the burger on the grilled buns; top with grilled onions, lettuce and condiments of choice.
Yield: Serves 4 (generously).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 523 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat, 26 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 32 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 784 milligrams sodium, 110 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

Dad’s Hand-Pattied Venison Sausage

It’s been 37 years since I celebrated Father’s Day with my dad. Hap, as he was know by many of his family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances (his given name was Ervin), died in March 1975 at the age 59, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t think about him.

More than anything, he taught me the importance of a good work ethic. Nobody worked harder than my dad, whether it was during his almost 30-year career as a heavy equipment operator and area maintenance foreman with the Minnesota Highway Department (now the Department of Transportation) or as husband and a father.

One of the things I’m most grateful for is what he taught me about gardening and cooking. Dad always had a very neat and orderly garden. His rows were always straight, and I don’t ever recall a garden of his being overridden with weeds.

And although my mom did most of the cooking in our house, Dad was a very good cook. He was a great soup maker. Homemade vegetable beef, bean and ham and boiled dinner were among his specialties. I can remember whenever he made the boiled dinner, my Aunt Harriet would tell my Uncle Curt that he was on his own for supper because she was coming over to our house to eat Hap’s soup.

And there were many nights I recall coming home late and dipping into the kettle of vegetable beef soup when my stomach was growling for something to eat.

But perhaps my favorite food that Dad made was his hand-pattied venison sausage we would have with eggs, toast and tomato juice. Dad was an avid deer hunter and always had all of the meat ground into burger. And all of it would go into those patties that my brothers and I so dearly cherished for breakfast or supper.

The cooked patties always were juicy because Dad steamed them in a frying pan with the cover. The patties were seasoned with salt, pepper, mustard seed and his secret ingredient, ground cloves.

This Father’s Day, I’m going to make some of those patties. I can’t think of a better way to remember Dad.

Hap’s Hand-Pattied Venison Sausage
1 pound ground venison
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons pepper (or to taste)
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. Take out of refrigerator and make 8 to 10 patties. Place in frying pan over medium-low to medium  heat and cover. Cook slowly for about 20 minutes before checking for doneness. Do not remove cover.
Serve with eggs and toast.

Beer-Can Chicken — Southeast Asian-Style

Chicken on the grill has been a favorite of backyard barbecuers for years. But it’s only been the past decade or so that beer-can chicken has become popular.

Here’s a Southeast Asian variation of that favorite from Alex Skaria’s “The  Asian Barbecue Book: From Teriyaki to Tandoori,”  in which coconut water steams the chicken from the inside while the exterior becomes nice and crispy.

The chicken is served with the coconut water as a side dish. This aromatic and slightly sweet chicken dish is best served with stir-fried steamed rice.

Coconut Roast Chicken with Soy Honey Glaze
CHICKEN:
1 can unsweetened coconut water (not coconut milk) (reserve 3 tablespoons for the marinade)
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 green onions (scallions)
1 red jalapeno pepper or 2 green jalapeno peppers, deseeded and cut into thin slivers
1 chicken, about 3 to 4 pounds
Salt to taste
MARINADE:
2 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons coconut water
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of curry powder (optional)
Prepare the chicken support. If you’re using a fresh coconut, follow the steps shown below.
Pour canned coconut water into a chicken sitter or an empty beer can with the top cut off. Add the onion rings, green onions and jalapeno pepper slivers to the sitter or can. Place the marinated chicken over the top of the sitter or can.
To make the marinade, place the soy sauce, honey and sugar in a saucepan and set over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved add the coconut water, garlic, ginger, black pepper and curry powder, if using, and simmer for a few minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Rub the chicken inside and outside with the marinade and keep in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Prepare the grill for indirect grilling. Place a drip pan in the middle and live coals around the drip pan.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve any leftover marinade. In a saucepan, bring the leftover marinade to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Set aside for basting.
Set the chicken resting on its support (can, coconut or sitter) on the hot grate above the drip pan or, if you’re using a gas grill, over the low heat zone and grill at medium temperature with the hood closed for about 1 to 1½ hours. During the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, regularly baste the chicken with the leftover marinade. Check for doneness by pricking the bird underneath the wings. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Check for the meat for seasoning and sprinkle on salt if needed.
Yield: Serves 4.

Chicken Sliders

I’m crazy for shredded meat on buns. And it doesn’t matter what kind of meat. Just this past weekend, a friend of mine — Rich Vezina — brought some Fraboni’s porketta in a slow cooker over to a get-together of our friends who were in the midst of a weekend of Twins baseball in Minneapolis.

Porketta, in case you don’t know, is a perfectly seasoned, Italian-style pork shoulder roast. It was introduced to Minnesota’s Iron Range by Leo Fraboni’s family in the 1960s and has been a mainstay ever since. (Framboni’s porketta is hand-tied and seasoned with fresh fennel raised by the family and is distributed by Fraboni Wholesale Distributors Inc. of Hibbing, Minn. Its website is www.frabonis.com/dev/.)

The porketta recipe would be one that I wouldn’t mind having, but you can bet that it’s a heavily guarded secret. It would go well with my other shredded meat recipes such as my barbecued pheasant and pulled pork and beef.

But I did find one new shredded meat recipe recently that can be added to my cooking arsenal. It’s for pulled chicken sliders. It’s a quick and tasty alternative to pork and takes only 20 minutes to cook.

Along with the slider recipe was one for and a quick, fresh coleslaw made with shredded cabbage from the supermarket, defrosted chopped onion, mayonnaise and vinegar.

Sangria-Braised Pulled Chicken Sliders
¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen diced onion
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon sugar
4 minislider or burger rolls
Remove fat from chicken. Heat oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken 2 minutes; turn and brown other side 2 minutes.
Add carrots, onion, cinnamon stick, star anise, orange wedges, red wine and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
Remove chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Place a colander over a bowl and pour in the pan liquid, pressing the solids with the back of the spoon to extract the liquid. Use two forks to shred the chicken, and divide the meat among the 4 rolls. Spoon the liquid over the sliders.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 569 calories, 22 percent of calories from fat, 14.1 grams fat (2.8 grams saturated, 5.6 grams monounsaturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 41.2 grams protein, 44.9 grams carbohydrates, 1.5 grams fiber, 494 milligrams sodium.

Quick Slaw
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
¼ cup frozen onion, defrosted
2 cups shredded cabbage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix the mayonnaise, water and vinegar in a medium-size bowl. Add the onion and shredded cabbage. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix again.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 77 calories, 58 percent of calories from fat, 5 grams fat (0.7 grams saturated, 1.1 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 1.3 grams protein, 6.9 grams carbohydrates, 2.1 grams fiber, 121 milligrams sodium.