There’s little I enjoy as much as collaborating with my über talented friends, so when my pal
Lauren Goodman suggested that we work on something together I was immediately on board. Lauren, or LG as we like to call her, is truly a renaissance woman with her irons in many fires, one of them as a contributing editor to style.com. She thought style.com was just the place for us to put together a fun food story and it was she who suggested a “we golden” take on 4th of July food. My wheels immediately started turning… how do you do something healthy and delicious enough for this kind of holiday without sucking the life/fun right out of it? Is it possible to do all of that and make it crowd pleasing and shareable? When I think about the 4th of July I immediately think of grilling as it’s a way to be outside and social rather than stuck in a hot kitchen while everyone else is enjoying time outdoors, rosé in hand. So, there were my parameters: healthy, delicious, fun, crowd pleasing, shareable and grilled. I decided to make grilling the real centerpiece here and throw some unusual suspects on the barbie.
grilled cabbage slaw with honey, lime, jalapeño vinaigrette
Serves 4 – 6
1 small head green cabbage
2 ears corn, husks and silks removed
sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1/2 seeded minced jalapeño (about 1 tablespoon, or to taste)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Heat grill to high heat. Slice cabbage into 8 wedges. Keep cores in tact as it will make them easier to manipulate on the grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat cabbage wedges and shucked corn with sunflower oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place cabbage and corn on grill and once they have char marks, use tongs to flip them to the next side. Once you have char marks on all sides, place on platter and cool to room temperature. Once they are at room temperature, remove the cores and thinly slice the cabbage and remove kernels from the corn.
Place a small heavy bottomed skillet on the grill or stove top over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, constantly stirring, until the seeds begin to puff up and pop, taking care not to burn them. This should only take a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and toss with 1/4 teaspoon of sunflower oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, add lime juice, honey, fish sauce and minced jalapeño along with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Whisk until well blended.
In a large bowl, toss the sliced cabbage, vinaigrette and corn kernels. Garnish with pumpkin seeds, cilantro and a pinch of finishing salt.
Grilled avocado and pineapple summer rolls with sesame sriracha dipping sauce
Serves 4 – 6
sesame sriracha dipping sauce
Here I used roasted tahini rather than the usual peanut butter as the base for this dipping sauce. Not only does it taste great, but it’s very friendly for those with nut allergies!
makes 1 cup
1/4 cup roasted tahini
1/4 cup raw honey
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
In a small food processor, or with a bowl and a whisk, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator until served.
Grilled avocado and pineapple summer rolls
I love stuffing these rolls full of all kinds fresh herbs and veggies I might have growing or hanging out in my crisper. Here I did a pretty classic combo with mint, cilantro and basil but I also added micro greens that I happened to have on hand. I’ve also been known to add sliced bell pepper or jalapeños… you should play around and have fun with it!
makes 8 – 12 rolls
one small pineapple, trimmed, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
4 avocados, halved, pits removed
1 package of cellophane noodles, prepared
one package spring roll wrappers (I use “Happy Pho” brown rice wrappers)
one head of soft leaf lettuce torn into bite size pieces
leaves from 1 small bunch basil
leaves from 1 small bunch mint
leaves from 1 small bunch cilantro
1 package of micro greens (optional)
2 – 3 carrots julienned
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Heat grill to high heat. Oil the grill grates to keep avocado from sticking. Once hot, place avocado cut side down on grill. Place pineapple on grill. Use tongs to monitor the progress. Once avocados have grill marks, remove and set aside. Grill pineapple until it has grill marks on all sides. Remove cores from pineapple wedges and cut into 1/4″ slices. Keep avocados in their skins and use a sharp knife to make 1/4″ slices into the flesh. Use a spoon to scoop it out for assembly.
To assemble the summer rolls, quickly dip one wrapper into a large shallow pan filled with warm water until it’s entire surface has come in contact with the water. Set slightly damp wrapper on flat surface and in the middle of the wrapper place a few pieces of lettuce, as well as a small handful of herbs, a pinch of cellophane noodles, several slices of avocado and pineapple, some carrots, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds and a pinch of sea salt – you’ll want to work quickly so the wrapper is still pliable but not tearing. Roll it like you would a burrito by folding in the sides of the wrapper and then rolling it up from top to bottom. There should be enough filling so that you have to work to keep it all in the wrapper as you roll it up. Repeat until all are formed.
Garnish with any left over fresh herbs and serve with sesame sriracha dipping sauce.
grilled mangos with whipped coconut cream
Serves 4 – 6
3 mangos, halves and scooped out of skins
2 cans coconut milk, chilled for at least 48 hours
1/4 coconut sugar, or to taste, blitzed until fine
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped fine
a few sprigs of mint
Heat grill to high heat. Cook mango until you have grill marks on both sides. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cut mango into a 1/2″ dice.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or a regular bowl with a whisk, scoop out the thick, creamy cap on the coconut milk, reserving the watery part for another use. Add finely textured coconut sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
In small bowls or glasses, evenly portion out the diced mango and top with a big dollop of whipped coconut cream. Garnish with toasted shredded coconut, toasted macadamia nuts and a small piece of mint.