Last week I shared with you my grill menu challenge where I attempted to create an entire menu made on the grill. Aside from the delicious food, I wanted to make a creative cocktail and dessert, too. Who knew the grill had so much potential? These two recipes will not only wow your friends and family, they will mark your induction into the grill hall of fame.
I recently saw a picture in Food Network Magazine for “Grilled Lemonade,” and loved the idea of grilling citrus. With a few tweaks, I came up with this snazzy recipe. The smoky element added to the juicy lemons is surprisingly delicious. Make sure to grill the lemons at least an hour before you want to serve the cocktails. And it wouldn’t hurt to wear an apron—these things act like squirt guns on the grill.
-8 medium lemons & 1 for garnish
-1 vanilla bean
-1 cup of sugar* (you can add more if you prefer a sweeter cocktail)
-2 cups of any lemon-lime sparkling soda or sparkling wine
1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, 400 – 450 degrees.
2. Cut 8 lemons in half in the center. Once the grill is hot, place the lemons cut side down on the hottest part of your grill and let them sizzle away for at least five minutes, or until they have dark grill lines running across them and they look like they are going to burst.
3. For garnish, slice the remaining lemon into ½ inch rounds and grill for 1 minute per side. Remove them from the heat and set them aside for later.
4. Once the lemons have grilled, let them cool for a few moments until you can safely handle them and then juice them all and pour the juice into a large mixing bowl.
5. Cut the vanilla bean in half, turn the knife over to the dull side and use it to gently scrape the “caviar” seeds out of the vanilla pod. Place the seeds in the grilled lemon juice.
6. Add the sugar to the vanilla bean and lemon juice mixture, and stir. Taste for sweetness, if you think it’s too tart; add more sugar, about a quarter cup at a time.
7. To serve: divide the lemon-vanilla mixture into eight glasses with ice.
8. Add one shot, 1.5 oz each, of limoncello liquor to each glass.
9. Top off with lemon-lime soda or sparkling wine (about ¼ a cup)—I preferred the version of this cocktail with soda, it had a slightly sweeter, more lemony taste.
10. Set a grilled lemon slice on the edge of each glass and sip immediately.
This dessert sounds crazy, I know. I just had to see if my beloved Gorgonzola cheese could work in a dessert. It absolutely, without a doubt, did. If you are a lover of cheese-funk, you just might have found your new favorite grown-up dessert. Cook the melons at the very end of your grill session and make sure the grates have been wiped down if you’ve cooked meat on them previously, as it will transfer unwelcome flavors to the cantaloupe. Once the melons are grilled, it’s an easy fifteen minutes before this dish comes together. Get ready to impress.
-1 ripe cantaloupe or similar melon. We used a combination of cantaloupe and honey dew.
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
-¼ cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-½ cup toasted, sliced almonds
-*2 tablespoons of rosewater (optional, but definitely worth it. You can find this ingredient online or at any Mediterranean market. You can also replace this with a mix of water and lemon juice)
-2 tablespoons honey
1. Make sure your grill is clean and heated to medium (350-400 degrees)
2. Slice the melon in half lengthwise through the stem end.
3. Scoop out the seeds, and cut the melon halves into two-inch thick wedges.
4. When the grill is hot, lay the wedges directly on the grill and leave them for about four minutes per side, until they just start to char.
5. Be careful when turning the melon wedges on the grill, the fruit tends to get super soft and is easily damaged.
6. Once the melon has grilled on both sides, carefully remove it and let it cool.
7. In a food processor, pulse the cream, sugar, vanilla and Gorgonzola cheese until the mixture thickens (if using a whisk, add the crumbled Gorgonzola once the cream has reached soft peaks).
8. Pulse (or whisk) until the mixture has reached stiff peaks.
9. Get four of your prettiest glass serving-bowls.
10. Mix the rosewater with the honey to create a thin syrup.
11. Cut the fruit from the rinds and then cut into one inch cubes.
12. Divide the grilled fruit amongst the cups.
13. Drizzle ¼ of the honey-rosewater syrup over the fruit per glass.
14. Place ¼ of the Gorgonzola whipped cream on top of the fruit, and then top with toasted almonds.
15. Serve immediately, and enjoy!