Healthy BBQ Cooking

Nutritionist Samantha Heller and chef Danni Bleil drop by to prove that it is possible to have a healthy barbecue!

• Grilled Potato, Fennel and Radicchio Salad with Citrus Dressing
(Serves 6)

Unlike traditional potato salads, which are loaded with fat and heavy mayo, this one is made with a delicious light citrus dressing. If you don't care for the strong licorice flavor of the fennel you can blanche it in boiling water prior to grilling.

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 tablespoon white truffle oil*
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon infused olive oil
4 lbs. baby red potatoes, washed and cut in half
1 bulb of fennel, sliced lengthwise into 3/4 inch slices
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
1 head of radicchio, quartered
3 ribs of celery, 1/2 inch slice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chives, chopped
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

To prepare dressing: Place the first nine ingredients in a food processor (white balsamic through first salt). Process until well combined. Add the olive oils in a slow steady stream until the dressing is emulsified. Cover until ready to use.

To grill: Preheat the grill to 350° (med-hot). Brush the grill rack generously with sunflower oil or vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Because the vegetables all have different cooking times, it is best to cook the vegetables separately then combine at the end. Toss the potatoes with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes cut side down for 5 minutes with the grill covered. Turn potatoes and continue to cook until a fork is inserted easily. Remove from grill and cover with foil. Repeat the process for the fennel, Cooking until the fennel is charred and cooked through. Next cook the red onion the same way as the potato and fennel. To cook the radicchio, DO NOT toss with oil. Place directly on the grill, and turn frequently until it is charred in spots.

To serve: Place grilled potatoes, fennel, red onions and radicchio in a large mixing bowl. Add the celery and parsley. Toss with dressing, season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with chopped chives.

• Grilled Peaches with Lavender Scented Blueberry Compote
(Serves 6)

These grilled fresh peaches are simple, healthy and hugely satisfying alternative to high fat desserts normally found at backyard BBQs. You can add low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt for a truly decadent ending without the guilt.

4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, drained and stems picked
3 tablespoons lavender honey (or any aromatic honey, w/ 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender added)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
6 bamboo skewers (8-inch), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
3 fresh ripe peaches, (a 1/2 a peach per person)
1 pint low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt (optional)
Mint sprigs for garnish

To prepare compote: It's best to make a few hours prior to serving. Place the blueberries in a saucepan with the lavender honey. Over medium heat bring blueberries to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Let compote cool to room temperature. Stir in lemon zest and mint. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use.

To grill: Preheat the grill to 450°. Slice peaches in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Place one peach half on each skewer. Wrap the bottom of the skewer with foil to prevent the skewer from burning. Brush the grill rack generously with sunflower oil or vegetable oil to prevent fruit from sticking. Place the peaches on the prepared grill cut side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until they have nice grill marks. Turn peaches over and cook for about 3 more minutes until softened. Remove from heat and cover with foil.

To serve: Place a peach skewer in the bottom of a shallow dish. Top the peaches with 1/4 cup frozen yogurt, then spoon equal amounts of the blueberry compote on top of the frozen yogurt. Garnish with fresh mint. You can drizzle with additional lavender honey if desired.

• Easy Chunky Guacamole
(Serves 6-8)

To me there's nothing more satisfying than a hearty heart healthy guacamole with a little kick. Look for the dark pebbly skinned avocados as opposed to the shiny green kind; they have a lot more flavor and a better texture for making guacamole. It best to make this at least 30 minutes ahead, so the flavors really get a chance to mix together.

3 ripe Haas avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
I poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove of garlic
Kosher Salt
1 plum tomato, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin

To prepare guacamole: Place avocado, red onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add lime juice. Coarsely mash using a potato masher or large fork. Add the poblano pepper. On a cutting board, chop clove of garlic then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Using the blade of the knife press and smear the salt and garlic together to form a paste. Transfer to the bowl with the avocados, add tomatoes, and cumin. Gently stir all the ingredients until blended. Add more salt to taste.
Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface on the guacamole until ready to serve.