I am not one of those natural cooks…the type that can whip up something amazing without ever looking at a recipe. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to get creative with our family’s meals. Most of my solutions do not require a lot of time or effort because my schedule simply does not allow it.
I have a lengthy list of kitchen gadgets and appliances that have helped make dinner planning manageable. But I’ll start with my favorite…a grill. I can cook veggies, meats, fish, and sandwiches quickly and effortlessly with my grill. And, I don’t have to heat up my house by turning on the oven during the hot summer months.
Since the summer is the perfect time to grill, I decided to glean some wisdom on the subject from Normajean Longfield, who works at Unilever as the Senior Culinary Professional in the Unilever Test Kitchen. Normajean provides expertise on everyday cooking experiences and behavior and works to develop tasty, user-friendly recipes for today’s busy lifestyle. Specifically, Normajean works with Hellmann’s and brings her culinary expertise and real life insights to the projects. Below you’ll find my interview with her…
1. What recommendations do you have with regards to grilling sandwiches so that they are warm and toasty but not over done?
The high, intense heat of a grill is a great way to toast bread as well as grill sandwiches. Keep a close eye out to make sure it doesn’t burn. Combine Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise and garlic and brush one side of each slice of bread and place on preheated grill. Grill until bread is golden brown on one side. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Turn bread over; layer your ingredients on one slice, then top with bread and grill a bit longer.
2. What sorts of trends do you see with regards to grilling and flavors?
One of the big trends in grilling this season is experimenting with flavor layering. People are using all different impactful flavors, but now in combinations to PUMP up the flavor hit! Starting with a robust marinade, topped off with a spicy rub and then even a brush of a BBQ sauce or glaze. The key to layering is to choose complimentary flavors that work together well! Also with this trend, there has been an increase in the use of grilled fruits in savory applications as well as sweet.
3. What are your grilling must-haves with regards to ingredients/condiments etc.
During the grilling season, it is important to have all the basics to mix up a good layered flavor system, so be sure to have the basic ingredients for a good savory marinade- vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and brown sugar — this way it is easy to whip up a great marinade in minutes. It is also important to have a good Spice rub on hand, such as the Montreal Steak or Chicken Rub. In addition to those, a key ingredient to have on hand is a smoky BBQ sauce—this way you can grill chicken, steak, pork etc…5.
4. What grilling “gear” do you think works best?
I have a few key essentials I like to have nearby when grilling… first, a good heavy duty grill brush- to keep the grill clean and flavor free—so that all the food has its own unique delicious flavor. Additionally, it is important to have a good barbecue brush, long handled tongs, a heavy duty stainless steel vegetable basket- then you can simply chop or slice your favorite veggies, toss them in the pan, and place it on the grill along with the main entrée. Last but not least, a well made grill meat thermometer so the steaks, burgers and chicken are cooked to perfection!
5. What about “gourmet” grilling?
Summer grilling is the easiest way to be a “gourmet”…. Start with delicious fresh summer vegetables and good quality meats and keep it simple. Then use the various rubs and marinades to bring out the robust flavors. Or make up your own simple topping to serve along with the meat (see ideas below) Use lots of fresh summer herbs to bring in gourmet flavors and experiment! And remember to decoratively plate the food, as “The Eye eats first”!
Add fresh from the garden chopped basil and sun-dried tomatoes to Hellmann’s or Best Foods Mayonnaise for a change-of-pace steak or chicken topper!
- Succulent Grilling Sauce: Combine Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise with fresh herbs and spices, a bit of Dijon mustard and brush on fish or chicken, then grill or broil.
- Any-Time Quick Spread: Add horseradish to Hellmann’s or Best Foods Mayonnaise for a tasty topping, perfect for grilled burgers, steaks or even sandwiches!