Category Archives: Grilling

Chef Adrianne Calvo’s Roasted Tomato + Crispy Cilantro Pico De Gallo

Miami Chef, Adreianne Calvo, uses umami to revamp the upcoming Grilling Season

IMG_5695Nothing enhances the beauty of the outdoors during spring and summer and captures the culinary essence of these seasons like a freshly grilled cut of meat, chicken or pork. With the time for backyard barbecues, beach cookouts and lakeside picnics fast approaching, award-winning, Miami, Florida-based Chef Adrianne Calvo has put her trademark Maximum Flavor twist into the highly popular garnish, Pico de Gallo. The medley of various vegetables and herbs notably enhances the flavor of a wide variety of dishes, and Chef Adrianne’s Roasted Tomato + Crispy Cilantro Pico de Gallo brings a new delicious dimension to this traditional favorite.

Chef Adrianne’s Roasted Tomato + Crispy Cilantro Pico de Gallo embodies the  multi-cultural, global approach to all things culinary, as well as an embracing of fresh, natural ingredients. The added step in Chef Adrianne’s recipe of oven roasting the tomatoes raises the level of “umami” (the fifth flavor) naturally, adding a unique dash of succulence to what is already a mouth-watering selection.

IMG_2806Chef Adrianne’s Roasted Tomato + Crispy Cilantro Pico de Gallo not only serves as the ideal complement to your favorite meat, chicken or pork dish, but can also be enjoyed with some crispy tortilla chips.

“I believe in soaking in all that spring and summer has to offer—sunshine, the outdoors and great food,” said Chef Adrianne. “This recipe is a natural fit with all of those awesome aspects of what is a terrific time of year, and it’s easy to prepare too!”.

Roasted Tomato + Crispy Cilantro Pico De Gallo

  • Difficulty: Sinfully delicious
  • Print

Serves: 2 


  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeded, deveined, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the tomatoes in a small mixing bowl and toss them with salt, sugar, and olive oil then, transfer onto a baking sheet. Roast tomatoes in oven for 12-15 minutes. Set aside. Preheat a fryer (or pot with oil) to 375 degrees F. Flash fry the cilantro for 20 seconds . Drain onto a plate lined with paper towel. Rough chop the roasted tomatoes.  In a mixing bowl, combine, tomatoes,  onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add crispy cilantro right before serving.

Did you know…

IMG_8956In 2015 Yelp included Chef Adrianne’s in their top 50 local, non-chain Miami eateries.
Prior to that both Miami Magazine and Urban Spoon named in the Best Restaurant Miami in 2013.

Featured on NBC “6 in the Mix” every Thursday as the Panda Kitchen Ambassador and guest chef.

“After losing my sister to cancer in 2006, I developed the “Make it Count” Foundation to benefit children and their families suffering from the tragic disease. My team and I make it our mission to give back as much as possible.”

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital honored Calvo and her foundation for their time, efforts, and charitable contributions at the 4th annual “It’s All About the Kids” event. Calvo’s altruistic efforts have garnered yearly participation in FLIPANY’s ‘’Chefs up Front,’’ The Black’s Annual Gala benefiting at-risk kids, Common Threads, Verizon’s 4G for Charity, and March of Dimes.

naked corn on the cue

Summer cookouts are a favorite here at basil & salt and as always fresh foods are on the menu.

Whether you use the backyard barbecue or cook over a pit, fresh corn tastes a little better with a bit of char and smoke.

Lay your clean, shucked corn naked on the grill for a total cook time of about ten minutes. Turn often to ensure an even char.

Quick Tip

fresh cornIf you prefer your corn very tender or if you would like to lessen the grilling and char time, place unshucked corn in the microwave for up to 3 minutes. Cool, shuck and gently clean for grilling.



Enjoy a few of our other summer favorites!

Lemon Curd

DIY Mimosa Bar

Thank you for visiting basil & salt! We look forward to bringing you great content for gardening, parenting, health and beauty and of course, delicious recipes.

Look for our newest addition, Martinis & Mocktails, debuting on Blog Talk Radio Live!, in April, 2020. Stay tuned! Literally.

As always, I am raising a glass to you. Karie

You can find us on facebook and instagram @basilandsalt email:

profile picKarie Engels is an author, founder and publisher of Basil & Salt Magazine. She enjoys a quiet life in a small farmhouse in Washington state with her quarrelsome cat, Pippin.

Grilled Strawberry Lime Margarita

Enhance a classic margarita with the flavors of grilled strawberries and a squeeze of grilled lime.

Are you ready for barbecue season? Change things up a bit this year and add a different logo tipple and tasteflavor to your tequila cocktails. The team at Kenyon has developed a festive grilled strawberry lime margarita recipe that will be sure to impress your friends and neighbors at your next backyard cookout.


Grilled Strawberry Lime Margarita


Prep Time: 5 Minutes  •  Total Time: 15 Minutes

Serves 2

Grilled Strawberry Margarita FinishIngredients

  • 1 lb Strawberries (Hulled)
  • Granulated Sugar
  • 1-2 Limes
  • 1 Cup Margarita Mix
  • 3 oz Tequila
  • Ice


  1. Preheat your Kenyon grill to a med-high heat.
  2. Hull Strawberries and place them on pre-soaked skewers. Lightly coat with sugar and set aside.
  3. Cut Lime into 1/4″ thick slices.
  4. Once your grill has preheated, place the strawberry skewers and limes on the grate and close lid. Let grill for approximately 3-4 minutes per side, removing limes first. Set aside and let cool.
  5. Rim your margarita glasses with the lime then dip in either salt or sugar.
  6. In a blender add margarita mix, tequila, ice and grilled strawberries. Blend until frothy. Pour and add a squeeze of grilled lime. Use any remaining grilled fruit to garnish the glass.

Sip and enjoy!

If you’re in the northwest, don’t let rainy and cold weather ruin your grilling season. Kenyon’s premium smokeless and flameless grills can be used outdoors or indoors to create the perfect concoction. Just fire up the grill and invite your friends over.

Chef Adrianne’s Lamb Maximum Flavor Make Over

The Ultimate Tailgate Recipe: Spicy Stegosaurus Balls

In 2014 Robert Simon was a finalist on Spike TV’s Frankenfood, a network television competition cooking show. He rose above 400 other would-be contestants who were home cooks and food industry professionals. His premier was episode “A Taste of the Turnpike” and can still be viewed on Spike TV’s website

Can you take the heat?  This is a great way to feed a hungry football or basketball crew. This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be tweaked to taste. Ask everyone to arrive a couple of hours early, sip on a cold brew and have your guests stuff their own Stegosaurus Balls with their favorite flavors.

The recipe calls for a delicious fresh sauce, using crème fraîche. We have also found that a deep, spicy brown mustard sauce for dipping is tasty as well. Mix it up a few different sauces you love, to give you and your guests a variety of flavors.

Spicy Stegosaurus Balls

  • Difficulty: Involved and worth it
  • Print


Makes 20 Spicy Stego Balls

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 20 ounces Hot Italian Turkey or Chicken Sausage links or bulk ( each link, makes 2 balls )  4 packages of links or 3 16 ounce packages of bulks
  • 10 Jalapeño Peppers ( each pepper makes 2 balls )
  • 2 Poblano Pepper
  • 1 5 ounce container Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 8 ounce container crème fraîche
  • Chef of the Future (COF) Brand Floribbean Seasoning
  • Twizzlers Black Licorice Twists, cut into 20  1 inch pieces
  • Tabasco Brand Green Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
  • Cooking Spray, Canola

Chicken: Remove visible fat and connective tissue from chicken and liberally coat each side with COF Floribbean rub. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Grill chicken until cooked through, let cool. Cut into 1″ pieces, set aside.

fullsizerender-2Jalapeño and Poblano Peppers: Cut off tops and slice lengthwise on one side. Remove seeds. Fire roast peppers and place in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to let the peppers “sweat” until cool enough to touch. Remove skin with a paper towel. Do not run peppers under water.

Cut jalapeño peppers crosswise into 1″ sections to prep for stuffing the chicken. Liquefy the poblano pepper, set poblano mixture aside.

Open 1″ section of jalapeño and put gorgonzola inside. Add 1″ sliced piece of chicken, 1″ piece of licorice, and a bit more cheese to surround the chicken. Compress the pepper lightly to re-form. Do this for all of the jalapeño pepper pieces, set aside.

If using sausage links – remove casing from sausage, throw casing away and put sausage in large bowl. If using bulk sausage, remove meat from package, add to bowl.

Crème fraîche: For each cup of crème fraîche add 8 tsp of the Poblano puree and 4 tsp of Green Tabasco Sauce. Blend together for finishing drizzle or use as a dipping sauce.


For this recipe we used Johnsonville ~ Scoop some sausage out of the bowl and form into a round patty 1/4″ thick and 5″ around. Place the filled pepper, cut side down in the center of the patty and seal all edges so it forms a round ball, with the stuffed pepper inside.

Coat the balls liberally with COF Floribbean Rub and spray with cooking spray.

Grill the balls, elevated off of the grill grate, over a low flame/heat to prevent flare-ups for about 15 minutes or until center is 165 degrees F. Turn balls frequently while grilling. Plate the balls, either whole or halved. Drizzle Poblano Creme or serve in the side for dipping. Serve immediately.


As you become acquainted with this recipe, you may find yourself switching out ingredients to blend other flavors. Chef of the Future Seasonings come in a variety of options to compliment all of your gameday and grilling ideas. COF rubs and seasonings are now available online and coming soon to a retailer near you.

You can also find Chef of the Future on RealTree ,  Date Night Doins. Paige Daily, The Dutchess Cooks, Barbecue Master, The Sauce Shop App on iTunes, ViewsNewsBBQ’s, and Your Home with Karie Engels

Follow Chef of the Future on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and website COF.Rocks




An Impromptu Gathering; Grilled Salmon and Pinot Noir

Grilling outdoors is a delicious way to assemble friends, enjoy fellowship and engage in great conversation.  Add a cooler of brews, cocktails you have pre-mixed and a few bottles of wine to your backyard deck right next to your barbecue and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate and sometimes the best get-togethers are spur of the moment.

Grilled Salmon with Green Onion & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onion & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Each Wednesday, our fabulous wine contributor Jack Chase, gives wonderful advice on wine and food pairings.  You can find his latest piece here.  The tantalizing pairing that caught my eye this week is Pinot Noir and Grilled Salmon.  So I went searching for the perfect recipe for a back yard grill and found it.  Jane Evans Bonacci of The Heritage Cook has the most delicious cuisine on her site and she has so graciously agreed to work with us on this post.  Please take some time and poke around her site.  You are going to love it there.

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions and Basil by The Heritage Cook

What I love about recipes like this, is the colors are beautiful, they are full of flavor,  my two favorite things, and I also really appreciate that the ingredients list is very basic.  You more than likely already have these items in your pantry, so the shopping list is very small, which is key to an impromptu gathering.     Ingredients; garlic, salt, shallot, mayonnaise, soy sauce, salmon fillets, fresh basil, onion, lemon and ground pepper.  Full recipe on The Heritage Cook.

In her post, Jane gives tips and tricks on barbecuing.  Since I use a gas grill I am not familiar with a charcoal chimney.  I miss the flavor that only charcoal can bring to foods, so I am reconsidering how I will purchase my next grill.

If you are still using lighter fluid with your charcoal you need to buy a charcoal chimney. Lighter fluid leaves a greasy unpleasant taste on your foods and is a contaminant to the environment. The chimney is a simple design that works like a champ. Crumple up a little newspaper and stuff it in the bottom, place the chimney in your barbecue and fill the top with coals. Use a stick lighter to light the paper and within about 15 minutes your coals are starting to get ashy and are ready to pour out into the barbecue and cook over. Just make sure you use heavy leather gloves or oven mitts to protect your hands. – jane evans bonacci

Archery Summit

Archery Summit

Pairing?  I am definitely following the advice of our resident wine guru, Jack Chase and going with a great Pinot Noir, Archery Summit Premier Cuvee from the Willamette Valley.  

If you have questions about wines or wine and food pairings, Jack is here to assist!

Please enjoy the gallery of photos Jane has sent to us, following her creation of the delicious Grilled Salmon, step by step.  Then head over to her page for the full recipe, grilling tips and ideas.