Engineering One Cool Desert
On the menu for this week’s blog of The Engineer’s Kitchen, I decided to put together a meal that was focused on higher proteins with less carbohydrates and sodium. No heavy sauces or salty side dishes this week. Today’s menu is a simple peppered steak salad served with grilled squash and a light balsamic vinaigrette. To finish off our lunch, I made some simple grilled peaches served up with a refreshing lemon blueberry sorbet. The icy temperature of the sorbet is just the right desert for these hot summer afternoons.
Grilled Peaches and Lemon Blueberry Sorbet:
- 2 large peaches
- 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- Mint to garnish
In a medium sauce pan, dissolve the sugar and water over medium high heat. Once dissolved, remove from heat and let cool completely.
In another sauce pan, add the blueberries to ½ cup of water and bring to a low boil. With a large fork, lightly break up, or smash, the blueberries to release their juices and return to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove them from the heat and cool slightly. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the blueberries through, collecting the juice.
Combine the cooled blueberry juice along with the lemon juice and simple syrup and mix well. Place in the refrigerator until well chilled. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, following the manufactures instructions.
To prepare the peaches, simply cut into quarters or large enough pieces to place on the grill. You can always cut in half and remove the pit if you wish to serve the sorbet using the peach as the bowl. You can see the cooking instructions for the peaches below.
For the steak salad, I chose to use a sirloin cut of beef as it is a leaner cut with less fat. Using meats that are leaner and less fatty is definitely a must use for healthier grilling. The temperature and length of cooking time is also a large factor as noted in the study below.
Cooking For Better Health
The American Cancer Society™ has an interesting article where a study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that eating meats that were charred or cooked well-done may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 60%
[i]. Chemicals known as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, are created when cooking meats at very high temperatures and might increase cancer risks. These chemicals are created from the amino acids as well, as other substances within the meats that are cooked longer or at these high temperatures. This can occur in grilling, broiling or pan frying. When it comes to grilling meats in a healthier fashion, there are a few tips that you can use.
- Use leaner, less fatty cuts of meat (as I noted above). The fat that drips causes flare ups and smoke that can contain potential carcinogens.
- Placing the meat in the microwave for 40-60 seconds before grilling can eliminate 90% of the HCAs. Just be sure to get it on the grill immediately to protect against bacteria and other food pathogens created from partially cooked food.
- Using tin foil poked with holes on the grate will put a barrier between the flames and meat, while allowing fats to drip through.
Other tips such as keeping the grill clean to reduce mixing burned or charred meats from before with what is about to go on the grill, are among other tips that I follow while grilling.
While the grill was heating up, I laid out the steaks and seasoned generously with fresh cracked black pepper and just a dash of salt as my rub. As in the tips above, I ran the steaks quickly in the microwave before getting them on the grill. I put them directly on the grate at first to get some grill marks, and then transfer them to the tin foil side to finish. I follow suit with the squash cut lengthwise into quarters and lightly coated in oil.
Once the meat and veggies come off, I can switch out the tin foil and place the prepared peaches on the grill. (see recipe below) I grill he peaches for about 2 minutes per side until I get a good grill mark, then I transfer them to the tin foil and sprinkle with the sugars for an additional 2 minutes or until the sugars turn into light syrup. I find it best to turn the foil up around the edges to keep the juices and syrup from heading into the grill. Remove from the grill and let the peaches cool completely.
To assemble the dish, I make a simple salad from Romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, and the grilled squash. Slice the steaks on the bias and fan over the salad to finish. Place the sorbet in a large martini style glass. Place a couple of the peach slices along the side and garnish with a fresh mint spring.
[i] Rebecca Viksnins Snowden, “Eating Charred, Well Done Meat May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk,” American Cancer Society Website, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/news/eating-charred-well-done-meat-may-increase-pancreatic-cancer-risk, date accessed, July 8, 2013