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Recipes to help you trim down a bit before your holiday smorgasbord feasting

By Doug Mosley

I guess there is no doubt that autumn is here, and we all know that means the holidays are right around the corner. So if you’re like me and you’re wrapping up your Oktoberfest celebrations about now (true Oktoberfest is in September, remember?), you may be looking to trim down a bit before all those delicious holiday foods start showing up on the table. I’ve got a couple of books that fit the bill for when you’re looking to get fit and neither of them require you to step away from the grill.

What better authority is there than the American Heart Association for healthy living? So you know a book from that organization will be an excellent guide to follow, which is Grill It, Braise It, Broil It: And 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals ($19.99, Clarkson Potter, 298 pp.). Props to the American Heart Association for putting out a book of recommended recipes that don’t sacrifice flavor. The book is divided into chapters based on techniques and the recipes in each are truly creative. Baja Fish Tacos, Smoky Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna, Pork Medallions with Mango Mojo are just a few of the selections that each come with a full rundown of nutritional information. There are 175 recipes in all.

As diet fads come and go, some do and some don’t fit well with what we all here love and desire – barbecue and grilled food. It seems like each diet commands us to give up something that is among our favorites, so we do so until we inevitably give in to our wants. But there is one diet that is practically tailor-made for us, paleo. Just like any of the others, it has its committed followers as well as its detractors, but in my mind it doesn’t make nearly the same demands against forbidden foods that are in our favorites. In overly simplistic terms, paleo is based upon unprocessed meats, vegetables and fruits and the best way to add flavor through cooking all of those is on the grill. So I have for you what is practically a reference book for that, Paleo Grilling, The Complete Cookbook: From Ribs to Rubs to Sizzling Sides, Everything You Need for Your Paleo BBQ, by John Whalen III ($24.95, Cider Mill Press, 304 pp.).

 This book is paleo big and bold; it’s the size of a text book and packed with recipes and techniques. Its nicely illustrated with dozens of full-color pictures that are so well done that you’ll literally be licking the pages. It begins with a great introduction that fully briefs the reader on what the paleo diet is and isn’t, including a very good run down of the foods that have to be purged from the pantry and the ones that can be added. Following that, it’s the usual breakdown of chapters – Starters; Soups & Salads; Rubs, Marinades & Sauces; Beef; Lamb; Pork; Poultry; Seafood and Shellfish; Sides; and Desserts. No matter what you’ve heard that a paleo diet is all about steaks and chops, rest assured there are plenty of appetizing options laid out in these pages; Smoked Spiced Chicken Wings, Bacon Deviled Eggs, Grilled Calamari, Grilled Chicken Tomatillo Soup, Grilled Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, Cilantro-Lime Chicken Tacos with Spicy Guacamole, Grilled Peach Scallops with Basil-Cilantro Puree and more.

 Trust me when I say, you won’t be lacking for paleo diet ideas with this book. You probably do want to stock up on charcoal, though, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your grill cooking from this book.

There are very subtle nuances that can make a good meal fantastic, something that can really put it over the top. Often it is the last thing you put in front of your guest and that’s usually dessert. The flip side of that is you can put together an amazing meal but then have the lasting memory be a lousy afterthought of a dessert that wipes out the good vibe you’d worked so hard to create. It’s with that in mind that I’m always in search of new ideas for that final course, either some way to freshen up or improve upon a standard like peach cobbler or banana pudding, or something that is cutting edge and unexpected. This month, let me tell you about a book that offer the latter.

Kyotofu: Uniquely Delicious Japanese Desserts by Nicole Bermensolo with Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn ($25, Running Press, 176 pp.) is a collection of 75 desserts that are all familiar in concept but add new flavors through traditionally Japanese ingredients. The book’s recipes are ordered into six chapters that are themed by the ingredients: Soy, Miso, Green Tea, Sesame, Rice and Yuzu. And while there are must-try dishes in each chapter, the ones in Green Tea are some of my favorites. Matcha (a type of green tea) Cheesecake and Matcha Crème Brulee are both among the best desserts I’ve ever tried.

There are many others that you’ll recognize right away – Chocolate Chunk Cookies in the Soy chapter, Dark Chocolate Brownies in Miso, Black Sesame Shortbread in Sesame, Passion Fruit Mochi Ice Cream in Rice and Nashi Pear Crumble in Yuzu. There are full-color pictures of most of the finished dishes and succinctly written step-by-step instructions for each recipe. This is one of those books that will quickly become a go-to for all your best “wow” moments.

Owners’ Grilling Manual cookbook review

By Rocky Danner
World Barbecue Organizer

Owners’ Grilling Manual
Written by Benjamin Bartlett
Published by Haynes

While judging the World BBQ contest in Gothenburg, Sweden, I ran across an old friend, Ben Bartlett of the United Kingdom.  I have judged Ben’s team and cooked against him in several European countries. Ben gave me a copy of his new book titled Owners’ Grilling Manual. This is not your typical BBQ book filled with rehashed recipes and other useless trivia. The book has nine chapters:

Chapter 1:  The Art of the Barbecue
Chapter 2:  Science of the Barbecue
Chapter 3:  Spoilt For Choice
Chapter 4:  Tooling Up and Firing Up
Chapter 5:  Basic Barbecue Techniques
Chapter 6:  Alternative Outdoor Cooking
Chapter 7:  Going The Whole Hog
Chapter 8:  Ben’s Top 100 Barbecue Recipes
Chapter 9:  Afterword

The cover of the book displays a toolbox, filled with barbecue items and tools. This is a complete guide to cooking with grills, chimeneas, brick ovens, spits, and modern BBQ grills. In the book, Ben takes you step-by-step through the barbecue theory of man’s evolution, from open fire to modern, sophisticated grills. He provides photos and articles of barbecue styles all around the world. He also explains, in great detail, chemistry and physics of the BBQ grill. He also has an article, grilling whatever the weather, alternatives to outdoor grilling. Ben has an extensive chapter on which type of charcoal grill is best suited for you. And for the do-it-yourselfers, he has an article on how to build permanent backyard garden grills and temporary campfires, complete with pictures and instructions. He also offers an article on tools of the trade….everything from how to sharpen your knife, to cleaning your grill, and how to protect your equipment. He takes you through the simple steps on getting your BBQ started, articles on what and what not to use, and equipment necessary to maintain a well-controlled fire. Ben has an article that states in BBQ terms, “This fundamental law of physics means all of the fun of the fire has to have a down side, and that downside is cleaning,” which he covers extensively. He also goes into great detail about cooking with charcoal, gas, and wood, along with different types of cookers. His book contains cooking times, temperatures and cooking preparation.

This is not a book you will merely glance over. You will revisit this book as it is full of very important, useful information. Lastly, he covers cooking a whole hog (which is my favorite) from preparation to spit. In my opinion, if you only have one BBQ manual in your library, this should be the one.

About the author
From a young age, Ben knew he wanted to be a chef as his mother was a phenomenal cook and he learned about meat, fish and game from her. Even now, she won’t let him in her kitchen. He started his catering career training in Bournemouth, studying 7061 and 7062 food skills. He got his first job with Forte’s Restaurant on the seafront as a commiss chef. He loved singing and won a bursary to study opera for two years in Florence, Italy where he also worked at Masaccio’s Restaurant and learned to cook over 100 pastas! His friends entered him in the Britain’s Best Barbecue Contest and his prize was to visit Kansas City for the American Royal and learned from the Slaughterhouse Five, a chain of bbq restaurants. He joined the Major Players BBQ Team and they did well at the Jack, placing 10th. A few years later, he organized his own team, The Best of the British BBQ Team, winning the “I Know Jack” Grilling Award. This year in Gothenburg, Sweden, Ben was commissioned and is now a certified WBQA judge trainer. To learn more about Ben and this book, go to his website,

Benjamin Bartlett

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