Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Grill & Chill

Photos by Aimee Broussard

If we are being perfectly honest, I do not like summertime. I am not a fan of the obnoxious heat that comes with living in the South, and I am even less impressed with sweating. And don’t get me started on what our humidity does to my hair. It is not kind.

What I do enjoy about the warm-weather months, though, is the abundance of fresh fruit and its ability to breathe both flavor and life into your everyday meals. Such could be said about my Grilled Molasses & Peach Salsa Chicken. You could certainly just grill the chicken and call it a day, but topping it with a seasonally fresh peach salsa will send your taste buds into overdrive.

Having friends over for a summertime barbecue? Impress them with a Grilled Watermelon Pizza. Watch as they think you’ve lost your mind slinging watermelon onto the grill only to then marvel at your genius as the honey subtly crystallizes when it hits the heat on the grates. Seems an unlikely combination, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll see what all the hype is about. 

And finally, since we are forced to endure the sweltering summer, we might as well buy some extra peaches while produce shopping and whip together some Peach Lemonade Slushies. Feeling spicy? Splash a bit of peach-flavored vodka into yours … or mine, whichever is fine.  We can sip them on the porch while dreaming of how to attach a mister to the overhead fans. Now that’s the way to beat the heat! 


Grilled Molasses & Peach Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:
Molasses Marinade:
¾ cup molasses
13 cup soy sauce
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
Peach Salsa:
4 ripe yellow peaches, peeled and chopped
1 to 2 Tbsp. sweet onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, chopped (stem, seeds and ribs discarded)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all Molasses Marinade ingredients except chicken in a 2-gallon zipper freezer bag; seal and shake to combine. Add chicken and reseal bag. Marinate for at least 4 hours. 
Place all Peach Salsa ingredients in a food processor; pulse a couple of times, leaving some small pieces, stopping before mixture is completely liquid. *Alternatively, chop ingredients by hand. Place salsa in a bowl, and cover. Let stand for an hour before serving, to give ingredients time to meld. 
Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill chicken with lid closed for 9 to 10 minutes on each side or until temperature reaches 180 degrees in center of each breast. Remove from grill and let stand for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and top with Peach Salsa. 
Makes 6-8 servings.

Grilled Watermelon Pizza

Ingredients:
1 small seedless watermelon (about 3 lbs.)
4 Tbsp. honey
½ cup vanilla yogurt
Assorted seasonal fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi)
¼ cup assorted nuts and dried fruit
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Trim ends off watermelon. Slice watermelon into slices about 1½ inches thick.
Brush 1 side of each watermelon slice with honey. Place watermelon slices, cut side down, on grill grates and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip each slice over and grill for another 2 minutes or until you begin to see grill marks. 
Transfer watermelon slices to a platter and cut into 6 wedge slices. To each slice of watermelon, add vanilla yogurt if desired. Top each slice with desired variety of fruits and nuts, or set up a station and allow guests to top their own. Enjoy immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Peach Lemonade Slushies

Ingredients:
¾ cup sugar
1 cup water
3 fresh peaches peeled, pitted and diced
12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
Fresh mint for garnish 
Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and water to a medium-size saucepan and stirring until dissolved. Add peaches and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes. 
Remove pan from heat, and cover. Allow peaches to steep for about 20 minutes.  Pour peach mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer, separating fruit from liquid. Let cool. 
Once peach simple syrup is cooled, add lemonade concentrate and peach simple syrup to blender. Use lemonade can to add an additional 2 cans of water. Begin with 1 cup of ice and blend until smooth. Add additional ice to achieve desired consistency. Garnish with a peach slice and sprig of mint, if desired. 
Makes 4 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at aimeebroussard.com.