Grilled Chicken Tequila Burgers

grilled-chicken-tequila-burgers-sl-xThis “dad-approved” sandwich has a nice little kick. Picture a juicy chicken burger, nestled under tender bell peppers and onions, dressed with cool Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise — it will become your new favorite summer dish. (Yield: 5 servings)

Heat up the grill, break out the tequila, and get ready for some mouth-tingling yumminess. Consider pairing it with a Mexican beer, margarita or a refreshing watermelon cocktail.

CILANTRO-LIME MAYO INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice

Preparation:

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate.

.

BURGER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbs tequila
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • sliced bell peppers
  • sliced onions
  • your favorite buns

preparation

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350-400°)
  2. Pulse ground chicken, cilantro, garlic and jalapeño pepper in a food processor 3 or 4 times until combined
  3. Add panko, tequila, lime zest, salt, pepper and soy sauce; pulse until combined
  4. Shape into patties
  5. Grill, covered with grill lid 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 165°
  6. Remove from grill and keep warm
  7. Reduce grill temperature to medium heat (300-350°)
  8. Grill sliced bell peppers and onions 4 minutes on each side or unit tender
  9. Serve burgers, bell peppers and onions on buns with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise

rECIPE BY CARA LYONS, COURTESY SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE AND TIME, INC. PHOTO: bECKY lUIGART-sTAYNER; styling: bUFFY hARGETT

Trends in Outdoor Tech

Folks today expect all of the same modern conveniences in their outdoor rooms they have come to rely upon inside of the home. It’s no surprise that a recent national survey of landscape architects revealed wireless connectivity and outdoor stereo systems in the “must have” list for outdoor living designs this year. And it’s also no surprise that outdoor-rated tech is beginning to flood the market. Here are some of our favorites:

speakersRockustics Speakers

With unidirectional speakers, omni-directional speakers, and subwoofers in a variety of styles that look like rocks, planters, and even stone or brick walls, these outdoor speakers can create the perfect sound while seamlessly blending in with your outdoor living design. By placing speakers and dimmer switches throughout your outdoor living area, you can create a balanced level of sound that won’t result in late night phone calls from the neighbors. And, your guests will be entertained just trying to figure out where the music is coming fun. Rockustic also has a couple of lines of traditional mounted speakers, but what fun is that?

waterproof-remoteCrestron Waterproof Remote

Compatible with a variety of home automation system gateways and IR-receivers, this rechargeable “remote on a rope” comes with a charging station and is even safe to use in the hot tub. With several weeks of wireless use per charge, you can control lighting, music, TV and more with ease…and without worrying about wet hands or the battery corrosion that can happen when you leave a remote outdoors.

projectoscreenVisual Apex Screen and LG Wireless Projector

Only 28 pounds, washable, mildew-resistant, flame-retardant, and easy to hang or setup on a stand, the 120″ Visual Apex ProjectoScreen HD is portable and can instantly convert your backyard into an outdoor movie theater. The LG MiniBeam PH550 720p projector holds a charge for up to 2.5 hours and wirelessly connects to Apple or Android devices. Throw some pizzas on the grill, and you’re ready for an unforgettable move night.

wifi-repeater2Ubiquiti Outdoor Wi-Fi Repeater

Unfortunately, kids these days can’t go 32 seconds without an internet connection. If you want to keep them from burning through your monthly data this summer, better get one of these bad boys. Able to withstand wind, rain and snow, simply plug the Ubiquiti UniFi Wireless-N Outdoor Access Point into an external outlet, connect it via your computer to your indoor wi-fi router, and extend your network up to 600 feet. Problem solved.

Grill Gadgets for the Aspiring Grill Master

Let’s face it, every dad is either a Grill Master or aspires to become one. Whenever two or more dads are gathered together, you can be assured that at some point, the conversation will take a turn towards the realm of the grill. There will be debates over rub recipes, gas versus charcoal, green eggs versus barrel smokers, and which type of wood creates the best flavor profile. But what is a Grill Master without his favorite grill gadget? Odds are he keeps one in his car, just in case there’s a grill emergency away from home. With Father’s Day around the corner, now is the time to equip the dads in your life with the tools he needs to work his way up the grill proficiency scale, until at last he can bask in the glory that can only be felt by a true master of the grill. With that in mind, here are some fun gadgets to consider.

Fire-Starter Tools

chimney-of-insanity2Anyone who cooks with charcoal knows that it takes a while until the coals are ready to start the cooking process. Once they’ve reached that “perfect” level of heat, however, the aspiring Grill Master will want to start defrosting everything in the freezer, even after everyone has been fed. After all, the coals are perfect, and it took so long to get to this point. Well, not anymore. With the BBQ Dragon fire-starter fan and the accompanying Chimney of Insanity, the coals will be ready in merely minutes, without lighter fluid.

Bluetooth Temperature Gauge

Now that the coals are perfect, it’s time to start grilling. A true Grill Master knows that entertaining the guests is just as important as manning the grill. In order to tend to both without neglected one over the other, a Bluetooth-enabled temperature gauge is a must! Simply pair the Brookstone Grill Alert gauge with his phone and insert the needle into the meat. If he steps away from the grill, he’ll receive an alert when the internal temperature hits the right level. He’ll never serve hockey puck steaks again.

3-in-1 Tongs

Presenting the Quirky Grill Wrangler. Yes, that’s actually the official name of the product. Is it a pair of tongs, a spatula or a fork? The answer: yes. This 3-in-1 tool can grip chicken wings, flip a burger and spear a hot dog. It’s made of sturdy stainless steel with an easy-grip plastic handle. Hold it closed to use as a spatula, open as tongs, or use the sliding release button to slide out the fork attachment. Voila!

Grill Light

grill-lightIt’s a little tough to get that perfect sear if you can’t see what you’re doing. This nifty battery-operated LED Handle-Mount Grill Light has a pivoting head and an adjustable clamp that allows it to fit onto just about any grill lid. So, you now have a reason to get him to toss that ridiculous head lamp he insists on wearing every time he grills at night. If he’s not ready to toss it, that piece of equipment can go back in the closet with the rest of the camping gear that never gets used.

Robotic Grill Cleaner

grillbot2One of the worst parts about grilling is cleaning the nasty gunk off of the grates afterwards. Some aspiring Grill Masters will try to tell you that the build-up adds flavor, which probably just means he lacked the desire or the elbow grease to clean it correctly. Well, fear no more, there’s a robot for that. The Grillbot is basically the barbecue pit version of a Roomba. Simply place it on a dirty grill, turn it on, and three electric motors will propel it and its mighty brushes around the grill. A chip inside controls movement and speed, and an alarm will sound when the job is done.

Sunset Celebration Weekend Event Recap

The Belgard booth was located in Sunset Celebration Beer Garden and featured a Weston Stone® fire pit surrounded by Lafitt® Rustic Slab pavers and a ???? seat wall.

The Belgard booth was located by the Beer Garden and featured a Weston Stone® fire pit surrounded by Lafitt® Grana Slab pavers and a Shelton Wall seat wall.

We had an amazing time soaking in the sun and celebrating life in the West at the annual Sunset Celebration Weekend held in Cornerstone Sonoma on May 20-21. We occupied two spaces on the event campus, with our company booth and fire pit lounging area by the Beer Garden and the Belgard Wine Bar on the opposite side of the campus. We’d like to offer a special shout out to our friends at Black Diamond Paver Stone & Landscape, Inc., who installed the fire pit, seat wall and patio for our lounging area. Members of the Black Diamond team were also on hand throughout the weekend to greet attendees and answer questions regarding landscaping and hardscape design and installation.

The Belgard Wine Bar was a popular site throughout the event, offering wine tastings to attendees. The bar was constructed with Tandem® Modular Grid surrounded by a paver patio of Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Our weekend began with Media Day on Friday. Belgard took part in the event by distributing materials to the visiting media representatives and offering refreshing mimosas at the Belgard Wine Bar.

Saturday was open to the public and was a perfect California day — sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Throughout the day, we educated attendees on various pavers and retaining walls and offered tips on outdoor living design and installation, as well as contractor selection. By stopping to ask questions, visitors to our booth were rewarded with an additional wine tasting ticket that could be redeemed across the campus at the Belgard Wine Bar. Additional festivities throughout the event included live music, cooking demonstrations, various product and education booths, food trucks offering a variety of delicious fare, and more.

Area chefs offered cooking demonstrations at the Outdoor Kitchen Stage throughout the event. The outdoor kitchen was constructed with Tandem® Modular Grid, with a surrounding patio of Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Sunday was an equally gorgeous day with a continuation of live entertainment, wine tastings, festive happenings and lively conversation around the Belgard fire pit. Anyone who missed the event who would like to ask questions from a Belgard expert on outdoor living design is welcome to call 877-BELGARD (or 877-235-4273) to setup a one-on-one consultation.

We’ll see you next year!

Planning Your Outdoor Living Makeover

Planning your ideal outdoor living space takes thoughtful consideration and planning, and Belgard is here to help you with every step of that process, from inspiration to completion and beyond.

STEP 1: GET INSPIRED

Before you get started, take some time to explore the options and consider what your goals are for the space. Do you want an area conducive to entertaining large groups? Are you looking for more of a quiet space to read and reflect? You will also want to consider issues like design schemes and kid-friendliness. Belgard offers a variety of tools and resources to help get your creative juices flowing:

  • Pinterest boards – Peruse an array of design ideas organized by project type.
  • Style File – Browse inspirational photos and collect ideas to save or share.
  • Project Visualizer – Upload a photo of your space and experiment with paver styles and colors.
  • Design Studio – Take virtual tours of 3D outdoor designs with fly-through animation.
  • Interactive Idea Book – Explore the world of outdoor design, including informative design trends videos and links for additional information.

planningguideSTEP 2: START PLANNING

When you’re ready to start planning your project, download our comprehensive Project Planning Guide, which offers multiple resources to help you create your outdoor living space, including info and tips on design, contractor selection, installation and maintenance. When you’re ready to start talking to contractors, visit our Contractor Locator Gallery to find a qualified designer and installer near you.

STEP 3: START TRANSFORMING

Once you and your contractor have agreed upon the design details, be sure to discuss the particulars of the installation process so that everyone is on the same page in terms of time tables, disruptions and overall expectations. Also remember to discuss any hardscape lighting needs and future improvement plans with your contractor so that adequate steps can be taken regarding the need for wiring, plumbing or other utilities. That will keep you from the headache and expense of having to rip up and replace a section of hardscapes later. Depending upon the scope of your project, you may want to warn your neighbors regarding the construction schedule if you think it might inconvenience them. Also, remember to invite them to your post-project celebration as a thank-you.

STEP 4: ADD SOME STYLE

For many people, this is the “fun” part. Modern outdoor living design mirrors indoor design trends in a number of ways — including furniture, rugs, throw pillows, lighting and decorative accessories. Enjoy filling your space with outdoor versions of all of your favorite indoor comforts, including appliances, sound equipment and tech gadgets.

STEP 5: ENJOY!

Now it’s time to enjoy living in your new outdoor space. Remember to follow these simple maintenance tips to keep your hardscapes looking as beautiful as the day they were installed.

DIY Project:
How to Build a Block Column

TOOL LIST:

  • Hand tamper
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tape measure
  • Caulk gun
  • Spade shovel
  • Stiff metal rake (for leveling gravel)
  • Yard stick or 2×4 board (for screeding sand)

MATERIALS LIST:

  • Wall blocks (quantity depends on height, will need 4 rectangular blocks per layer)
  • 20″ wall cap (if desired) or 6 additional wall blocks for cap
  • Crushed gravel
  • Bedding sand
  • Masonry adhesive

STEP 1: Prepare Base

  • Remove 6 inches of top soil (approximately 2’x2′ section)
  • Fill with 5 inches gravel, level with a rake and compact with a hand tamper
  • Top with 1 inch of sand, screed to level

STEP 2: Column Construction

  • Lay base blocks
  • Apply a layer of adhesive
  • Lay next layer of blocks and adjust placement with a rubber mallet, as needed
  • Apply a layer of adhesive
  • NOTE: Use a staggered pattern to increase column strength (see video)

STEP 3: Add Layers

  • Repeat STEP 2 until you reach desired height (maximum height 42 inches)
  • Add final layer of adhesive to the top of the stack

STEP 4: Column Cap

  • Option1: Position 6 blocks horizontally as a cap
  • Option 2: Top with a single 20″ square wall cap