Garden to Grill Ideas

Edible gardens are one of the hottest trends in gardening today. What makes a hot trend hotter? Why fire, of course. So as summer heats up, forget the boring salads and heat up the grill for some flavor-boosted ways to make the most of your edible garden. Following are a variety of fruit and vegetable ideas to add to your grilling repertoire for delicious additions to your summer meals.

GRILLED VEGETABLES

Grilled lettuce drizzled with olive oil and lemon and topped with manchego cheese and bacon crumbles. (photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Grilled lettuce drizzled with olive oil and lemon and topped with manchego cheese and bacon crumbles. (photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Lettuce: I know what you’re thinking…grilled lettuce?! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Grilling lettuce creates smokey, charred, caramelized goodness. Recipes abound for this latest craze. For best results, be sure to choose a sturdy lettuce and brush the grill with olive oil.

Corn: Grilling corn can be done multiple ways. You can wrap it in foil. You can leave it in its husks. However, how about laying it on the grill bare? Doing this will ensure that your corn will have tiny and delicious charred bits. Once you finish grilling the corn, bust out the butter and lather it on as you please.

Asparagus: Fun fact: grilled asparagus cures sadness. Okay, that may not be completely true, but grilled asparagus makes a truly delicious addition to any meal. To protect your sanity, however, use a mesh tray or grill basket for this task. If you want to up your asparagus game even more, make your own garlic and rosemary aioli sauce for basting or dressing your freshly grilled asparagus. You’re welcome.

Grilled bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with goat cheese and basil. (photo by Beth Dreiling)

Grilled bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with goat cheese and basil. (photo by Beth Dreiling)

Bell Pepper: No matter what color, they all taste better on the grill. The cool thing about bell peppers is that they are extremely versatile. Whether part of a shish kabob,  stuffed with just about anything, or simply tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette, roasting a bell pepper over a fire brings out a sweetness that enhances any dish.

Jalapeno Peppers: The bell pepper’s zesty cousin, these little fellows kick everything up a notch. If properly de-seeded and de-veined, roasting jalapenos will mellow their intensity. Stuff them with a variety of cheeses or other ingredients and either wrap them in foil or use a special roasting rack. For extra fun, wrap them in bacon, ’cause bacon makes everything better!

Grilled eggplant and tomato salad drizzled with lemony vinaigrette and topped with fresh mint. (photo by Iain Bagwell)

Grilled eggplant and tomato salad drizzled with lemony vinaigrette and topped with fresh mint. (photo by Iain Bagwell)

Eggplant: If you like eggplant parmesan, you’ll fall in love with grilled eggplant. The awesome thing about eggplant is that it will really soak up the flavor of bastes or marinades. So go to your local gourmet oil and vinegar store, do a little online shopping, or use herbs from your garden to make your own infused oils and vinegars and experiment with different flavor combinations. The same is true for a variety of squashes.

Tomatoes: You may argue about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, but you won’t argue about how good it tastes grilled. For best results, choose firmer tomatoes, cut thick slices, and brush the grill with olive oil. For added flavor, top with your favorite fresh herb.

grilled fruit

Grilled watermelon with blue cheese, basil and prosciutto. (photo: Jennifer Davick)

Grilled watermelon with blue cheese, basil and prosciutto. (photo by Jennifer Davick)

Watermelon: Grilling watermelon? This must be a typo. Before you judge, try it yourself and see why this summer will be the summer of grilled watermelon. You can grill with or without the rind on it. When grilled, the fruit sugars caramelize to create a unique flavor. Feel free to add balsamic vinegar or arugula for an extra flare. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it, for the water can spew and potentially burn you when exposed to so much heat.

Apples: Now for an actual fact: apple pie is an American classic. What happens to the apples during the making of apple pie? That’s right, they are cooked. Now use that logic, and apply it to the grill. The grill will both sweeten and soften your apples for a most excellent treat. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg for that apple pie flavor.

Peaches: Surely you will be enjoying ice cream this summer. Now that you’ve discovered the beauty of grilled fruit, throw some peaches on the grill, then add them to your summer ice cream. Sweet and delicious ice cream plus sweet and delicious peaches, what can go wrong?

Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple salsa. (photo: Hector Sanchez)

Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple salsa. (photo by Hector Sanchez)

Pineapple: Unless you live in Hawaii, it’s unlikely you’ll have any pineapples in your edible garden, but they’re so amazing on the grill, it’s worth a trip to the grocery. Whether served as a side dish or as a hamburger topping, once you try it grilled, you’ll never want pineapple any other way.

Bananas: Again, not your typical grow-at-home fruit, but makes an incredible dessert. Place it directly on the grill with the skin on. Once the skin is brown and the banana is soft, slice it open, sprinkle with cinnamon, and top with condensed milk. Voila!

Images Courtesy Time Inc.

Five Facts for Fantastic Grilling

Meat grilled steakThe sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s time to fire up the pit for some springtime backyard entertaining! Call your friends and get ready for a good old-fashioned barbecue with these tips for grilling success.

1. Cleanliness Is Tastiness

Keeping everything clean and sanitary will lead to a more enjoyable and safer meal. Before placing any food on the grill, make sure to thoroughly scrub your heated grate with a wired brush before and after use. This will prevent charred debris from previous meals making its way into your next meal. Also, avoid using the same cutting boards, utensils, and platters for raw and cooked foods. This could result in cross-contamination and hospital bills.

2. Just Tap It In

When applying rubs, be sure to keep it gentle. Simply pat the whole meat down with your desired rub evenly, and call it a day. Using too much force can damage the meat’s fibers and texture. You can also run the risk of over-seasoning your meat and having your family wishing they had gotten take-out instead.

3. Sit, Don’t Flip

Burgers: one of the most commonly grilled items, but also one of the easiest to get wrong. Many rookie grillers will feel like they have to constantly flip their food. However, it is better to let your food sit and get fully cooked, rather than constantly moving it. A good tip is to check for grill marks on the bottom, then flip.

4. Heat On, Heat Off

Foods that do not take long to cook — such as burgers, steaks, and vegetables — are best grilled directly over the heat source. Foods like whole turkey, chicken pieces, briskets, and ribs are better suited for indirect heat, away from the flames.

5. Shish KaBOOM

Who doesn’t like a good kabob? A hit at most barbeques, the shish kabob gives you a great variety of grilled foods on just one stick! To ensure your kabobs are a hit, grill each food item of the kabob properly. Remember, vegetables and some meats need different types of heat. For safety reasons, don’t forget to wet your sticks before skewering.

Entertaining for the Holidays: How to Spruce Up Outdoors for Winter Use

While you’re all dreaming of the excitement that comes with a winter wonderland, let your imagination run to your outdoor living space, too. Your guests will love what you’ve done with the place to make it a near year-round living area – or will do now after reading these tips!

You’ve dug out your holiday décor from the attic. You’ve set the table with special linens and good china. You’re prepared for company in every way, but are you really? Delight your guests’ senses from the moment they arrive and make them not want to leave.

Curb Appeal for the Holidays
You’ve given the front of your house a mini facelift for the holidays, but have you considered a more permanent impact for your home’s curb appeal? Adding a beautiful walkway path to your door sets the stage for your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. If you prefer a grander entrance, consider a paver driveway, steps or front porch. Adding pathway lights can accent your décor plus help guests navigate at nighttime. Winter is the best time for planning your landscape, so getting started now ensures you’ll be ready for spring.

Backyard Winter Wonderland
Don’t forget your backyard in your holiday celebrations. Lights, garland and wreaths bring warmth to your patio and often can be enjoyed from the inside, too. Leave the curtains open and let your guests enjoy the view through the windows. If the weather isn’t too frightful, enjoy a night outside warming up next to the glowing fire from a Belgard fire pit. Grab some throw blankets and marshmallows and keep the fun going into the night.

The holiday season is a time for gathering with those you most appreciate, so we’d like to take this time of year to say Thank You to you. We appreciate your interest in Belgard and wish you much warmth and wonder this winter. Happy Holidays!

Belgard Helps the Environment

Today, we are encouraged to be green, use green, and buy green. People who are familiar with the “go green” theme strive to help save the environment. Belgard®, with their line of Environmental Pavers is no different.

Subterra Permeable Paver

But how about, “Go Blue!” with regards to a watershed. A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of water, such as a pond, lake, stream, or other body of water that collects runoff from surrounding areas. Rainwater landing on the non-absorbing surfaces, such as parking lots, walkways and roofs eventually journeys as runoff to a larger holding area. Unfortunately, this runoff collects surface debris and chemicals, such as car fluids, fertilizers, animal waste, and debris, carrying it into our waters.

A watershed may be as large as the Mississippi River spanning 33 states or more communal like Diamond Lake of Minneapolis. The 2010 Blue Community Makeover Program known as “Go Blue!” was developed by residents to improve water quality when their Diamond Lake received the grade “F” because of pollutants and heavy sedimentation in the river from storm water runoff.

“My theory on life is that you should leave the world a little better than you came into it,” said resident of Lake Diamond Community. “This is one way I can help make the earth a little greener and a little happier,” she commented next to her new, serene rainwater-fed pond and gutter rain barrels.

Subterra

Many residents became very interested and involved in this program by installing rain gardens and water recycling systems, which help to reduce direct storm water runoff. Belgard was called upon to take up the gauntlet. Their Environmental Collection of permeable pavers played a huge role in the fight to improve the situation by reducing water runoff.

With the installation of permeable pavers, pollution from rainwater runoff can be reduced by as much as 100%. Permeable pavers can be installed in any landscape, from a home patio to community streets. Belgard is pleased to offer three types: Subterra Stone, Eco Dublin and Aqua Roc.

Subterra

Aqua Rock

Turfstone

Eco Dublin

Subterra® Stone brings in a more natural chiseled look to your outdoor areas. This paver comes in two different patterns. The modular shapes allows easy installment. The newest addition, Eco Dublin™combines cut stone with contemporary material, to provide a classic look. Aqua Roc™is the strongest out of the permeable pavers. This paver can withstand heavy vehicular traffic, yet subtle enough for a small project. Turfstone, with its high tech design, not only allows water to be absorbed naturally in the soil, but it also prevents erosion. Plus, greenery can grow through it, disguising it, thus working in harmony with nature.

The reason these pavers are so environmentally friendly is their installation. Gaps between pavers, which are filled with sand, gravel or filler, allow water to seep through and into the soil below. Through this process, may contaminants are removed from the water that will eventually make its way to a watershed.

With any one of these permeable pavers, not only will you be able to enjoy your new outdoor area, but you’ll also be environment friendly! Remember, you can always count on a Belgard Contractor when it comes to installing these pavers. Also, local dealers can help and provide color samples for your outdoor living area. Belgard offers its lifetime guaranty with all products.

Nothing is more precious to life than clean water.  Because of this, it makes sense to do all we can to instill, in our people (and most especially our youth) an understanding of water and watersheds, and how the activities of man affects them. Make a difference!

Click for more on Go Blue!

For case studies on Belgard Permeable Pavers, visit our site.

Belgard pavers can be used commercially too.

Go Big! with Belgard

Mega Arbel Belgard Pavers

When it comes to your home, you want to achieve the best outcome for your investment. In today’s economy, it’s not only prices consumers are concerned about. Getting the best products, with a lifetime guaranty, are a must. Belgard® knows homeowners want the “biggest” bang from their buck – and we deliver!

Belgard offers “Mega” outdoor pavers: a larger scaled paver option. Belgard pavers are the best choice for your outdoor hardscape project: they look great, come in a variety of size and color options, and have a lifetime warranty.

If you have ever installed natural stone, it can be nerve-wracking. If it’s not done right, there can be an imbalance of the overall design. If you don’t pick your stones individually, their varying thicknesses can potentially mean dangerous dips or humps. Having evenly spaced joints may require multiple cuts with a wet saw. Last, creating the look requires sample placement, assessment, moving stones, and sometimes repeating the process all over to achieve a random, yet balanced appearance.

Natural Look

Enter Mega Arbel®.

With the look of natural flagstone, and available in numerous hues of grey and reds, these concrete pavers are all the same thickness, pre-cut, and developed as interlocking pieces. Using up to twelve different shapes, and a simple pattern chart, you can achieve a natural appearance without the challenge of installation. Your guests will marvel at the beauty Belgard creates.

Mega Lafitt

Open the door for Mega LafittTM.

Our newest addition is already a hit! This 3-piece modular paver, plus a large square, offers various laying patterns to create a natural feel of rectangular, smooth flagstone. The larger size, as opposed to regular it sister, Lafitt Patio Pavers, gives a grander feel. In browns and reds, Mega Lafitt is the easy answer to your next landscape project. Its classic style will create a look to last generations.

Mega Begerac

Step out on to Mega Bergerac®.

Another of the Mega product lines, the Bergerac paver resembles a well-worn, hand-chiseld cooble stone. You can create different patterns using its 3-piece grouping, or add the large square for a different look.

Large square

The large paver, over 14” square, can interchange colors to create a checkerboard look. Offered in browns, greys and reds, this cobble stone look will last a lifetime while adding old world charm to your outdoor project. As the others, Belgard’s attention to detail with the texture of this paver, gives your outdoor living space a high-end look, with a down-to-earth price.

For each paver line, their natural appearance is due to Belgard’s advanced research and development department. “Many of our pavers and wall products are created by scanning natural stone with a 3-D scanner and using the dimensional imagery to create molds to produce hardscape products that mimic the look and texture of slate, flagstone, or hand-chiseled rock,” says Len Browning, Hardscape Technical Advisor for Belgard. “But unlike natural stone, pavers can be laid in a pattern that deceptively looks random but installs much more easily.”

If you are looking to achiece a natural, sophisticated look for your outdoor living areas, Belgard is here to help you make your next move.  Belgard…Invite Possibility.

Click for a dealer or contractor, or colors in your area. Try our online visualizer to see how Belgard pavers can create a new look for your outdoor space.

Create a grand entrance with Mega Lafitt

Belgard at the Ultimate Beach House

Outdoor diningroom with Mega Lafitt pavers

Homeowners dream what their home will look like when its “done.” The finished product is what homeowners strive for, but the hard work of planning and making it happen (usually on a budget) can be the challenge. Belgard® has many offerings of products, from pavers to full kitchen to entire outdoor rooms, can put you on the right path.

Before

This blog will show you the 2011 Coastal Living Magazine Ultimate Beach House in Norfolk, Virginia. Belgard provided pavers for the outdoor areas. This exceptional three-story home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in East Beach has more than 1,500 square feet of outdoor living space.

Belgard’s Mega-Lafitt™ pavers were chosen to complement the beach feel of the home. Mega-Lafitt pavers offer the natural, flagstone appearance throughout the driveway and patio areas. Produced in numerous colors, these pavers look at home anywhere, whether at the beach or in the mountains.

For this home, pavers in the “Mega” or larger size are from the modular collection, which come in a three or four-piece shapes that layout in a particular, repeating yet natural pattern. With a simple installation, the three-piece pavers were used in the outdoor garden rooms to give it a more intimate feel, while the four-piece modular pavers were used for the driveway allowing for an expansive appearance. Both offer the strength and the durability that Mega-Lafitt pavers provide plus the Belgard lifetime warranty.

Pavers installed

Even though the garden rooms were scaled down to a smaller size to fit this house’s limited outdoor patio space, Belgard pavers made this backyard area a “dream” outdoor living area for beach living. Never overlook a side yard – it may become your next favorite spot!

Mega Lafitt Driveway

The Belgard driveway of your home will scream “Look at me!” While your neighbors might settle for a poured concrete driveway, you can make your dreams come true with Belgard. Plus, you will sleep better knowing your driveway won’t crack like concrete.

Not only does Belgard provide pavers, but you can also think about other decorations for your outdoor living areas. When the seasons get cooler, you don’t have to come inside. Belgard can enlighten and warm your outdoor space with an ever-popular fire pit or more elaborate outdoor fireplace.

Belgard also offers many different collections that can appease your lifestyle anywhere. Each paver has a lifetime warranty and you can count on your local Belgard contractor to get the job done for you new outdoor area.

For you to get a taste of what it’s like to experience Belgard pavers along the coast, The Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House will be open for tours from now until November 27, and it will cost $10.

Finished side yard