Gourmet S’mores Recipes

Belgard will be giving away an Ashland Fire Pit Kit as part of our annual upcoming National S’mores Day celebration, which begins on August 10. Last year’s fire pit winner, Elaine Pitenis, just so happens to be a chef! So, we asked her to help us prepare for this year’s celebration with some new gourmet s’mores recipes. She was excited to oblige us and gave us some super yummy new gourmet s’mores recipes with varying levels of difficulty. Try them yourself!

Phyllo S’mores

Phyllo Dough S'mores Recipes Gourmet
Photo/styling: Cameron Gonzales

Thanks to her Greek heritage, Chef Elaine specializes in Greek cuisine. As a result, her family often makes s’mores with phyllo dough using the following recipe:

  • Take 10 sheets of phyllo and layer with melted butter.
  • Cut into 3” squares and bake at 350º F for 7-10 min.
  • When cool, place 4 squares of Hershey’s chocolate and one roasted marshmallow on top of a square of baked phyllo, and top with another layer of baked phyllo.
  • Allow the chocolate to melt, and eat!
  • To make indoors, simply use un-toasted marshmallows and place back in the oven until melty.

Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores Recipes
Photo/styling: Cameron Gonzales

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? Plus, this recipe is easy enough for kids to make by themselves (with adult supervision, of course…especially near the fire). For this recipe, you’ll need Pepperidge Farm® Farmhouse™ Thin & Crispy Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies or large homemade chocolate chip cookies.

  • Cover one of the cookies with Hershey’s chocolate pieces to fit your cookie.
  • Carefully toast marshmallows in fire pit
  • Take one toasted marshmallow that is still on the skewer and place on top of the Hershey’s chocolate.
  • Take another cookie and cover the hot marshmallow by pressing down firmly enough to pull out the skewer.
  • Allow the heat from the hot marshmallow to melt the chocolate. 
  • Wait until s’mores cools before eating. 

Baklava Truffle S’mores

Baklava Truffle S'mores Recipes

This gourmet s’mores recipe is the most difficult, but also the most delicious. Baklava is a rich Greek dessert of layered phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup on honey. You can make it from scratch or purchase pre-made baklava in many local grocery stores and bakeries. To make the Baklava Truffles, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality or Ghirardelli 62% cacao)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
  • Cocoa powder
  • 8 servings of Baklava, crumbled

TRUFFLE PREPARATION: (Yield: 30 Baklava truffles)

  • In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula every few minutes).
  • Place the chocolate pieces in a separate bowl. Pour the scalding cream carefully over the chocolate, add the vanilla and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. (This chocolate base is called ganache.)
  • Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove and use a teaspoon to roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Roll balls in cocoa powder first, then roll in broken baklava and serve in small baking papers, or place in the refrigerator until needed. Baklava Truffles can be frozen in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

NOW, FOR THE S’MORES: To use a truffle to make a Baklava Truffle S’more, roast a marshmallow on a long skewer. Take one truffle and one roasted marshmallow (still on the skewer) and place between two graham crackers. Remove the hot marshmallow by pressing down firmly enough to pull out the skewer, which will also press the truffle to get it warm and melty.

. . .

Gourmet Greek Grilling Ideas to Inspire Your Inner Outdoor Chef

Happy National Grilling Month! Last August, we sponsored a contest to win a Belgard fire pit. Selected completely by random, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the winner (Elaine Pitenis) is a working chef specializing in Greek Cuisine! To help us celebrate our National Grilling Month Giveaway, we asked Chef Elaine to share some of her favorite grill recipes. Celebrate with us by enjoying these recipes and enter for your chance to win our Grilling Month prize package of a Belgard Weston Grill Island Kit, Omaha Steaks® for a year, plus grilling accessories!

. . .

GRILLED OCTOPUS

The most popular appetizer in Greece during the summer is grilled octopus. Octopus can be purchased fresh or frozen and is tenderized before grilling with olive oil, lemon juice and Greek seasonings, then grilled to perfection in under 10 minutes. In Greece, it’s usually served with a cool glass of ouzo on ice.

GRILLED OCTOPUS RECIPE IDEAS
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large octopus (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Greek oregeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and clean the exterior of the octopus by peeling any outer skin.
  2. Place the octopus in a large pot and cover, simmering over low heat with no liquid in the pot, for about an hour, until the octopus is tender and bright pink. The octopus will exude its own juices while cooking. 
  3. Remove octopus from the pot and drain. Allow to cool.
  4. Cut the octopus into smaller pieces by its tentacles. Combine marinade ingredients and allow the octopus to marinate 4-5 hours, or overnight.
  5. Grill octopus over medium heat, brushing it occasionally with the marinade, until it is slightly charred and crisp, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.  
  6. Serve immediately.

. . .

PAITHAKIA (Grilled Lamb Chops)

One of the favorite dishes in Greece is lamb, and Grilled Lamb Chops are simply the best and quickest way to enjoy lamb. The most tender lamb chops come from baby lamb. These juicy, tender and delicate lamb chops are prepared with plenty of olive oil and Greek seasonings to bring out all the glorious flavors.

PAITHAKIA (Grilled Lamb Chops) Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 lamb chops
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Greek oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Brush lamb chops with olive oil and season lightly with oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Grill on medium-hot grill for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper in bowl and pour over grilled lamb chops, and serve.

. . .

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI

A summer treat in every Greek home is Chicken Souvlaki. Delicately prepared with free range chicken, the breast meat is cubed, skewered, and then marinaded for several hours to intensify the flavor.

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS / MATERIALS

  • 3-4 pounds boneless, skinless, free-range chicken breast, cubed
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • large plastic container

MARINADE

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Greek oregano

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Skewer cubed chicken. Place in a plastic food container and add marinade.  Cover container and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  2. On medium heat, grill for 10 minutes on each side until meat has a nice char and all pink is gone.
  3. Serve with rice pilaf or on warm pita bread with a dollop of tzatziki sauce.

. . .

MELITZANOSALATA (Greek Eggplant Dip)

There is no more delicious appetizer for entertaining guests than Greek-style Eggplant Dip. Grilling the eggplant is easy and gives it a delicate and smoky flavor. Eggplant is a low-fat food that’s high in potassium, and when combined with olive oil and garlic, it’s a heart-healthy way to boost your nutrition.

MELITZANOSALATA (Greek Eggplant Dip) Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cupc olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: kalamata olive and lemon slices

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Grill whole eggplant on medium heat for 30-45 minutes, depending in the size of the eggplant. Turn eggplant on the grill every 10 minutes using long tongs. Grill until the eggplant is slightly charred and has collapsed. Allow to cool before peeling the skin.
  2. In a food processor, combine the eggplant flesh with the chopped onion, garlic, and lemon juice, pulsing while adding the olive oil gradually. For a more textured consistency, use a fork instead of food processor to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, allowing the all the flavors to mingle.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita bread.

. . .

Elaine Pitenis Greek Chef

About Elaine Pitenis and My Big, Fat, Greek Cooking Class!

Elaine Pitenis grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and did her graduate work in Microbiology at Harvard University. She worked in the fields of Microbiology and Cancer Research before marrying and having four beautiful children. The family moved to Greece and lived in Athens for a short time before relocating to Daytona Beach, FL in 1999 and opening her Greek Cooking School. While in Greece, Elaine learned cooking techniques from several acclaimed Greek chefs from Corinth, Kastoria, and the islands of Samos and Salamina. Elaine began teaching Greek Cooking in 2004 at The Casements in Ormond Beach, FL and has used the acquired techniques from Greece in addition to her prior knowledge of the culinary arts through her mother Connie Spinos, who was an exceptional Home Economics teacher before she retired. My Big, Fat, Greek Cooking Classes elicit a fusion of both “old world” traditional cooking techniques blended with her own flavorful and innovative methods to offer her students a unique, hands-on cooking class that creates delicious, heart-healthy Grecian delicacies.                         

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Grilling season is here. It’s time for backyard barbecues, summer picnics, delicious food, sunshine and summer vibes. Become the grill master at the next party with Omaha Steaks’ secrets to grilling the perfect steak in your outdoor kitchen.

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

SELECTING YOUR IDEAL STEAK CUT

Every steak cut has a unique flavor profile and tenderness. The key to perfect grilling is starting with a great steak! Select an aged steak for increased tenderness and intense flavors -– all Omaha Steaks steak cuts are aged at least 21 days. Here’s a guide to finding your perfect steak cut:

  • Filet Mignon – The most tender steak with a mild, elegant flavor. The filet mignon is an ideal companion for rich toppings, wine-based sauces, blue cheese butters and mushroom sauteés.
  • Ribeye – The most marbled steak cut with a rich butter and bold flavor. This versatile steak cut features a tender texture and intense flavor. Top a ribeye with this smoky bacon butter for a truly decadent steak experience.
  • New York Strip – A well-marbled steak with a firmer texture. Bone-in or boneless, the New York strip delivers an unmistakably bold beef flavor.
  • Top Sirloin – This naturally lean cut of steak is bursting with bold, full-bodied beef flavor and a firm texture.
  • T-Bone – This iconic steak is actually two steaks in one — a filet mignon and a New York strip — giving it two distinct flavor profiles. This large steak is perfect for sharing (or not, we won’t tell.)
Grilling the Perfect Steak Tips

STEAK SEASONING TIPS

Thaw your steak completely and season both sides liberally with sea salt and cracked pepper or a coarse steak rub. Our chefs recommend seasoning your steak about 30 minutes before cooking to allow the salt to work its way into the beef and create more flavor. You can also rub a little bit of olive oil on your steaks before seasoning to help seasonings stick. 

GRILL PREP TIPS

Whether you use a charcoal or gas grill, it’s the heat that matters. Before grilling, clean your grates and preheat your gas grill to high or start your charcoal 10-15 minutes before you grill. You want your grill to be hot before adding your steak. We recommend brushing your clean grill grates with oil before adding any food.

STEAK COOKING TEMPERATURES

Once the grill is hot and oiled, carefully place your steaks directly over the heat source. Now… let the heat do the work. Flip your steak only once, and don’t poke, press or prod it. We use the 60/40 rule when steak cooking: flip the steak once, at about 60% of the total cooking time for an even cook. Use the chart below or the Omaha Steaks app cooking timer for juicy grilled steaks every time.

Steak Thickness Temperature Chart for Grilling the Perfect Steak

The “doneness” of a steak is best determined by the internal temperature of the beef. Every person has a preference, but if you ask our experts … medium rare is best. Use a high-quality meat thermometer to measure the temperature of your steak for your perfect doneness.

Rare 120-130F
Medium-Rare 130-140F
Medium 140-150F
Medium-Well 150-160F
Well-Done 160F+

RESTING YOUR STEAKS

Grilling a great steak is easy when you select a great steak, follow our grilling steps and use the cooking chart. But, the real secret to a juicy steak is to let your steak rest!

Rest your cooked steak at least 5 minutes after removing from the grill to allow the steak juices to redistribute. A foil tent can help regulate temperature during the resting period.

We’ve shared our steak cooking secrets. Now, grab a drink, head outdoors and enjoy the best steak you’ve ever made!

. . .

Guest post and images by Omaha Steaks , America’s Original Butcher, delivering the best steaks in the world.

Recipes and Tips from Omaha Steaks®

Ah, summertime. Family time. Pool time. And best of all…steak time. Before you light the grill in your outdoor kitchen this evening, take a look at these tips and recipes from the steak experts at Omaha Steaks®.

GRILLED FILET MIGNON WITH ROASTED LEEKS AND FENNEL

Impeccable steak flavor collides with the sweet, nutritious taste of roasted leeks and fennel in this wholesome savory recipe. With only 15 minutes of prep time, you can spend less time cooking and more time enjoying.

GET THE RECIPE

RIBEYE CAP ROAST + SMOKY BACON, CHIVE AND SHALLOT BUTTER

RIBEYE CAP ROAST + SMOKY BACON, CHIVE AND SHALLOT BUTTER RECIPE

The Private Reserve® ribeye cap roast, an Omaha Steaks exclusive, is carved from the most prized part of the ribeye and makes the perfect centerpiece for family gatherings. Get tips for cooking this amazing cut of meat via slow roast, quick roast, gas grill and charcoal grill.

READ THE BLOG

CARNITAS-STYLE GRILLED BEEF TACOS

CARNITAS-STYLE GRILLED BEEF TACOS RECIPE

Healthy, hearty tacos are always a hit at any gathering. Omaha Steaks Flat Iron Steaks, marinated in sauce bursting with zesty flavor, are topped with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for to-die-for freshness. Tomatillo and avocado salsa combine to make the perfect garnish for this crowd-pleasing dish.

GET THE RECIPE


COMING SOON: July is National Grilling Month, and Belgard and Omaha Steaks will be joining forces to give away a fabulous grill master prize package that will include a Weston Stone® Grill Island Kit and Omaha Steaks for a year! Stay tuned for our contest kickoff.

. . .

Recipes and photos courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

Win a Weston Grill Island Kit

Backyard Pool Games for the Whole Family

Family Backyard Pool Games

Water ya up to this summer? Hope its going swimmingly. So long, spring showers…you will surely be “mist.” Ok, enough with the bad water puns. Time to have some real fun in one of our favorite family outdoor spaces: the pool!

Whether you have a modest pool or a contemporary backyard masterpiece, it is time to seize the moment and have the pool party that everyone will remember. Summer is in full swing, and do we have some fun pool games for you!

FOR THE KIDDOS

A traditional game like “Marco Polo” might be fun for some. Others are ready for something new to spice up their pool life. Just remember, no matter what the activity, kids in the water need a parent or adult to supervise!

Kid Friendly Pool Game Ideas
On your marks, get set, go!

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle):
Did you know that most plastics will sink once filled with water? Gather a bunch of small plastic bottles and remove the labels. Once complete, have the kids designate an area of your pool deck as their base where they throw the bottles into the pool backwards (no peeking). The player with the most bottles wins!

. . .

Coin Dive Pool Game Ideas
Who can find the special coin?

Ice Cream Coin Dive:
This one will keep them occupied for a while! Start out by collecting an ice-cream bucket’s amount of coins and designating one as the “prize coin.” Then disperse the coins throughout your pool. Tell the kids that there will be ice cream for everyone who plays. The top prizes will be special ice cream sundaes, which will go to the one who gathers the most coins and the one who finds the prize coin. Watch as they scramble for the top prize!

. . .

These little guys are harder to gather than they look!

Ping Pong Ball Race:
This one will have everyone laughing. With everyone out of the pool, toss a bucket of ping pong balls into the pool. Be sure to spread them out. At the count of three everyone jumps in and tries to gather as many as they can, stuffing them into their suits and swimshirts or holding onto them how ever they can. The person who gathers the most wins. You can also have specially colored balls that count for extra points or get a special prize.

FOR THE BIG “KIDS”

Children are subconsciously drawn to pools like hummingbirds to honeysuckles, but who says pool games are just for the little ones?

See game videos at WatermelonBall.com.

Watermelon Ball:
You can either play this with a real watermelon or a specially weighted Watermelon Ball (which has less potential for cracking and getting messy). The game is basically like a combination of rugby, football and basketball played in the water. Watermelons are neutrally buoyant, which allows them to be passed underwater. Fabricated watermelon balls are engineered to create the same feel. To play, split into two teams and line each team on opposite sides of the pool. Flip to see which team gets the melon first. The goal is to get the melon onto the opposite deck to score a point. Opposing team gets to start with the melon on the next round. Set some ground rules regarding rough play (like no pulling off suits or holding someone underwater), but otherwise pass, steal, dribble, run, whatever it takes to make a goal. To add another level of difficulty, anchor inner-tubes to use as the goals for each team. To make the game even more tricky, you can coat the watermelon or ball with some petroleum jelly to make it harder to hold onto.

. . .

Floating Pool Beer Pong Battleship
Take “you sank my battleship” to a new level.

Pool Pong (21+):
When it’s adult swim time, fetch a few of those ping pong balls from the race and play beer pong in the pool. There are lots of pool pong products on the market for this type of activity. Although, probably the most creative is called Battleship Beer Pong, which is sort of a cross between beer pong and the classic Battleship board game, complete with cup rafts that replicate the destroyer, submarine, battleship and aircraft carrier from the board game.

Family Outdoor and Backyard Activities

May is time filled with family gatherings — that time of year when everyone comes together to celebrate mothers, new beginnings, and those who have given their lives for our freedoms. Whether you’re hosting the family on your patio or bringing “everyone and their mother” to the beach house, May is the ideal month to take advantage of the long-awaited spring weather! The following assortment of activities is a great way to keep everyone entertained while enjoying your outdoor living spaces.

Showers of May Flowers

Tandem® Wall

Now that the showers of April are gone, take a look at your backyard oasis: flowers, flowers everywhere! Having just sprucing up our yards during National Lawn & Garden Month in April, our backyards are now blossoming with opportunities to show Mom some love with a lovely homegrown arrangement.

Give each kid a basket or shatterproof vase, along with some basic instructions on stem length and which plants to avoid, then set them loose to gather some flowers and greenery. The object of this activity is to put together unique flower arrangements to display around the house or in your outdoor kitchen. You could also have your crafting box nearby to add ribbons or other accoutrements to their creations. He or she with the best arrangement wins the best prize one could win: a hug from mom and much coveted bragging rights!

Love You Berry Much!

Make a grilled dessert pizza with your fresh berries! (click for recipe) Photo: Kate Sears, Styling: Susan Vajaranant (courtesy Time Inc.)

Spring is the perfect time to visit your local farm or orchard for some berry picking, a perfect outing for the whole family! Consider making it a competition with the prospect of unlimited gourmet jams.

Be sure to come prepared with a bunch of baskets or buckets, though, because the berries will surely pile up fast! As we can see in annual easter egg hunts, kids can certainly find something quickly if they have the right motivation.

When you get home, you can keep the outdoor family time going by getting everyone to help make yummy grilled dessert pizzas with the spoils of the day.

Wine Not Paint Together?

Evident in the popularity of “sips and strokes” art establishments, it is without a doubt that everyone has an inner Bob Ross. But who says it has to be an out-of-home experience? Make it a family affair! Or invite some friends over and make it a party for kids of all ages — including the young at heart.

Arteza offers a bulk box of 14 mini 4″x4″ painting canvases with easels included that can be purchased at WalMart or Amazon for under $30. Plenty to go around, and the perfect size for painting a May flower! Add a bulk order of inexpensive paintbrushes and acrylic paints, then pick up some paper plates to use for painting pallets, and you’re ready to go. All you need now is a couple of bottles of wine, some sparkling grape juice for the kiddos, and your garden for inspiration. Those who don’t want to participate in the painting can still join in the fun by filling glasses, grilling up some goodies for the artists, or judging the art show when the painting is done.