Monday, October 25, 2010

October: On Our Grills 4 Ingredient Challenge

It is the last Monday of the month which means it is time for the On Our Grills 4 ingredient challenge.

Each month we are given a list of 4 random ingredients (a protein, starch, vegetable, and fruit) and we have to create a meal utilizing all of them. Of course On Our Grills implies (i.e. explicitly states) that this is cooked with live fire, so at least the protein has to be cooked on a grill/smoker.

This month the 4 ingredients are:

Protein: Shrimp
Starch: Focaccia bread
Vegetable: Broccoli
Fruit: Pomegranate

I knew Alexis had my back on the focaccia, she's the resident bread queen, so all I had to worry about was the other three ingredients. Fortunately, I had an ace up my sleeve. A few weeks ago I won a pair of cookbooks from the seafood restaurant, McCormick and Schmick's courtesy of Greg at SippitySup. (Thanks dude!)
Fettuccini Alfredo with Herbed Goat Cheese and Grilled Shrimp
adapted from McCormick and Schmick's

3/4 lb fettuccini
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup vinaigrette
2 Tbsp garlic chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups cream (reduce to 1 cup by simmering for 15-20 minutes)
5 ounces herbed goat cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, fresh shredded

1 head broccoli, cut into 1" pieces, fresh rinsed, water still on
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chicken stock

Before getting all of that started, Alexis started her focaccia bread on her grill. It was our first focaccia so she just followed this recipe from Bon Appetit. She skipped the olives and used McCormicks Mediterranean Season Salt.

Then I had to cheat. I didn't have pomegranate. But I did have Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar...

...and the recipe called for a vinaigrette, so I whisked one up

1/4 cup pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, mince
1 dried red chili, crushed
2 Tbsp parsley finely chopped

and marinated the shrimp for 1 hour.

Alexis cooked the fettuccini and cream sauce inside because I'm not going to try to boil water on the grill. For the cream sauce, saute the garlic in butter for a minute. Add the reduced cream sauce, goat cheese, and parmesan and simmer over low heat. We used goat cheese instead of Boursin that McCormick's used because I had it and needed to use it.

Then I "stir fired" the broccoli on my grill running at about 300f direct. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil and the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes for about 1 minute. Add the broccoli (still damp from rinsing) and stir fry another 2 minutes. Add the broth, cover and let steam for another 3-5 minutes, depending how firm you like your broccoli.

Next, I grilled the shrimp. The fire had gotten to just over 400f from being open during the stir frying so I only had to do them about 2 minutes a side.

Then it is as simple as tossing it all together.

I was expecting NOT to like the shrimp because of the pomegranate but I'll admit I was wrong. That is the beauty of this challenge because I would not have used pomegranate flavored anything if it wasn't part of the challenge. And I learned that I like it after all.

The cream sauce was okay but I expected more flavor from the herbed goat cheese. I'll try this again but use the Boursin cheese instead. Overall, I was very happy with the results and I would make this dish again.

Curious about what other people did with the 4 ingredients? Check them out:

Grill Grrrl- Adventures of a Girl on the Grill
Robyn Medlin is the "grill girl" behind Her focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. She encourages women to learn to grill as it a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen. This "grill girl" holds quarterly "Women's Grilling Clinics" as a way to encourage women to not be intimated by the grill. As a McCormick's flavor correspondent for their "This Week in Grilling Campaign", Robyn shares fun, tropical video recipes documenting her grilling adventures from her backyard in Sunny, Hollywood, Florida.
October Challenge Recipe

Grill Adventures
by Broadcast Marc (our newest blogger from the Netherlands!)
Grill Adventures by broadcastmarc was started in March of 2010. I started the BBQ thing when I was 30, before that we ate a lot outside. had fun, but when the kids came into our life we started serious cooking. Most of it is really healthy I think). The grill has a special place in my heart because we love to do things outside. Everything I make is an adventure, and sometimes we use the books. We try to grill as much as we can year round.
Marc's Ingredient Challenge Recipe

The BBQ Grail

The BBQ Grail website was created in 2007, initially to document the author’s quest to find the perfect backyard BBQ experience. Since that time The BBQ Grail has become one of the more popular BBQ blogs on the internet and is listed as one of the top BBQ blogs.
Larry's October Challenge Recipe

Into the Flames

Rob launched Into The Flames in the summer of 2010 as a way to share his passion for cooking, eating, and exploring food. His October Challenge Recipe:

No Excuses BBQ

The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author’s goal of barbecuing at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control; two years later the streak is intact and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. In the process, No Excuses BBQ has become a fairly popular BBQ location on the web and is listed as one of the top BBQ blogs on
NO Excuse's October Ingredient Challenge Recipe:


  1. McCormick and Schmicks is a local restaurant that I've eaten at several times... they have wonderful seafood. The fettucine and shrimp looks amazingly decadent. The shrimp look perfectly cooked! I bet using the Boursin cheese would make the sauce even better.

  2. Great idea for putting all those ingredients together! I, too, was surprised by the pomegranate. :)

  3. Looks very nice too, great time I'll write a longer post;-)have to find my way in it...great post !!

  4. I'd really love some goat cream cheese. Never seen it, but will look now. I already eat enough broccoli for several people.

  5. Wow! This looks soooo good--and your pictures are amazing. I obviously need to make something with shrimp and goat cheese asap. =)

  6. This is a beautiful set up... Love the stories of his and her cooking!

    Beyond excellent photos also.

  7. Beautiful looking pasta and focaccia! Your photography and presentation is stunning.
    I have had great seafood pasta dishes at our local McCormick & Kuleto's here in San Francisco and it is great to see you push their recipe to the next level with live fire cooking.

  8. Awesome job Chris. Love the plating. Spot on! Glad you're part of the "group"

  9. I love pomegranate molasses on everything! Your shrimp look deadly!

  10. Chris - I love the idea of crafting 4 random ingredients into one beautiful recipe. I'm willing to bet that you and Alexis had great fun thinking of how you were going to pull it off. I really like how you pulled it all together and turned it into one glorious pasta dish. Great job!

    P.S. Looks like you bookmarked just a few recipes in your McCormick cookbook.

  11. I love what you came up with Chris! I've never seen pomegranate balsamic vinegar before, I'm going to have to track some down. Lovely focaccia Alexis! I need to take a cue from her and start making bread on my grill!

  12. this looks wonderful! First those sliders and now this???? Chris this looks fantastic. Love all of those stickies in the cookbook! Might have to put it on my wish list. Who is the author? In my last post I talked about two cookbooks from Oregon. The chef that published those books is the Executive Chef in charge of McCormick and Schmik restaurants.

  13. What great team work on putting this delicious dish together! Every component is well thought out. My mouth was watering over the goat cheese - bummer it didn't have the flavor you were looking for.

  14. Very nice meal. I almost went this direction as well before ultimately settling on my final meal; good to see someone incorporated this with pasta.

  15. Thank you for stopping by my blog! =) The Fettuccini Alfredo with Herbed Goat Cheese and Grilled Shrimp looks A-MA-ZING. I am a big fan of McCormick and Schmick's. So I can just imagine how fantastic it must be! Great job!

  16. What a delicious meal!!!The shrimp looks amazing.

  17. very clever way to slip in the pomegranate! I am so glad you are liking the books and experimenting with seafood more. GREG

  18. Chris,

    Your pictures are so hard to live up to, I had to switch to video on my site to keep from falling farther and farther behind.

  19. Chris, this is spectacular - I particularly liked the simple and perfect seasoning on the brocoli and the beautiful shot of the foccacia. (lots of other stuff, too, but that's what caught my eye) Great job on the challenge! I love building a meal around one or two ingredients - it's one of my favorite ways to dream up dinner. :)

  20. I love all the little tabs sticking out of the cookbook.. things you intend on adapting?

  21. Alright, that's it, I'm coming over for dinner!

  22. I love this. It's kind of like Iron Chef: Grill Style. I think you would really like pomegranates, especially pomegranate molasses. That makes for one awesome vinaigrette.

  23. What a clever way to use all your ingredients!

  24. Chris. You are just a grilling machine. Looks delicious as always. !!!!

  25. Man, I can't wait until I have a grill. I'm totally going to get in on this. Really original ideas.

    I was REALLY curious about the pomegranates... nice work and I don't consider it cheating... it's being creative!

    Nice work on all parts Chris.

  26. Oh my goodness...this is totally making my mouth looks and sounds fabulous! I had to laugh when I saw your book...mine all look like that (you know...the numerous "tabs" sticking out the side...although mine come from the top and bottom as well)...YUM!

  27. Here's an offer you can't and Alexis need to come West for a vacation...come visit Seattle, you can stay with us and to earn your keep you simply have to cook for us one or two nights...of course, we don't have a BGE but I'm sure you could improvise! That dish looks amazing - mouth-watering amazing! Come - Cook - See the rain!! xo, Nan

  28. I would have stuffed myself silly with this dish. Everything in it is perfect. You two amaze me at what your produce with your eggs.

  29. OMG, what an awesome-looking meal! You cannot beat fettucine alfredo in my books and the shrimp & goat cheese are perfect additions.


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