2 Fireside Snack Recipes (+ Helpful Grilling Tips!) with Terrain Cafe Chef Jes Bengston
Whether it’s morning coffee on the front porch or happy hour on the patio, we’ve been enjoying spending this close-to-home summer outdoors. And once evening falls, we’ve made it a tradition to grill up delicious snacks over the fire pit. Recently, Chef Jes Bengston joined us on Instagram Live to share her tips, tricks, and favorite recipes for fire pit grilling. We’ve sharing the basics plus two simple recipes with you here, so you can start your own family fire pit traditions!
terrain: Hi Jes! Thanks for joining us here—we loved having you on Instagram for a live cooking demo last Friday. Can you share a few do’s and don'ts for cooking over a fire?
Jes: Sure! First things first: don't expect a consistent fire (or final product!) but do have fun learning techniques that’ll make you feel more confident. Confidence in cooking comes with experience and through trial and error. If your flames are too high, if your ambers are too cool, if you burn the exterior of your food but need to continue cooking the inside, what do you do? Experience and learn and have fun!
terrain: What’s your favorite cooking method when you’re using an open fire?
Jes: Definitely cooking by suspension over fire. It allows you to really tend to something over a long period of time, low and slow. There’s a method of cooking by burying that I have never tried before but would love to!
terrain: What are the tools you’d recommend folks have to make cooking over a fire safe?
Jes: I always have a fire extinguisher, watering hose, or some kind of fire containment method handy when I am cooking outdoors over the fire. An errant gust of wind could cause a problem and while it’s no fun to ruin your food, it’s important to be prepared for issues outside of your control!
terrain: For those of us who are new to fire pit cooking, what are some of your favorite foods that do well over the fire pit?
Jes: Grilled vegetables, hands down! Zucchini, onions, and peppers are so delicious (and easy!) when they’re cut in half, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and drizzled with your best extra virgin olive oil. The key is to take them off the fire once they’re just tender but still firm. The smoky grill imparts so much deep flavor, you don’t have to do anything else!
Smoky Fruit Skewers
2-4 varieties of seasonal, ripe fruit (strawberries, peaches, watermelon)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bees Knees Salted Honey
1 fresh mint sprig
Cut fruit into large (similarly sized) chunks. Skewer the fruit and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Hold over the flame for one to three minutes or until tender. Place the skewer on a dish and drizzle with salted honey and torn mint over the top.
Mexican Street Corn
4 ears corn
1 cup mayo
1 cup cotija cheese
Terrain Taco Seasoning
2 oz cilantro
Place corn on a grate over the fire, either shucked or unshucked (I prefer unshucked). Grill while flipping every few minutes. You’ll know the corn is ready once you see a few charred pieces and the cob’s yellow color becomes brighter and more vibrant.
Once the corn is cooked (and unshucked), brush mayo on all sides of the cob. Place cob onto a platter, crumble cotija cheese over top, and finish with a sprinkle Terrain Taco Spice.
Garnish with a dusting of cilantro leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Still hungry? Be sure to check out our recipes for 2 summer cocktails, summer tomato dishes, and smoking + grilling tips with Paula Disbrowe.