Independence Day Inspiration

by Nicholas Haig-Arack June 29, 2016



The Fourth of July is traditionally spent grilling hot dogs by a pool, but we like to do things a bit differently in Kitsbow country. To celebrate the spirit of American independence, we like to spend the day getting out there on a big beast of a ride, followed by a gourmet meal. But not just any meal – in addition to cycling and coffee, we are obsessive about food, especially grilling outdoors over an open fire. We’ve partnered with our favorite chef, Zander Ault of The Cyclist’s Menu, to provide a few of his favorite summertime recipes for the grill. One of our favorite photographers, Ian Hylands, was there to capture the chef in his element. These three recipes are fantastic renditions of what Chef Z excels at: healthy, savory and honest food that is internationally inspired, yet uniquely American.



Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Lime Chile Sauce

Spicy Lime Chile Sauce

You will need:

1 Tbsp chile paste

1 cup rice wine vinegar

3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1-2 limes, juiced

Dash of soy sauce or alternative

Dash of Hoisin sauce

Salt to taste

1/3 cup sesame oil

Cilantro, finely chopped


Mix together – let stand for 20-30 mins.



Lettuce Wraps

You will need:

Ground pork


Butter, red leaf, or romaine lettuce

Separate ground pork into 1-2 inch balls and place onto metal skewers. Chop cauliflower into medium-sized pieces, place onto their own skewers. Grill pork for 8-10 mins, flip in the middle. Grill cauliflower until tender, not too soft. Blacken a bit!

Wash and dry lettuce leaves individually. Lay out each piece, place pork or cauliflower in each, then dress with your spicy lime chile sauce. Garnish with cilantro or lime wedges.



Local Steak with Greens, Radish, Carrots, Apple, and Lemon Pesto

For vegetarians, substitute steak with a wild mushroom variety. Your local farmer’s market should have some available. We love shiitake, chanterelle, morels, or oyster mushrooms.

 Take a moment to find out if you can buy beef direct from a rancher in your area. If not, your farmer’s market may have a local farmer or butcher with steaks for sale.

For this recipe we love to use tenderloin, NY strip or skirt steak. Each of these cuts deliver a different kind of texture/flavor. Choose your favorite!



You will need:

Summer salad greens

1 apple

3-4 carrots

4-5 radishes


Rinse fresh salad greens and let dry. Thinly slice 1 apple, 3-4 carrots, and 4-5 radishes. A mandoline works best for uniform slices. Set aside.


Lemon Pesto

You will need:

Juice from 1 lemon (save zest for garnish)

1 cup olive oil

1 cup walnuts

3-4 garlic cloves

2 large bunches of basil


In a food processor, start the blade and drop in garlic. This process will ensure your garlic will be fully diced and even. Add rest of ingredients and mix until smooth. Add more lemon, salt and pepper and or basil to taste.

Allow your steaks to reach room temperature before grilling. This will allow for an even grill and great flavor. We cook using a large cast iron skillet, or chapa. Start an open fire, get a great coal bed going and place skillet on the fire. A grill works well too!

If you want to try our fire method, make sure you stay outside to watch your fire and maintain the heat level. When your skillet has fully heated up, a few minutes, grab your steak and with a little bit of olive oil, place the steak on the skillet.


NY Strip: 6-8 minutes on each side

Tenderloin: 4-6  minutes on each side

Skirt Steak: 3-4 minutes on each side


When your steak is done, place aside and let sit. Thinly slice and serve.

In the bowl of greens, add your carrots, apples, and radish. Scoop lemon pesto onto salad and mix well. Think freely with this, be liberal, homemade pesto is awesome!

Lay sliced steak on top of your salad and garnish with remaining lemon zest. Grill some bread, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and ground pepper, and serve on the side. Use the toast to soak up the good stuff.


Street Corn

You will need:

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp ground paprika

Green onions, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1/2 C olive oil

Queso Fresco (a Mexican crumbly cheese found in most stores)

1-2 fresno peppers (red jalapenos, minced)

8-10 ears of corn


Place cumin, paprika, olive oil, green onions, queso fresco, fresno peppers in a bowl and mix. Let stand.

Shuck corn and grill on open fire, skillet, or grill until browned and a bit charred. 20-25 mins.  Serve corn with your fresh sauce on top, warm. Delicious.

As you can see, Chef Z is passionate about sourcing fresh, local ingredients for his recipes. Thanks to the wonders of technology, there are a few apps – Locavore and Farmstand – to help you find a farmer’s market no matter where you are. Supporting local farms is about as patriotic as it gets. Thanks for the recipes, Zander. We’re looking forward to trying these out on our next camp-side cookout. From all of us at Kitsbow, have a great Independence Day weekend!


The post Independence Day Inspiration appeared first on Kitsbow.

Nicholas Haig-Arack
Nicholas Haig-Arack


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