Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Aluminum Vegetable Bombs for camping, Platt River, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Cooking classes in Michigan

Aluminum Vegetable Bombs (AVB) Assembly Ingredients

Aluminum Vegetable Bombs (AVBs) for Camping 

My family loves to camp, at least we used to. We have camped all over Europe, Mexico, Canada and the US.  Recently, we decided to drag out all our old equipment again and give it another go.  Our choice was the beautiful Platt River Campground near Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan. 

Once again, we discovered the age old camping conundrum, “whether you go for one day or one month, you still have to take the same amount of STUFF”   When we told our friends that we were going camping, many of them said….”You are kidding of course……like are you going to sleep in TENTS!”  Yes, we are not only tent campers but natural wood fired campfire cookers! If you are an outdoors person, you know that cooking hot dogs, steaks, or s’mores are usually de rigeur, but how do you prepare some delicious and nutricious vegetables?  Years ago, as the camp chef, I  solved this problem by inventing the ALUMINUM VEGETABLE BOMB or AVB. Today, AVBs have become part of our family’s camping legend.  Everyone remembers how much fun we all had assembling these tasty devices.  So, since it’s camping time across the northern hemisphere, I thought I would let everyone in on the secret of  how to assemble AVBs, and then they can become part of your family’s outdoor culinary heritage.   

AVB…they EXPLODE with flavor  

Assembling an AVB 

For each AVB you will need: 

One potato (preferably 5” long (not fat) cut in half 

¼ small carrot sliced (2 TBS) 

1 mushroom sliced (2 TBS) 

¼ green onion chopped (1 TBS) 

1 slice cooked bacon large chop 

2-3 TBS butter (small pieces) 

2 green beans sliced 

2 TBS chopped zucchini 

Sea salt & pepper 

3-4 sheets of heavy aluminum foil 

  1. Lay one sheet of AL foil flat (shiny side down)
  2. Place potato halves on foil
  3. Fill the space between halves with veggies
  4. Sprinkle with bacon and butter pieces
  5. Season with salt & pepper
  6. Fold over halves of foil, making a folded seal
  7. Roll up ends, repeat with three other sheets
  8. Place AVBs in campfire or on top of grill
  9. Turn constantly, for about 30 -45 minutes
  10.  Carefully open one to check doneness after 30 minutes…


Aluminum Vegetable Bombs, Platt River Campground, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Cooking Classes in Michigan AVBs on the campfire


About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook,  Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. 

For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try 


Kufta, grilled meat on skewers

Kufta, grilled meat on skewers


It has many names, Kufteh, Cufta, Kifta…..depending on country of origin Lebanon, Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, or Iran.  It all stems from the Persian word “to grind” or “meatball”.   Kufta is a mixture of meat, parsley, onions, bulgar wheat, spices and egg. They are usually formed into cigar shaped cylinders, then grilled, baked, fried, steamed, or poached.  They can also be served with a spicy sauce.  One thing is without question, this is a delicious ancient food, with endless ethnic variations.  The following recipe is one I have used for years. It is made with lamb and beef and then grilled. I also use a special an ancient middle eastern spice called BARAHAT, a mixture of allspice, cardomon, cassia bark, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and paprika. See if you can find it, because it adds a special exotic flavor to the kufta.


¾ lb ground lamb

¾ lb ground beef

¾ cup finely chopped or grated onion

1 toe finely minced fresh garlic

¾ cup chopped parsley

3 TBS chopped fresh mint leaves

1 egg (beaten)


1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp sea salt

Optional: flat wooden skewers (soaked)

Optional:  Labna or Laban (Lebanese  yogurt)


  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients
  2. Form into 10 equal balls, then into cylinders
  3. If using skewers, run skewer through cylinders
  4. Grill until med rare, residual heat will continue to cook
  5. Don’t over cook. 
  6. Serve with dollop of labna, garnish with chopped parsley or chives


Kufta, cooked on Grilling Stones
Kufta, cooked on Grilling Stones

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group  Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try 

Photo and recipe by Doug Cordier.  All rights reserved, Cooking with Cordier 2010


Strip Steaks on Vermont Grilling Stones

Strip Steaks on Vermont Grilling Stones

The Ultimate Grilling Experience

I have been a “grill guy” forever. I am always looking for the next best grill, or grill gizmo.  Well, my search was over when my daughter Erica gave me a pair of Vermont Grilling Stones for Christmas.  I read all the directions and claims on the box and I couldn’t wait until the weather got a little warmer and I could try them out. Now it’s a month later, I have used my stones at least ten times, and the claims are TRUE.  Yes, “every time you use them it gets better”. Honest.  Vermont Grilling stones are made of heavy basalt (igneous rock), they measure about 6” x 14”  x 1” I would suggest buying two ($39.95) …….that way you can grill larger items, and even pizzas!   The first thing you do is oil them.  The oil soaks into the stone and provides an almost non-stick surface. This is especially great for fish and seafood,  (the residual heat provides perfect temperature control) which turns out fantastic. If you hate to clean your grill, this is also amazing because these stones clean themselves!  So far I have grilled, chicken, lamb chops, burgers, kofta, and lots and lots of seafood.  These grilling stones are just the best thing that could ever happen to a “grill guy”.  Enjoy…………

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years.  For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try

Photo by Doug Cordier.  All rights reserved Cooking with Cordier 2010

Marco and Aldo with fresh lamb

The Ultimate Stuffed Lamb……..

My friend (and former science student)  Mark Garmo owns the Village Market  (Grosse Pointe, MI) and also a farm where he raises very special lambs.  The day before Easter this year, I thought it would be a great idea if I could “procure” some of this lamb, so I asked Mark. Unfortunately, Mark explained that he could not sell the lamb he raised on his farm because of strict regulations, BUT…….he just happened to get in a new shipment that day, and he would love to supply this high quality product.  Mark also assured me that his “very talented butchers” could take care of my needs immediately. Next thing I knew, I was consulting with Franco and Aldo Ostialeto. I mentioned that I wanted some lamb ribs. Franco said he would find the best lamb ribs I ever had. In fact, Franco said that I should stuff the breast and ribs….and HE would prepare a special stuffing.  I asked what kind of stuffing?  Franco insisted he would make up something especially for ME……and he did……….ground veal and spices with a rosemary/garlic marinade!   

OMG…I watched as Franco and Aldo cut this swatch of ribs right off a fresh lamb, then     created this stuffed amazing masterpiece. Finally they were finished, and so proud of what they had created that we all stood around and took photos!  I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to roast up the stuffed lamb. So the next day I placed the roast on a rack, covered it with more garlic, and olive oil…….and popped it in a 450 degree oven for fifteen minutes then reduced the heat to 325 degrees, finished the roast to an internal temp of 150 degrees, tented it for 10 minutes…………and served it.  Holy Cow, or Holy Lamb, what a treat! The roast was so great, and Marco and Aldo were right………..this was the best stuffed lamb you could imagine.  Thanks guys.

Photo by Doug Cordier