Thursday, July 30, 2009

Potato peel broth: Not just for Vegetarians!

Armenians are carnivores by tradition. However, we respect one’s decision to avoid meat or animal by-products.

Because many of our Armenian recipes use a chicken or beef broth base, I'd like to offer a vegetarian broth alternative. I used this recipe when I taught a vegetarian cooking class to adults many years ago and found that it tastes great -- and it's easy to prepare.

Make a lot, store in quart-size containers, then freeze for future use.


Potato Peel Broth

Ingredients:
Peels from 8 large potatoes**, about ¼ inch thick
2 medium onions, cut into quarters - skin on
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 quarts water
½ bunch parsley
2 small cloves garlic, optional
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

** Save the rest of the potato for another use. Store the unused potato in water to prevent oxidation (that‘s when potatoes turns brown when exposed to air), and store covered in the refrigerator.

Directions:

1. In a 8 quart pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
2. Simmer for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until all vegetables are soft. Add more water, if necessary, to keep vegetables covered. Adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.
3. For a clear broth, strain the solids and discard.
4. For a thin puree, press the broth and veggies through a sieve or strainer.
5. Cool the broth and store in the refrigerator, or freezer.

This broth can be used as a soup base, for pilaf recipes, sauces, etc. To enhance the broth's flavor, try adding other herbs, such as basil, or other vegetables, such as parsnips.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tourshi (Tourshou)- Armenian Pickled Vegetables

When our daughter was in college in Tampa, we often made the tedious 4-hour drive to visit. It was always worth it to spend even a little time with her.

One spring weekend, she wanted to take us a nearby Persian restaurant for dinner with one of her college friends. The big draw? A belly dancer was scheduled to appear that night.

It was Saturday, so we made reservations to ensure a table for the performance.

The place was pretty empty when we arrived, but figured it would fill up closer to belly- dancing time. As we perused the menu, we spotted tourshi under “appetizers.” We’ve always been fans of the colorful, crunchy, tangy bite of the various fresh vegetables that become tourshi.

We place an ordered of the mouth-watering tourshi only to be told it wasn’t ready yet. When we asked how long before it would be ready, the server said, very seriously, “In a few weeks.” We nodded our heads in an understanding, yet disappointed manner, while Mandy’s college friend
gave a very puzzled look.

A few weeks? Was that a joke?

We explained that the pickling process takes time -- BUT, at least we would be entertained by the belly dancer. So, we asked what time the belly dancer was to perform. The server replied, very seriously again, “Oh, not until next autumn; her last performance was last Saturday.”

Next autumn? Boy, we were really batting zero here!

We did, however, enjoy our dinner - without tourshi, and without the belly-dancer.

I figured the belly dancer must have been making the tourshi. We decided to visit again during the next semester, when the tourshi and belly dancer were both "in season" - and calling first - just to make sure.

Anne Marootian’s Tourshi

Select fresh, firm, unblemished vegetables.
Wash all veggies before using.

Vegetables
Celery, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
Cabbage, cored and cut into small chunks
Carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then into 3- to 4-inch pieces
Cauliflower, cut into florets
String beans, ends trimmed
Green peppers (Italian frying peppers preferred), seeds removed and cut into chunks

Brine Ingredients
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 quart vinegar (white or apple cider; cider preferred)

*** Boil the brine ingredients for 10 minutes.***

Additional Ingredients
4 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. pickling spice

Instructions:

1. Sterilize 4 quart-sized jars and lids.
2. To each jar add 1 or 2 cloves of peeled garlic, and ½ teaspoon pickling spice.
3. Layer a variety of the washed, cut vegetables in each jar.
4. Pour brine over the vegetables in each jar.
5. Seal, and set aside at room temperature.
6. Tourshi should be ready in about one week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enjoy eggplant! (I can't)

Eggplant (aubergine) is to the Armenian diet what tomato is to Italian: So common it's practically invisible.

We add eggplant to almost any dish. We eat it stewed, fried, broiled or baked -- pretty much every way but raw. We eat it as a side dish, tuck it into wraps or sandwiches or mash it into a dip.

We'll eat eggplant at almost any meal at any time of the day and any time of the year. That's how much we love it.

But when I say we, I don't mean me.

I grew up eating eggplant, although not by choice. It was just there, on the plate. Even as a boy, however, chewing eggplant left a funny feeling on my tongue and around my gums.

Then one evening when I was well into my 20s I got a feeling that wasn't funny at all. As soon as I swallowed the first bite of eggplant, my throat tightened. I felt as though something was squeezing my windpipe.

That's when I quit eggplant for good, although it wasn't easy. People have been trying to poison me ever since.

Not intentionally of course, but it's hard to keep company with Armenians without finding eggplant on your fork. We learned long ago to remind all our friends about this problem every time we're invited to dinner -- and even then, to inquire before I begin eating.

I've learned to adapt both my eating habits and our Armenian recipes. Robyn, who does not share my problem, eats eggplant at every opportunity -- mostly in restaurants.

How can an Armenian be allergic to eggplant? Good question.

I've never seen an allergist, but I know I'm not alone. Try Googling "eggplant and allergy" and you'll see what I mean. One study in India suggested that one in 10 people may be allergic to eggplant. Another in Turkey linked eggplant to canker sores, the bane of my youth.

The problem may be as simple (and vexing) as hay fever. Eggplant contains a high level of histamines, and some suspect a link between eggplant sensitivity and allergic rhinitis. A dose of allergy medicine before dinner might allow me to dig into that gouvedge with no fear.

Or perhaps not.

That's an experiment I'm not planning to conduct.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lamb and eggs: An Armenian breakfast

I like hash for both of the obvious reasons: Salt and fat.

Any professional cook will tell you they're the secret ingredients that keep the customers salivating.

Problem is, I've pretty much eaten my lifetime supply of both -- and there's no fooling the doctor, either. (Stupid blood pressure and cholesterol tests!)

However, I'm still a big fan of hash for Sunday breakfast, and not just as a way to clean out the fridge.

Truth in cooking disclosure: If you peeked at the picture, you've already figured out that this is not a cholesterol-free recipe. But because we're careful about choosing, trimming and cooking our meat, we know we're starting out with a healthy fat advantage compared to any canned hash or any processed meat -- and we can control the sodium content.

Of course, our favorite leftover meat is lamb, but this works quite well with beef or chicken.

When we make a roast, we always freeze the leftovers -- especially the bits that are too small or odd or charred to serve to guests. With a bit of creative trimming, those make the best hash parts.

This is really simple, really basic and really satisfying. Only two main ingredients: Meat and onion. If you like potatoes and have one or two leftover, be our guest -- but there's no need.

Even the egg on top is optional. In fact, it's probably better if you skip it. Note that I said "you." I like my hash slathered in yolk.

(Honest, Doc: I really do eat oatmeal for breakfast the rest of the week!)

Lamb hash (serves two to four)

Ingredients:
1/2 pound cooked lamb, trimmed lean and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
coriander
allspice
pepper
salt

Directions:
Saute the onion in olive oil
Add the meat when the onion starts to wilt
Add 1/8 tsp coriander
Add 1/8 tsp allspice
Cook over medium-high heat until the meat and onions are both browned
Add salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Apricot: The Armenian Plum

From its deep golden-orange color and velvety skin to its sweet nectar, the apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is the most cherished fruit of Armenia.

Its peak season is from early June to the end of July.

Not going to be in Armenia then? California apricots are available from May through July, and the Washington state variety is available from June through early August.

Apricots have health benefits even doctors can’t argue with. The apricot is loaded with beta-carotene, Vitamins A & C, lycopene, and fiber, meaning it‘s good for your eyes, heart, digestive system, and prostate.

Apricots are made into jellies, jams, marmalade, and compotes -- but nothing beats a fresh, ripe, slightly juicy apricot.

Here’s a recipe that makes a lovely appetizer, or satisfying dessert:

Stuffed Fresh Apricots
Yield: 24 pieces

Appetizer Version
Ingredients:
½ cup Mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
12 fresh, ripe apricots, halved and pitted

Directions:
1. Fill the cavity of each apricot with the cheese.
2. Sprinkle pistachios on top.

Dessert Version:
Ingredients:
To the ½ cup of cheese, blend in ½ tsp. vanilla extract, and 2 tsp. powdered sugar.
Then follow the same directions as the appetizer version.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pomegranate Martini

Is there such a thing as BUI: Blogging Under the Influence?

If so, I plead guilty with an explanation.

In fairness to you, dear readers, our very strict standards of quality control require each of us here at TheArmenianKitchen.com to taste ALL recipes.

Sometimes, in fact, we must consume taste after taste to be certain that we are recommending only the bery vest...ah, very best...in food and...ah...

Drink! That's it!

True confession: I (Doug) am the drinker in the family. I like a wee taste of Scotch before dinner. And, on occasion, a glass of wine with the main course.

But truly, only a taste -- and only on occasion.

But special occasions demand special consideration, and nothing is more special than a visit with our daughter, Mandy, the toast of the New York City arts scene.

One such visit, about three years ago, brought us to a very trendy bar in Greenwich Village, where we sipped away an hour or two while waiting for a table at the even-trendier restaurant next door.

I ordered the usual: Dewar's, rocks. Robyn, being more adventurous, asked the bartender to recommend something special.

The bartender's reply, with no hesitation: A pomegranate martini.

We took this as a sign. Pomegranate is a most Armenian fruit, almost mythical in meaning. I immediately switched my order.

These days, pomegranate martinis are as wildly popular as, well, apple martinis. Or chocolate martinis. Or pretty much any other fruit, candy or vegetable attached to the word martini. Most have little connection to the traditional gin-and-vermouth concoction except for the shape of the glass.

But the typical pomegranate martini is lacking the most essential ingredient: Pomegranate juice.

I've learned to ask for an ingredient list before ordering one, because they're often made with some sort of (allegedly) pomegranate-flavored syrup mixed, which is UNACCEPTABLE.

Luckily, I persuaded the bartender to share the recipe for the drink that got us hooked.

Here it is, strictly in the interest of sharing an Armenian-influenced favorite that remains popular on the American scene.

WARNING: Do not attempt to blog, much less drive, after imbibing.

Pomegranate Martini (serves two, or one VERY happy customer...)
6 ounces pomegranate juice
6 ounces vodka
1 ounce Triple Sec
a splash of lime juice

Pour ingredients over ice in a martini shaker.
Blend thoroughly.
Serve immediately.

Genazit!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Everybody loves Armenian food -- especially in Uruguay!

Our great friend and loyal follower, David Blasco, has been gracious enough to promote TheArmenianKitchen.com on his motorcycle enthusiasts' Web site, RoyalEnfields.com.

One such recent mention brought this comment from Jorge, one of his readers:

"An interesting tidbit is that an Armenian dish has become quite ubiquitous in Uruguayan cooking. They call it Lehmeyun and it is a meat pizza. It is almost as widespread in Uruguay as regular pizza."

We've always known lahmajun (as we call it) is irresistable -- but who knew it had become so engrained in the food culture of Uruguay?

Thanks David -- and thanks Jorge!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Armenian Cucumbers: a 3,000 year-old favorite

Now that summer is here, it’s time to turn off the oven and think about cool, refreshing foods.

When I think of summer, cucumbers come to mind - as in “cool as a cucumber.” The high water content of the cucumber provides a moist, cooling effect to the palate.

My grandmother called cucumbers “varoonk." My father sprinkled salt on their thin, moist slices to bring out their goodness. My niece and nephew would fight over cucumbers when they were little. I just like them for their cool, crisp snap when biting into one.

As mentioned in an earlier post, our friend Taniel Koushakjian is growing Armenian cucumbers in his D.C. garden. But, did you know that the Armenian cucumber is actually a variety of melon?

It’s related to the muskmelon and is known by several names: yard-long cucumbers, snake cucumbers, and snake melons. The Armenian cucumber is long, slender, not bitter, is burpless, easy to digest, can be eaten with the skin still on, and - tastes like a cucumber.

Here’s a favorite hot-weather recipe:

Chilled Yogurt-Cucumber Soup (Jajik)
Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 long, seedless cucumber, washed & peeled
2 cups plain yogurt
½ cup cold water
1 clove garlic, squeezed through a garlic press, or hand-mashed (optional)
Dash salt
2 tsp. crushed dried mint

Directions:
1. Cut the cucumber in quarters, lengthwise. Slice each section into thin pieces.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt with the water.
3. To the yogurt, stir in cucumbers, garlic, if using, salt, and mint. To keep this very cold, add a few ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve, stir, ladle into bowls, and add an ice cube in each bowl. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yogurt: It's good all over

My husband’s uncle John Bichakjian, a firm believer in healthy eating, presented Doug's mother with a cookbook called The Complete Book of Yogurt, by Shaun Nelson-Henrick.

This book was passed down to me, but with so many cookbooks on my shelf I just tucked this one in between the others.

As I was reading up on yogurt for my blog, I picked up this cookbook because I figured there had to be Armenian connection - and there was. In 1976 Nelson-Henrick interviewed Hilda Attarian, an Armenian who owned a boutique in New York City.

Ms. Attarian offered advice on giving yogurt to infants as a way to remedy severe cases of diarrhea, and applying yogurt one’s skin as a relief for sunburn.

Luckily we never had to deal with the infant-related use of yogurt, but I can’t believe we wasted so much money over the years buying sunburn ointment when we had yogurt sitting in our refrigerator all along.

Live and learn!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Keeping things cool with Tahn

It might not be hot where you are, but -- believe me -- Florida is HOT, a good portion of the year.

So, we try to keep things cool - not just with air conditioning and ceiling fans, but with food, too.

Madzoon, plain yogurt, is always in our refrigerator. One of our favorite hot-weather remedies is Tahn, drinkable yogurt.

Tahn is made by adding enough water to the plain yogurt, so that it’s thin enough to drink. Crush a little mint, sprinkle a touch of salt, if you like, and an ice cube.

How simple is that?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shopping at Nouri’s

In the late 1920’s, when my mother (I’ll call her Little Mary) was about 7 years old, she and my grandparents lived along with their extended family in Paterson, NJ.

Paterson's famous silk mills were a natural lure for my grandfather and other Armenian immigrants who had practiced weaving in the Old Country.

On rare occasions, Little Mary was given ten cents to go to the Rialto Theater on Main St. to see a double feature, cartoons, a newsreel, and a serial. She and her friends spent the entire Saturday at the theater.

Once, when Little Mary was taking care of her younger brother, Walter, she wanted to go to the movies but only had one dime - not enough for the two of them. She wasn’t deterred; instead, she simply explained to the manager sweetly that her parents weren’t home so she couldn’t possibly get another dime.

Would her brother be allowed to enter, too? “Of course," said the manager. That was in 1928. Try doing that today!

What does this have to do with Nouri’s? The Rialto Theater became Nouri’s Middle Eastern market.

My family have been regular shoppers at Nouri’s for decades. Moving away from Paterson hasn’t stopped them from going there either. They make a special trip out of it. Their routine is to have lunch nearby at Toros’ (a really good Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant), then shop at Nouri’s to stock-up on all of their specialty items.

For me, a visit to Nouri's is extra special because I live more than 1,000 miles away in Florida. When Mom arrives for her annual visit with us, her trunk is always packed with bulgur, spices and other treats from Nouri's.

On a recent visit with Mom in New Jersey, she and I made the trip to Nouri's together -- and I got a reminder of how much fun shopping there has always been.

Middle Eastern stores are plentiful in Paterson, which has a large Arab-American population. In fact, from the music, the chatter and the wafting smell of whatever's cooking, a visitor might well mistake his surroundings for Beirut or Allepo.

What makes Nouri’s special is Mr. Nouri himself, a businessman who cares for his customers. Nouri’s sells food items - homemade and commercial -- as well as electronics, musical instruments, CD’s, DVD’s, books, jewelry, and clothing. As I said, one-stop shopping!

The store is open 7 days a week. Mon. to Sat. from 8 am to 8 pm; Sun. from 9 am to 6 pm. Customers can order whatever they need from the store’s vast collection by phone, but just know that they only ship on Mondays.

Nouri’s address is:
997- 1001 Main Street
Paterson, NJ 07503
Phone: 973-279-2388
Toll Free #: 1-800-356-6874
Website: www.elnouri.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hungry for Lahmajoun? Take a shortcut!

Lahmajoun on Flour Tortilla
Back in 1969, when I borrowed Roy Callan’s mother’s cookbook for my college food project, the recipe I chose to make was Lahmajoun.

It was labor-intensive, preparing the dough from scratch, chopping all of the vegetables by hand, and making enough for a class of 25, plus faculty. The accolades we received, however, made it all worthwhile.

In my later years, I learned an invaluable tip from a dear, departed friend who once lived in California. “Why don’t you make lahmajoun using the short-cut method?” she asked.

Short-cut? This I wanted to hear.

She told me that the Armenian ladies she knew out West made it using flour tortillas as the base. Flour Tortillas? BRILLIANT! Just make the topping, spread it on the tortilla, then bake.

OK, it’s not exactly like the commercially prepared version, but it sure is an easy way to make it when the craving strikes!

Lahmajoun
Yield: about 12 - 14

2 (10-count) pkg. 8” flour tortillas

Topping Ingredients
1 lb. ground lamb or beef (or a combination of the two)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small green pepper, finely chopped
½ bunch parsley, washed well, finely chopped
1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained well
2 Tbsp. tomato paste or red pepper paste
1 to 2 Tbsp flour
1 ½ tsp dried mint
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp sweet paprika
dash cayenne pepper

1. To save time, process the onion, peppers, and parsley in a food processor, using the metal “S” blade. Squeeze out any excess liquid - this is VERY important! Be careful not to over-process. Vegetables should still be a bit chunky, not pureed.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients, mixing well.
3. Preheat oven to 400° - 425°F.
4. Thinly spread 2 to 3 Tbsp. of meat topping over the top of each tortilla.
5. Place 2 to 3 tortillas on each baking tray. They should not overlap each other.
6. Bake on the lower rack for about 5 minutes, then on the upper rack, for another 5 minutes, or until the meat topping has browned, and the edges of the tortilla are golden.
7. Continue this procedure until topping is all used.
To Serve:
Place thin slices of sweet onion, and chopped parsley in the center of the lahmajoun, fold, and eat!
To Freeze:
After baking and cooling, stack lahmajouns, with plastic wrap in between
each one. Place in plastic freezer bags & seal tightly.
To Reheat:
Preheat oven to 400° to 425°F. Remove plastic wrap, stack in pairs, meat sides facing each other. Heat for about 5-7 minutes. Turn once during reheating.

Monday, July 6, 2009

From Chico to Camp

When I was a junior at Montclair State in NJ, I had the opportunity to participate in a domestic exchange program to Chico State, CA.

Chico, a bucolic town, is in the middle of nowhere, or at least that’s how it seemed in 1969.

To my amazement, I found Armenians in Chico!

There was the dry cleaner downtown, and the almond farmer, outside of town. One of the girls
living in my dorm introduced me to the Armenian guy she was dating: Roy Callan, from Oakland. As I recall, Roy was majoring in Physical Ed., and was on his church’s basketball team.

He asked if I’d like to join him one Sunday to attend church, have dinner at his mother’s home, then watch him play basketball. Understand that I had NO idea how far Chico was from Oakland, so I accepted his invitation.

Three hours after we left campus, we arrived at church! It was heart-warming to meet Armenians who remembered my family from back east.

Roy’s mother was very sweet and hospitable. I explained that I was majoring in Home Economics, and that I had a Foods Lab project coming up. I wanted to make an Armenian recipe for my assignment, but didn’t have a cookbook to use as a reference.

She let me borrow her favorite Armenian cookbook, which I took, then guarded with my life. I made sure it was returned safely and without any food stains!

Jump to the year 2005...
Our daughter, Mandy, had completed her studies at the University of S. Florida in Tampa and moved to NYC to get started on her career. My husband & I flew to NY, rented a car & took her on a spur-of-the-moment road trip through New England.

We visited Mandy’s Godfather, Aram Aslanian, in CT, and my aunt Zabelle Keil, and cousins, in RI. On our way to Newport, RI to tour the opulent mansions, we saw a sign for Franklin, MA.

My husband asked if we would consider visiting Camp Haiastan in Franklin rather than going to Newport. We agreed whole-heartedly.

I’d seen the Newport mansions before, and Mandy had seen plenty of stately homes on our rides through Palm Beach, but neither of us had ever seen Camp Haiastan. Doug was elated!

Camp wouldn’t be open for a few weeks, but people were milling around, cleaning things up. After Doug’s trip down Memory Lane, we stopped in the office to see what was what.

We found Roy Callan, the very same person I knew at Chico State, as the director of the camp!

He & I didn’t resemble our younger selves anymore, and I had to explain, in detail, who I was & how we knew each other (refer to story above). Toward the end of our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting Roy’s wife, Degeen Joy, a joy, indeed!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America!


The Fourth of July certainly isn't an Armenian holiday -- but there were Armenians in America even before the Revolution.

In fact, the first Armenians to arrive were among the first Europeans to settle in the New World, according to Prof. Dennis Papazian, founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan.

Papazian writes that one "Martin ye Armenian" turned up in Jamestown -- the first permanent English settlement in The Colonies -- by 1619.

Two more Armenians (one of them named George) arrived there in 1655 at the invitation of the governor of Virginia. Both were experts in silkworm breeding.

Papazian notes that the efforts to raise silkworms apparently fizzled, but George received 4,000 pounds of tobacco in return for his efforts.

We have no further information on these Armenian-American pioneers. Strictly conjecture: Could they have been Robyn's relatives? After all, her maternal grandfather was a silk weaver from Musa Dagh.

Robyn and I haven't been to Jamestown, but we did visit Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg some years ago. I remember being struck by the presence of a backgammon set in one tableau.

Now I understand!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barbecueing? Keep Food Safe!

Now that you know how to grill safely (see June 29th post), I’ll share some food safety tips with you.

Believe it or not, food safety begins in the grocery store. When you shop for food, pick up the perishable items last - meats, dairy, and frozen foods.

Living in Florida for the past 30-some-odd years has taught me to place a cooler - with ice packs - in the trunk before heading to the store, and to drive directly home. The trunk of your car gets hotter than hell, and the inside of the car doesn’t get cool enough, even with the air conditioner running.

Remember, the Temperature Danger Zone is 41°F to 135°F, meaning - keep foods OUT of this temperature range!

Perishable food must be kept cold, especially if you are traveling to a picnic destination. In order to prevent cross-contamination, pack uncooked meat, poultry, and fish separately from any food you are planning to serve uncooked, such as a tossed salad.

If you plan to marinate anything for the grill, be sure to marinate in the refrigerator- not at room temperature. (Refer to Temp. Danger Zone above)
Since raw meat, poultry and fish juices may contain harmful bacteria, it is important to DISCARD any leftover marinade. Also leftover marinade should not be used as a sauce for the grilled meat.

If you forget yourself, and end up basting the meat using the marinade with raw meat juices in it, stop marinating for the last 5 minutes of grilling so that the raw meat juices can be thoroughly cooked.

Here’s a REALLY important tip: if you are grilling chicken, consider parboiling the chicken at home in advance, then finishing the preparation on the grill. We have been served chicken that was charred on the outside and still raw in the middle - YUCK!

Having a food thermometer on hand is a good idea, too. Instant-read models are available, so you can check, in a flash, to see if the food has reached the proper internal temperature. Check out this link for a list of proper food temperatures.

NEVER - EVER put cooked food back on the same platter that held any raw meat, poultry or fish.

I think this covers the key points, so think before you act, and enjoy a wonderful grilling season!