Welcome to Inspired Habitat, a column by local environmentally-conscious lifestyle website Bambeco, a company committed to advancing a more sustainable world.  

Summer time and the living is… yummy! When the weather warms up it’s time to get outside and enjoy. Whether you’ve got a tiny balcony or a backyard fit for a BBQ King, eating outside is the perfect way to top off a summer evening. Bonus points – cooking outdoors doesn’t heat up the house! Get outside and grill up some green entertainment!

First, get rid of the pests…
We put together a must-know list of mosquito facts, including some eco-friendly ideas to prevent them from turning you into their personal buffet line.

Arrange some seating…
Sitting on a blanket at a picnic is charming. Sitting on the floor of your deck isn’t. Make sure you’re set to seat you and your guests for the type of meal you’ll be serving. A general rule – if guests can eat the entire meal with just one hand and a fork, then a table is optional. Ditto on eating with the fingers, but they will need a spot to rest their plates while they eat. If you plan on serving really messy food, or it requires cutting, then a table is a must.

Take a look at some of the latest, coolest, most eco-friendly outdoor furniture to be found.Plantation-grown teak is a great choice for outdoors, it weathers beautifully, requires minimal upkeep and if it’s grown and harvested sustainably, it’s about as green as you can get.

Getting to grilling…
Ditch the charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid, you really don’t want that toxic twosome anywhere near your organic veggies and sustainable seafood. Opt instead for an electric grill. If you must have flames, gas and propane are still better than charcoal briquettes. If you simply must have charcoal then opt for solid chunks of sustainably produced hardwood charcoal with no added chemicals and light them with a chimney device.

The right tools…
There is nothing worse than putting something on the grill only to discover, just after it’s gotten too hot to handle, that you don’t have the right tools for the job. Grill tools come in all shapes and sizes, but since we’re greening our grilling, why not opt for a sustainable and durable match up like bamboo and stainless steel?

Ah, the food…
When it came time to write this piece, one of our staff brought in two family recipes that make simple, and amazingly tasty fish. Make the wisest choices you can when purchasing ingredients, and let the quality of your fish shine.

Honey-Balsamic Salmon
4 four-ounce salmon fillets
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup honey
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

  • Preheat your grill, meanwhile mix the balsamic vinegar and honey and remove any pin bones from the fish.
  • When the grill is hot, coat the grill surface with olive oil, and brush oil on the skin-side of the salmon. Brush the top of the salmon with the glaze, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the salmon skin-side up on the grill and let cook for a minute or two. This is just about getting grill marks.
  • Carefully lift the salmon and flip it over, skin-side down. Brush the salmon top again with the glaze and cover the grill. Continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and preferred level of doneness. (130 degrees for medium, 140 for well done)
  • Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with a large tossed salad and grilled vegetables.

Herbed Grilled Trout
4 trout fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 teaspoons minced fresh herbs (sage and rosemary or tarragon and marjoram)
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

  • Preheat your grill, meanwhile in a small metal saucepan, combine the olive oil, garlic,and herbs. Cook over low heat about 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.
  • Baste both sides of the trout with the oil mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the trout on the grill skin-side down for 2 minutes, turn and cook another 2 to 4 minutes or until done (140 degrees, or opaque and flaky), basting the fish during cooking.

Read more at Inspired Habitat