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Chef's Hat: Smells of the season: It's time to fire up the grill

Take a walk through any neighborhood and you're likely to smell blooming lilacs, freshly cut grass, apple blossoms and - if you're out around meal times - the enticing smell of a charcoal grill.

Although it's tempting to just get things fired up, and many grills have already been in use, it's important to take a few moments to prepare your grill for the season.

First, make sure the grill is thoroughly cleaned, on both the inside and out. A wire brush is a good tool to remove any built up grease. If there is dust or other debris on the grill, a simple solution of equal parts of vinegar and water will go a long way to remove grime.

If it's a gas grill, carefully inspect hoses and burners for any holes or cracks, and replace any damaged parts.

With so much fresh produce arriving at stores and farmers markets, this is a good time to take the opportunity to try grilling something a little different.

Asparagus is one of those vegetables people either love or hate. But just in case you have a couple of family members sitting on the fence about this vegetable, try it grilled. Grilling adds a smoky flavor to the tender stalks. It can be prepared with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and placed on the grill.

If you really want a crowd pleaser, wrap it in bacon and top it with Parmesan cheese. If you are concerned about the stalks falling through the grate, place a piece of aluminum foil on the grate, lightly spray it with nonstick cooking spray and place the stalks on top of the foil for cooking.

The Aloha Chicken recipe takes a bit of prep time as it has to marinate for at least two hours. It takes just a few minutes to put the marinade together. This is a dish you can easily throw together before work and then just let it sit in the refrigerator and absorb flavor while you're at work.

A delicious dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes is possible with a little prep time and a hot grill. Get ready to enjoy summer and Happy Eating!

Freshly Grilled Asparagus

10 fresh asparagus spears; trim off woody ends

Nonstick cooking spray

5 bacon strips, cut in half lengthwise

Salt

Pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

Heat up a grill to medium heat.

Place the asparagus on a sheet of waxed paper or a large plate. Gently spray the asparagus with cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle the spears with salt and pepper. Gently turn, spray the other side and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper the other side. Wrap a piece of bacon around each spear and secure the bacon with toothpicks.

Place directly on the grill. Heat for 5 minutes and turn the spears over. Cook an additional 4 to 6 minutes until the bacon is cooked. Remove from heat and discard toothpicks. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the spears just before serving.

Aloha Chicken

Adapted from delish.com

1 cup pineapple juice

3/4 cup barbeque sauce

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons jarred garlic

1 teaspoon jarred ginger

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or chicken thighs)

1 tablespoon canola oil

Additional oil for grill

1 teaspoon canola oil for pineapple slices

1 can of pineapple slices (or slice up a fresh pineapple)

In a large bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger until combined.

Place chicken in a plastic container (with a lid) or large, zipped bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Let chicken marinate for at least 2 hours; chicken can be left in the marinade for up to 8 hours.

When ready to grill, heat grill to high. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil onto a paper towel. Lightly grease the grill grate with the oil. Remove chicken from marinade and reserve the marinade for basting. Place chicken on the grill and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and lightly brush additional marinade over the chicken. Grill an additional 8 to 10 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove chicken and place on a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Toss the pineapple slices with the oil. Place the slices on the grill and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Slices will be slightly charred.

Place chicken on serving plates and top with pineapple slices.