Caribbean barbecue

A casual menu with tropical flavors

"I like anything that reminds me of back home," says Yamilka Hayes. The Dominican Republic native now lives in Northern California, where she has no difficulty finding ingredients to reproduce the tropical tastes she enjoyed as a child. And, as a matter of habit, she keeps a close tab on fats and uses them sparingly.

Game plan: Days ahead, freeze melon for the slushes. Up to about 4 hours ahead, assemble ingredients and prep vegetables and fruit. Serve slushes while fish and vegetables grill and rice cooks. Yamilka Hayes turns pineapple slices on the grill to heighten their sweetness. Then she serves the fruit warm or at room temperature with a squeeze of lime. And adding a scoop of nonfat passion fruit or citrus sorbet does no harm.