Friday, July 8, 2011

Laughing Baby

For non-Facebook users: Lance was barking into a tin (don't know why) and Nina found it amusing. And Lance found Nina amusing and we were ALL laughing. What did we do before we had her?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Grilled Vegetables

I love vegetables. My parents never had to force me to eat them -- I just loved them. I have in the past few years become enamored with grilled vegetables. Coat them in olive oil, sprinkle a little coarse salt, then toss them on the grill. Nothing is better.

Of course, Martha Stewart completely has my number. It is a love-hate relationship with that jailbird, but I must admit that she hires people that know how to cook. My grilled vegetable salad was inspired by the recent summer issue of Everyday Food

Grilled Veggie Salad

- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (if you don't have a zester, peel the zest with a vegetable peeler, then cut into thinnish strips)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (zest/peel first, then juice)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or 4 tsp fresh)
- coarse salt and pepper

I combine all of these ingredients (save the s & p) in a small jar (for easy transport if going somewhere). After combining, I taste and add the s & p accordingly.

Honestly, whatever you want, but these are really tasty grilled after being coated in olive oil and lightly salted:

- Cherry/grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes -- it is easy to skewer* the little tomatoes, the Romas I toss on the grill

- Zucchini and/or Yellow Crookneck Squash -- M.S. tip: Cut lengthwise (or on diagonal) into strips or wedges to maximize surface area and get great grill marks. You could skewer* by cutting into rounds (for grill marks, the skewer should be parallel to the diameter of the round)

- Bell Pepper -- any color, any size (small ones or jalapenos you may want to skewer*), and toss the whole thing on the grill and turn. After the skin is blistered and charred, place on a board/plate and use a paper towel to pull off the skin (doesn't need to be perfect, just big chunks). Then cut open and pull of the stem and ribs and seeds. With jalapenos it makes GREAT salsa later (leave the ribs on for extra heat)! ***

- Onions -- any color (purple is pretty) or size, just cut in half and put on grill. You could also skewer*.

- Mushrooms -- I am partial to crimini (which should be skewered*), but portabellas are great too. Simply cut the portabella into strips after grilling.

- Eggplant -- I have had spotty results with vegetable as it tends to turn to mush. I want to try the small Asian variety sometime on the grill. Just toss the whole thing on or cut in half -- it isn't worth it to brine it. It can also make great baba ganoush later.

After all veggies are grilled (they should feel a little soft and have grill marks), place in a large serving dish. Slop the dressing on and gently toss. The salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

*N.B. on skewers: SOAK them for AT LEAST 30 minutes. Otherwise the skewer will burn.

Veggies are yummy whether cooked on gas, charcoal, or electric grill. The other lovely thing about them is you don't have to worry about cooking temperatures or time -- let your palate govern how to cook them.

***EDIT: I always wonder "why is the skin not coming off easily?" when I roast bell peppers. The answer: you must let them steam! After pulling them off the grill, place them in bowl and cover (lid or wax paper + rubber band) for 20 min. Then remove and peel, stem, and seed.