We finally bought a grill and inaugurated it last night. Texas and grilling just kind of go hand in hand. For one thing, it's so freaking hot out in the summer that you don't really want to be heating up the whole house by cooking in your kitchen, and for another, evenings can be great times to be outside in the cool evening, while you're cooking. We had been talking about getting a grill since we got our patio set, but just hadn't gotten around to getting one.
We made the obligatory veggie kabobs with marinated vegetables including: a beautiful little eggplant that I got from the farmer's market, red bell pepper(from the farmer's market), broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, crookneck squash (from the farmer's market), snow peas, and parboiled red skinned potatoes. I also marinated homemade pumpkin seed tempeh and wakame tempeh for the kabobs.
You can see in this picture that JD left a few of the kabobs on the grill a little too long.
When I saw a package of fresh baby corn at the grocery store the day before, I knew I had to get it since it is one of JD's favorite foods. We tried putting these on the kabobs, but they kept splitting, so we roasted them in a pouch with the red bell pepper and snow peas that were left over from the kabobs, olive oil and sea salt.
Fresh, grilled baby corn, red bell pepper and snow peasWe also had a handful of baby artichokes that I was dying to grill. I thought about putting them on the kabobs, but it just didn't seem right at the time, so we cooked them in a pouch as well. JD taught R how to clean and prep them while I worked on the other dishes. Basically, you peel off about 3-5 layers of the outer leaves, trim and peel the stem, and cut off the top inch or so, and cut them in half, rubbing the cut edges with lemon as you go to prevent discolorization. After these babies were all prepped, I drizzled olive oil and sea salt over them and folded up the foil pouch. We grilled the artichoke and baby corn packets at the same time. Usually when I make artichokes I use more salt and much more lemon juice, but these were simple dishes that really let the true flavors of the food shine.
Grilled Baby Artichokes
JD had expressed concern that using foil would keep the food from tasting like it was "grilled", but both the corn and artichokes had an amazing depth of flavor while tasting really clean and pure. You can even see the carmelization evident in both dishes. Personally, I think foil is a necessity for vegetarian and vegan grillers, because our foods can be really delicate, and foil offers an extra layer of protection. If you're concerned about cooking your food on aluminum, I'd say to cover it in parchment, then in foil so that the foil isn't actually in contact with your food, but will be able to keep the parchment from burning.
I also made a light, summery, pasta salad, my Orange Ginger Sesame Noodles with Mint. I use fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh ginger juice, tahini, shoyu, salt, a touch of toasted sesame oil if you really enjoy the sesame flavor, and grated carrots over cooled noodles like udon or somen. I usually garnish with cilantro, but JD has recently become a cilantro hater, and we were all out, so I used some fresh mint, and of course, toasted black sesame seeds. This dish is also really nice served over a bed of lettuce or tossed together with green leaf, boston or romaine lettuce cut or torn into 1 inch pieces.
Orange Ginger Sesame Noodles with Mint
Of course, we had to grill dessert. We just happened to have kiwi, figs, black plums, and pineapple on hand, so we decided to try grilling them all. As you can see, not all of these fruits held up to being skewered and tossed on the grill. They all tasted amazing, though. I served the grilled fruit with a simple ganache and some chopped hazelnuts.
Grilled Fig, Pineapple, Kiwi and Plum Skewers