Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Means Its Time to Grill

Grilling I: Lemon and Garlic Veggies or Chicken

You will never hear me complain about how it is too hot in the summer. Maybe too hot to cook, but never too hot. I dream all year about nights of tossing and turning, sheet half on half off, because its warm and muggy. Afternoon cumulonimbus clouds, building to create thunder storms that make you jump even though you've heard thunder millions of times before. The magical sounds of the cicadas buzzing in the trees. Hot sand underfoot at the beach. Eating just a little too much ice cream. I'm the kind of girl who tries to spend as much time outside as possible. So grilling is that perfect excuse for spending more time out of doors. I just purchased my first propane grill this spring and have come up with some great recipes that have gotten the thumbs up from friends and family. For the Fourth I did a lot of marinating and grilled up quite the vegetarian feast. These marinades work great on chicken too.  I mostly grill veggies, as I stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, and because they are so versatile. Great for dinner and excellent leftovers on a sandwich for lunch. I find that with marinating, a lot depends on personal taste, so none of these measurements are perfectly round or exact. This post will also be organized a bit differently from my other posts, as far as steps for cooking. 


Veggie or Chicken Lemon and Garlic Marinade

I use this marinade on eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, bell peppers and chicken. Of course the more herbs you add to it (keep in mind how the flavors of the herbs meld and their intensity) the more flavorful it will be. 

Ingredients

  • Veggies for grilling, see suggestions above
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons or more)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
To prepare zucchini or summer squash, I cut it into thin slices lengthwise, I find this cooks the best and is easiest to grill. For eggplant, I cut in 1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds. Keep in mind that eggplant can get really dry grilling. It also soaks up a lot of oil, and this gives it the best flavor and consistency. You might want to marinate your eggplant separately, and increase the olive oil. Asparagus doesn't need any special preparation, nor does it actually need to marinate. Just toss it in the ingredients for the marinade before grilling. For the peppers, they need to be cut in halves and have the seeds and membranes removed. 

To make the marinade, place the prepared veggies in a leakproof storage container. In a 2 cup measuring cup squeeze 2 lemons (more if using a large quantity of veggies). Remove any seeds. Whisk in about a 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add garlic, salt, pepper and any other seasonings. Whisk ingredients well. Now pour the mixture into the storage container over the veggies. Cover and shake to coat all veggies. If marinating for more than an hour, refrigerate and shake frequently. If you are not marinating the veggies longer than an hour, you can leave the container at room temperature. Once your grill is fired up, place veggies at an angle on the grill and cook on a low to medium-low heat. The thing about grills, is each one is different, so you just need to get to know your grill. Turn once the veggies start to wilt or brown. Pay close attention, so that you don't burn the veggies. Zucchini and squash will cook faster than eggplant. I like to let my eggplant cook on a low flame until it gets almost mushy. Remove carefully from grill. When grilling peppers, I cook until there is a good char on the skin, and remove the skin before eating. 

On the next grilling post I will include my recipe for Pineapple-Ginger and Bourbon Mushrooms and Tofu. And another will have the Chipotle Lime Sweet Potatoes. Also to come my grilled veggie sandwich recipe. Man, I've got a lot of work ahead of me.