Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grilling can go greener

Whether over gas or charcoal, grilling in our family is part of what makes summer summer.

While my husband prefers to sneak in grilling year-round, I've always bristled at him kicking up a flame over a steak or a few chicken breasts. Seems like such a waste of resources, even if you keep only one burner heated. Think about all the wasted heat.

What I've learned the last few months is that we can make our grilling a bit "greener" by using more of that retail space on the rack. No, I'm not grilling extra hunks of meat at a time. Instead, we've incorporated veggies: cauliflower, potatoes and asparagus, just to name a few. And we're planning to expand.

Vegetables are not just relegated to kabobs, as many people might think. There are many, many fabulous recipes that you can try the next time you just have to kick up the heat outside.

Here are just a few that our family enjoys:

Grilled cauliflower
adapted from Andrea Chesman's The Vegetarian Grill

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chopped fresh basil
2 T. chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
1 1/2 T. apple juice
1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper

Pour over one head of cauliflower, torn into large florets. Marinate at least 20 min. Grill 10 min. or so on medium-high heat.

Grilled asparagus
A family favorite -- so much so that my infant snatched it up from me and knawed the ends off of spear after spear for 20 min. the other night.

1/2 c. olive oil
crushed tarragon and cracked black pepper to taste

Pour over asparagus spears. Marinate at least 15 min. Grill about 10 min. on medium-high heat.

If you're considering grilling vegetables, here are a few tips from The Vegetarian Grill:
  • Vegetables should be tossed in oil or a marinade before cooking to keep them from sticking to the grill.
  • Ripe vegetables do cook more quickly than underripe ones.
  • Vegetables are done when fork-tender.
  • "When vegetables are grilled, the sugars naturally occurring within as well as any sugars in the marinade coating the outside will caramelize, producing a neice brown, slightly crunchy exterior. This is completely different from charring, which happens next. Charred, scorched food is bitter and unpleasant, so be prepared to remove the vegetables when they are done - and not simply when the timer goes off."
  • Humidity may cause your food to cook more slowly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have some asparagus in the fridge! Going to try this recipe on the grill tonight. Sounds yummy!