Summer time is notorious for easier meals, hot hazy weather and little desire to cook big meals. So how does one continue to eat healthy, balanced meals when you'd rather be at the beach, or are glued to the A/C?
One option of course is the grill. We all know how to grill a burger or hot dog, maybe even some shrimp. Try some different glazes instead of the typical BBQ sauce. An apricot glaze for chicken, rum glaze for shrimp and a pork glaze with a buzz (works on beef too)But do you grill your veggies too? Many vegetables are wonderful on the grill, as are fruits. Most need just a bit of olive oil and s&p and herbs of your choice. Asparagus, eggplant slices, tomato halves, zucchini strips, and corn on the cob (I husk mine for a roasted corn flavor). All of these can then be cut up for a nice salad, served in large slices for an antipasto plate w/ olives and cheese or tossed with some pasta. Even on a nice ciabbatta with pesto for a delicious sandwich. Add them to your burger too for a twist. But did you know that unconventional veggies can be grilled too? Brussel sprouts (parboil larger ones), cauliflower slices, and fennel work well. New potatoes on a rosemary skewer. Even iceberg, romaine and radicchio for a twist on the conventional salad.
Grilling fruits with a little butter or plain adds a nice carmelized flavor to them for desserts or salsas. Pineapple slices, peach halves, and even watermelon. Mango, papaya, strawberries and plums too. Use fruits that have some moisture in them - apples don't do so well. Grill some pound cake, polenta, or warm a brownie and add some ice cream for a real treat. Bananas though would be good grilled, brushed with a little butter. Or ripe plantains. Add marshmallows to a skewer for a fun twist on s'mores, and use peanut butter in place of or in addition to the chocolate on your graham crackers. Yum! Even a cobbler can be done on the grill. Cowboys did it all the time, right?
Try a grilled lemon lemonade is a great alternative to jazz up your next meal. What about pizza? yup - great on the grill. Quesadillas, grilled cheeses, and even cornbread! Add a nice grain like farro, quinoa or barely (OK, you need to cook these indoors), a green salad and you have dinner. And for all you vegetarians who like your tofu (hey, I am one of you) thick slices of tofu work great on the grill too. Glaze as you would meat, and cook about 2-3 mins a side on a greased grate to warm and get that grill marked flavor. Tempeh, soy sausages (just watch the casings - they will melt) and even soy chicken patties can hit the grill. So enjoy your summer, fill those BBQ tanks, use good safety practices and enjoy the outdoors. Happy grilling!