Backyard BBQ: Grill Fall Veggies
Fall is a perfect time to grill veggies! With the crisp air, leaves tumbling towards earth, crack open that grill, fire it up and throw down some veggies for a flavorful meal! The rules that you apply for grilling that steak or rack of ribs apply to vegetables as well. Before you barbeque anything, you should have a clean grill. After your charcoal is done, place the grill on the barbeque. Allow the grill to heat. Then brush the grill down with a clean, stiff brush to remove any remaining pieces of grit or food. Baste the grill with vegetable oil and then you are really to roll.
Grilling vegetables for a great Fall meal is one of the best tastes of the year. How do you go about grilling vegetables? BBQ.About.com has the following great advice. Grilling vegetables is easy. The fact that more people don’t do it is the strange thing. The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Soak vegetables in cold water for about 30 minutes before you grill them to keep them from drying out. Pat dry, then brush lightly with oil (I would use a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil-the darker the better). This adds flavor and helps to prevent sticking.
One of the best cooking shows on PBS is "BBQ University with Steven Raichlen". He is so much fun to watch grilling, because he can grill anything! I’ve watched him grill anything from turkeys and asparagus to pineapple. During one episode, he made flame-seared Portobello Mushrooms topped with cheese, the vegetarian equivalent of a cheeseburger (I have actually tried this recently, and it is to-die-for!). Second, a dish that is reminiscent of a grilled steak is ginger-studded Grilled Tofu. And finally, Steven presents a smoky, revamped version of an American classic, Macaroni and Cheese with Fire-Roasted Onions.
If you’re thinking grilling is just for big backyards, filled with men grabbing beers and watching two-inch thick steaks over a huge grill worth a mini cooper, you’re mistaken. Grilling is for everybody. You might have a small portable barbeque or a huge outdoor kitchen but as long as you have a heat source, you can make healthy and tasty vegetable recipes. One apartment I had a small 3x6 foot patio, so I used a small portable tabletop grill and bbq’d some cinnamon-brown sugar chicken quarters, potatoes and pineapple for dessert!
You can grill most any vegetable, from asparagus, bell pepper to eggplant. How do you grill eggplant, you ask? Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes. Bell peppers are smoky-sweet when grilled. Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Use these hints and tips for your favorite Fall dishes!