Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cooking Floyd: July 4th GrillFeast

We opted for a quiet Fourth of July at home.  Oh, there were still fireworks.  Our neighbor's son-in-law puts on a pretty good show at her house which is below and to the left of us.  But we didn't go out amongst the tourists and the traffic in search of a big show.  We grilled everything in the fridge instead and there was nary a burger in sight!

Michael and I got started on this when he came back from his bike trip extolling the fine job the caterer and a BBQ guy did with the vegetarian food option.  He was especially taken with a grilled sweet potato and eggplant sandwich and split heads of marinated grilled romaine.  So we decided our 4th of July BBQ would be grilled veggies.

We started by prepping inch-thick slices of sweet potato.  They went into boiling water to cook until they just poked tender, then were drained, chilled, peeled, brushed with ghee (for its higher smoke point) and caged.

Golden beets were next and got the same treatment except they were skewered.  Then I made a glaze of orange juice concentrate, grated ginger, and sweet chili sauce for brushing on later.

Corn was husked, desilked and then laid on foil.  A sprig of thyme and some slivers of ginger were tucked next to the cob and everything was drizzled with olive oil and wrapped.

Eggplant was peeled and cut into thick slices.  Two heads of romaine lettuce were divested of their loose outer leaves and then split in half.  Large Portabella mushrooms were cleaned and a tomato was sliced in half.  All these were marinated in a vinaigrette made of Tuscan herb paste, wild garlic paste, a combination of olive and canola oils, maple vinegar, and salt and pepper.

While all these wonderful things were marinating, Michael made his killer Tabouli salad.

Finally it was time to load the grill.  We started with the corn and beets which had the longest cook time at 20-30 minutes.  Next we loaded on the caged sweet potatoes and the eggplant which was also caged.  Those had an estimated time of 12 minutes.  And finally the mushrooms, tomatoes, and lettuce which grilled in 5 minutes.  We realized as we were loading the grill that some split marinated leeks would have been outstanding but honestly, where would they have gone?
Just before the stuff came off the grill I brushed the beets and sweet potatoes with the orange ginger chili glaze and allowed just enough time for it to caramelize, about 2 minutes per side.

Even though it was just the two of us we took the time to arrange everything nicely on platters...

... and heaped our plates to overflowing!

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