Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grilling Vegetables

Sunday, I grilled red potatoes, purple carrots, golden beets, red peppers and zucchini. Below are some photos and comments along the way to our dinner tonight.

Preparation

Purple Carrots

I bought these at the Folsom Farmers Market, Saturday May 25th, 2013. 
The first thing I did was peel and wash them, then place them on the steamer basket. I steamed them for about 12 minutes. Steaming them cooks them so they don't stay too long on the grill and burn later.


Next, I put them in a bowl and into the fridge until grilling time later.


Golden Beets

I bought these also at the Folsom Farmers Market.
The first thing I did with these was peel and wash them. 
I then cut them in half or thirds - just the right size for the grill.

I boiled\simmered them for 35 minutes. Boiling them, like steaming the carrots, cooks them so they don't burn on the grill later. (I have a freezer with red and yellow beet juice in containers that I use when cooking pinto beans or making soup. Lots of nutrients in the juice.)


Next, I put the beets into a bowl and into the fridge with the carrots until grilling time later.


Red Potatoes, Red Bell Peppers and Zucchini

(Yellow, orange and green bell peppers are great on the grill, too.)

I purchased the zucchini at the Folsom Farmers Market, but there were no potatoes or bell peppers there.
So, this morning I headed to Safeway where I did find some organic red potatoes, but no organic red peppers. I purchased the regular red peppers (4 for $5.00).  We try to buy fresh farmers market veggies or organic when we can find them. But when not available, we use the regular store veggies.

I washed all the veggies. I sliced the potatoes in half, and I like to cut out the little eye. The peppers get quartered and the zucchini cut in half, then cut again length-wise in half. The potatoes go in a bowl and into the fridge until grilling later. The peppers and zucchini go into a large Zip-lock bag with equal amounts of olive oil and your favorite Italian dressing. I like to use a good amount because after I put the peppers and zucchini on the grill, I put the carrots and beets in the bag to marinate them just a little for grilling.



Grilling the Veggies

I start with the potatoes because they usually will take longest to cook, especially if they are large size. And unlike the beets and carrots, the potatoes have not been pre-cooked.

The only thing I do to the potatoes is spray them with a little olive oil spray and sprinkle them with garlic powder and pepper. PAM or Canola oil will work just as well if you don't have a nice olive oil spray. I saved a garlic powder container and made my own garlic powder and pepper mix. About half and half I'd guess. Very easy and convenient to just sprinkle it on.

Below is a photo of the potatoes, peppers and zucchini on the grill. (The pre-cooked beets and carrots come last.) You can see the potatoes have some grill lines on them because they have been on longer than the peppers and zucchini, which were just put on in this photo.


As the vegetables cook, I will move them to the upper rack. Some areas of a grill are hotter than others, and you'll get to know which areas cook faster.

Below, you see I've been moving the veggies to the upper rack so they don't burn. They stay hot there, but they don't burn


When the potatoes, peppers and zucchini are all on the upper rack, I load the grill with the carrots and beets.


While the peppers and zucchini were grilling, I placed the carrots and beets into the large zip-lock bag with the olive oil and Italian dressing marinade. That's just to keep them from sticking to the hot grill and give them a nice little flavor that just enhances their natural flavor.

We're ready to take everything off the grill and put it on the table. 

 

Let's Eat!

Here are the finished veggies ready to dig into.

    Grilled purple or orange carrots taste great. I left part of the tops on for aesthetics. Don't eat 'em!

   Golden beets or red beets are delicious. If you don't think you like beets, try these!

    Peppers and zucchini are made for grilling. I grill these all the time with red potatoes.

   Red potatoes are perfect with olive oil spray and garlic powder/pepper sprinkled on.

Grilling seems to have become a weekly event for me at our house. Today, there were only two of us for all these veggies. We ate our fill and put the leftovers in the fridge.

The veggies get eaten all week long for our lunches or quick dinners. I like to cut up a little of each in a bowl, microwave it, and put the whole mix into a flour tortilla for a quick dinner. (Hint: Before putting the veggies in, fold the plain flour tortilla onto a plate and microwave for 30 seconds.) Sometimes, I'll make two of these veggie burritos, and put one in plastic wrap to take to work the next day.

Other veggies I grill are asparagus (rolled on the grill like the carrots until done) and Japanese eggplant, marinated with the peppers and zucchini. The zucchini and eggplant cook very fast, so they usually go first to the warming rack on the grill (or get taken off completely and covered with foil).

I would advise starting with the basic three veggies (potatoes, peppers and zucchini) or even just one of your favorites to go along with your favorite meat. When we have guests who eat meat, I like to grill a pork loin or boneless chicken breast tenders. Very easy, tender and you can flavor the meat with garlic/pepper or barbecue sauce. As you can see, we had more than enough food without any meat. And I had also boiled some fresh sweet corn on the cob that I got at the Folsom Farmers Market.

Note: Saturday, May 25th, 2013 was the first day of the year-round farmers market in Folsom. It will be there every Saturday now. I will go back again, or go to our neighborhood farmers market at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, also on Saturdays year-round. If I can't get to one of those on a Saturday morning, there is a nice one in Carmichael Park, near by on Sunday mornings. (I stopped there Sunday morning to see if they had peppers or potatoes, but they also did not).