My husband would say that if it isn’t raining, sleeting or snowing, it’s ALWAYS grilling time. But let’s face it — it sure is a lot more enjoyable when the breeze is warm and the air smells like freshly cut grass (and whatever you’re cooking).
This season, you might want to try out a new product from the makers of Weber grills. I guess they figured that if they can make grills well, they might as well try making grilling spices.
The new line of Weber Grill Creations and Grind’N Grills includes Six-Pepper Fusion, Roasted Garlic & Herb, Kick’n Chicken, Chicago Steak, Twisted Citrus Garlic and Mango Lime Seafood Seasoning.
They’ve also got some powdered marinade mixes like the Southern Whiskey Marinade, which I assume will be sold with the other powdered seasoning mixes.
Another neat addition to your grilling accessories this year is a cookbook called “The New Vegetarian Grill” by Andrea Chesman, which includes 250 recipes for meat-free grill dishes.
I know it can seem a little odd to fire up the grill if you don’t have a big, fat sirloin or some brats waiting in the fridge. But when I took a grilling class at Hotel Roanoke last year, I realized how many wonderful, meat-free dishes can be made on the grill. Even if you just want to cook a side dish along with the meat without heating up the stove, it’s an option.
Even dessert can come off the grill — try grilling a slab of pound cake and topping it with strawberries and whipped cream. Better yet, grill slabs of pineapple, mango and passion fruit and mix it up for a smoky chutney to serve with fish or chicken.
I’ll share a recipe from Chesman’s book below. The marinade calls for tamari, which is a sauce made from soybeans that is similar to soy sauce but thicker. Look for it at the grocery store or an Asian market. In the absence of tamari, I’d just use soy sauce.
We’re about to have a cold snap from what I hear, but hang in there! It’s almost grilling time for good!
Teriyaki Vegetable Kabobs
Note: The challenge to making vegetarian kabobs is choosing vegetables that cook in the same amount of time. If you use vegetables with different cooking times, you will have to pre-cook some of them, like the broccoli in this recipe.
Serves 4 to 6.
One 14- to 16-oz. bloc of firm or extra-firm tofu
1 broccoli stalk, florets cut into bite-size pieces and stalks sliced 1/2 inch thick.
1 recipe for Teriyaki Marinade and Dipping Sauce (below) at room temperature
4 oz. snow peas
1 red bell pepper, cubed
2 small onions, cubed
4 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed
Hot cooked white or brown rice
1. Wrap tofu in paper towels and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Pat dry. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
2. Cook the broccoli in a microwave or in boiling water on top of the stove until just tender, about 2 minutes. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking, then drain.
3. Prepare a medium-hot fire on the grill.
4. Pour about half of the marinade into a shallow dish. Add tofu, broccoli, snow peas, pepper, onions and mushrooms and toss gently to coat. Thread onto skewers.
5. Grill kabobs, turning occasionally, until vegetables are cooked, about 10 minutes.
6. Spoon a bed of rice onto a serving platter or individual plates. Top with vegetables, on or off the skewers, and serve. Pass the remaining dipping sauce at the table.
Teriyaki Marinade and Dipping Sauce
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tamari (a dark sauce that is similar to soy sauce, but thicker)
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange or pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat sesame and canola oils. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tamari, sherry, brown sugar and lime juice and bring to a boil.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice and cornstarch until you have a smooth paste. Stir into the tamari mixture and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Use immediately or store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Source for both recipes: “The New Vegetarian Grill” by Andrea Chesman.