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Grillin' & Chillin'

Posted Sep 13 2008 11:40pm
We had to grill Sunday because it will rain this weekend. It rains here every Memorial Day weekend. (Remember last year?)

I made some make-ahead salads (“chillin”) so I could concentrate on the grilled items (“grillin”).

You know I gotta have my broccoli, so I made Broccoli and Sweet Pepper Salad.

Broccoli and Sweet Pepper Salad

1 large head of broccoli with stem
1 bell pepper, diced (I used half a yellow and half a orange)
1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
1 T. canola oil
1 T. cider or white wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
S&P to taste

Chop the broccoli head and stalk into bite sized pieces and steam for 2 minutes. Put into bowl. Add pepper and onion. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over veggies. Chill until ready to serve.

My neighborhood market puts out a monthly magazine which includes recipes. I found several nice looking recipes featuring seasonal produce and organic products, but the most intriguing recipe was Pico de Strawberries. It is pico de gallo using strawberries in place of tomatoes and it is fabulous! I had 2 big cartons of fresh strawberries and I used the least ripe from each container.

Pico de Strawberries

16 ounces strawberries (fresh or frozen), chopped
1 cup sweet white or yellow onion
1 big fat fresh jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon raw sugar
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Mix all together and serve as a dip or a salsa topping.

I had it out as an appetizer when Chase arrived for dinner, and I didn’t tell him what it was because you can hardly tell it’s strawberries instead of tomatoes. I asked him to try it with a cracker. He didn’t say anything for a while, then finally said “It tastes like fruit. I like it!” I think it’s much better used as a salsa instead of a dip. I highly recommend serving over sliced avocados!

I used some of the Pico in this next recipe, Individual Layered Salads. I had eaten a nonvegan version of this salad a long time ago, and all I could remember was you start with dressing and end with greens. So here’s my version with ingredients I had on hand.

Individual Layered Salads

Start with a twelve ounce cocktail glass and layer your ingredients in this order, pressing down as you go.

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vinaigrette (I used “Sante Fe”)
shredded carrots
chopped avocado
pinto beans
pico de gallo
chopped yellow bell peppers
mixed greens

Mash down as best you can, then cover and refrigerate until serving time.

When ready to serve, turn out onto a salad plate. The dressing will drizzle through the layers. Guests can knock over their salads and eat!

This was the most fun part of the meal, and a fantastic salad. Here’s Chase preparing to unmold his salad. (I only had Christmas glasses to put the salad in. You know, Christmas glasses for Christmas cheer…)

He grew impatient and violently shook out his salad.

I, on the other hand, was more patient, which now that I think about it is unusual. My patience pays off!

See how fun!!

Spread on the plate and ready to eat.

The rest of the meal was from the grill – two kinds of kabobs and portabella mushrooms. I think the 6-inch skewers aren’t meant for grilling. Both ends burnt up.

Anyway, I found some “Mandarin Sweet Cherry Tomatoes” at my market. The produce man told me they were incredibly delicious and talked me into buying them. They are very orange.

I marinated them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, and thyme, then skewered them. They only needed about 3 minutes on the grill. They are sweet, really really good tomatoes, and grilling them was a good idea.

For me, portabella mushrooms, marinated in a store bought sesame ginger vinaigrette. Delicious! Tofu Kabobs for Chase, glazed with molasses and mustard. I brushed on the glaze before and while they were on the grill. Chase loved it.

Here’s Chase’s plate. (He put a mushroom on his plate and had a bite, but he’s just not a fan. He also likes to squish his tomatoes.)

And my plates.

The Grillin’ and Chillin’ table.

And cookies for dessert! Vive Banana Oat Bundles (with peanuts) and Happy Herbivore’s tester Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I hope you all have fabulous plans for the long weekend, and I hope I’ve jinxed away the rain.
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