Easy Grilled Vegetable Rosemary Skewers

The other day Robert was going to the lake with some of his friends. They were going to grill out and get caught up on each others lives.

He asked me if I could make a vegetable they could grill so I made these vegetable kabob on rosemary skewers.

Rosemary Vegetable Skewers

To make these skewers, cut the rosemary twigs on a bias to form a point.

You will need:

  • 2-3 zucchini
  • Whole button mushrooms
  • Pappadew peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Rosemary stems
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

Slice zucchini very thin the length of the zucchini. Wrap the zucchini around a drained pappadew pepper, thread it onto a rosemary skewer.

Next, thread a button mushroom, the top with a cherry tomato.

Marinade in a balsamic vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes.

Season each skewer with kosher salt and pepper.

Grill on each side for 2-3 minutes each side or cook over indirect heat for about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with grilled meats.

Since Robert does not eat red meat, when he stays out I usually turn into a carnivore. This particular evening I had some beautiful lamb chops marinated in garlic, rosemary, mint, lavender, oregano, olive oil, and black pepper. We grilled fresh buckwheat bread seasoned with olive oil and rubbed with raw garlic. Marvelous.

I had some mint sauce I made from an arm load of mint during the summer so I couldn’t wait to eat some lamb.

With Robert away, my friend Joanie and I grilled and set the table in the courtyard, poured some wine and had quite a feast.

All because of a rosemary vegetable skewer.

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Spiral Cut Hot Dog

HAPPY 4th of July!

For a fun grilling, try spiral cutting your hot dogs! IT is easy and gives lots of crispy edges and places to hide and hold lots of condiments.

I don’t know about you, but I love a nicely burnt grilled dog with ketchup, mustard, sweet pickle relish, onions and sauerkraut on a toasted bun. YUM!

Try this, it is fun, easy and just a bit different.

This is from CHOW, another cooking site. Please enjoy!

Have a safe and happy 4th!

American flag

American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Happy 4th of July!

The Grill Is On! Grilled Vegetable Salad

This weekend turn the grill on and have some tasty treats. Aside from the typical dogs and burgers, I am going to suggest a grilled vegetable salad perfect for a weekend.

  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Eggplant – sliced and sprinkled with salt. Allow to sit and drain for 10-15 minutes. Rinse and marinade.
  • Red Peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Grape  or cherry tomatoes

Slice all the vegetables; keep them separate in zip lock bags.

Add enough vinaigrette of your choice (my suggested recipe follows) to coat each slice evenly. They do not have to swim in the marinade.

Each vegetable has different cooking times so we want to place each kind of veg on the grill at the same time. This will help prevent you going bonkers while grilling if they were all mixed up.

Grill the vegetables, like items together.

Grill about 5 minutes or until each slice has a nice grill mark.

Remove from the grill and place into a large bowl. If the veg needs to be sliced after grilling, set those aside so you can cut them before combining the vegetables.

Portobello, red peppers and eggplant  and asparagus will need to be cut into bite sized pieces after grilling.

Saute tomatoes; they are too small to grill

Cherry tomatoes are too small to grill so give them a quick saute in a hot saute pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Blister them and they are good to go.

Toss all the grilled vegetables in a large bowl. Add additional dressing if necessary.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

This salad can be served either warm or cold or room temperature.

Just don’t let it sit out longer than 4 hours.

 Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • * 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 1 shallot or sweet onion, minced fine
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar of good quality, can be white or dark
  • 2/3-cup olive oil
  • 1/3-cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients except oils. Slowly add oils while whisking to emulsify.

The dressing will separate and will need a whisk or two before serving.

If you blend the oil in with a food processor or blender, the dressing will be more stable and will not separate.

*Garlic is optional. Dried minced garlic is alright to use as long as you give it time to re-hydrate

Grilled Watermelon

Uh huh, you heard that, Grilled watermelon.

Get your grill hot, really hot.

Slice watermelon about finger width or thicker slices.

Ingredients for Grilled Watermelon

Drizzle the melon with a high quality Greek olive oil such as Theros unfiltered extra virgin.

Sprinkle Herbs de Provence. Fleur de Sel (or kosher or sea salt) and grind some fresh black pepper over the oiled slices.

Place the watermelon on the hot grill for 3-4 minutes. Once grill marks appear, flip and grill the other side.

5 minutes is all it takes once you have a really hot grill. You want the melon to have some chars on it.

The flavor and texture totally changes and is a refreshing, wonderful treat!

Try it.

Smack your lips and say “Hallelujah!”

Your friends and neighbors will think you crazy at first, but they will soon be grilling their own watermelon and smacking their lips too.

Do you think Grilled Watermelon will be as popular as deep-fried turkey?

{Try it before you answer!}

Stay tuned! Find out how YOU can win a bottle of Theros Unfiltered Greek Olive Oil.

Details coming soon

Grilled Watermelon

Spatchcocked

This technique tends to draw giggles and silly voices from people who don’t know what it is. This technique is quite simple and brings great results. I prefer it over trussing and roasting.

All you have to do to spatchcock a bird is to remove the backbone and the sternum and lay the bird out flat.

Simply said, now how?

Take a good pair of poultry shears and a whole bird. On either side of the triangle bit at the end of the spine, start cutting along the backbone. Be careful not to cut into the thigh or breast meat. The hip joints will be the hardest but cut between the joints rather than cutting the actual bone. Although the bones are hollow and easy to cut, be careful. If you are doing a turkey, you will need some strength as simply by being larger, they take more muscle that say a quail.

One the backbone has been removed, open the bird up and lay it flat, inside up, skin side down. Now you are looking at the inside of the bird. Using a good sharp boning knife or chef’s knife, make a slit in the cartilage between the breasts. Try to bend the bird backwards and the breastbone will literally pop loose. Then all you do is pull it out.

There will still be rib bones attached but you want those to still be there. Rinse the bird, lay it out flat. With the backbone gone and the breast bone removed, the bird should lay out nice and flat.

Season the inside of the bird, flip it over. Pat the skin dry, rub a small amount of oil over the skin and then rub it well with seasonings. My favorite seasonings are salt, pepper, Montreal steak or chicken seasoning, and paprika. Paprika will help make the skin crispy.

The seasoned bird can now be cooked either on a grill or roasted in the oven on a rack over mirepoix (50% diced onions, 25% diced carrots, 25% diced celery) at 375 Degrees F.

If grilling you will want to use the indirect method and keep the heat between 350-375 degrees F and no direct flames under the bird. Grill it skin side up for about 2 hours, keep checking so the bird does not burn.

Either in the oven or on the grill, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. So yes, you will need a real food thermometer that is correctly calibrated.

The bird is easily carved after it is cooked. Let the bird rest for about 20 minutes after removing it from the grill or the oven. Use a sharp knife to separate the leg and thigh and then to cut the breasts in half unless you want to leave them whole.

During this time, if you roasted the bird in the oven you can make some pan gravy from the mirepoix and drippings. If you grilled it, have some nice condiments

Heirloom Tomato Salad

or salsas to serve with the bird.

The spatchcocking technique can be used with anything that flies; squab, quail, partridge, grouse, duck, chicken, Cornish hens or even turkey if you are strong enough to wrestle with removing the breastbone and laying the bird out flat. (Yes, I know turkeys do not fly but hopefully you get the idea.)

This 18th century technique probably prompted giggles from the first time it was named. I have no idea where the name came from but the technique is a rather nice way to cook a bird.

Try it, let me know how it works out for you!

You are not alone!

The best laid plans, complete with diagrams and good intentions, do not guarantee successful outcomes.

I had a massage scheduled, and we were going to have a roasted whole chicken for dinner; a mid-summer grilled favorite.

Since it takes upwards of two hours, the plan was made to put the  fully marinated and dry rubbed bird on the grill before I got home. During the massage I thought how nice it would be to come home to dinner nearly done and the aroma of grilling chicken filling the air.

When I walked through the back gate and spied the thermostat lower than 200 degrees F; I immediately realized something was wrong.

Burnt Chicken

Lifting the lid of the grill, this is what I saw:

Robert’s eyes were huge, “oops” he said, “I thought I was doing so good!”

He had turned off the burners on one side of the grill, but instead of placing the bird on the turned off side, he had placed it directly over the three burners left on High.

He had come out to check on the progress after the bird had been on the grill for 45 minutes. At first he said” I was so proud our grill was getting to 650-700 degrees F…
until I opened the lid and saw the burning chicken.”

The meat was fully cooked so we peeled it off the bones

Smoked Chicken Tacos

and made smoked chicken tacos.

Then our friend June shared her culinary expertise with Robert

Burned Hard Boiled Eggs

Know you are not alone!

Disasters do happen. Deal with it.

Deal with it with a sense of humor and look at it as an opportunity to go get Chinese food.