Food for Thought: Cook summer veggies on the grill

By Loretto Hulse, Herald staff writerAugust 28, 2013 

Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of summer, but not of the barbecue season.

If you're planning a barbecue, why not plan to cook your whole meal on the barbie? After all, there's no sense in dashing inside to cook the corn when you can dine on succulent, slightly smoky ears right from the grill.

But don't stop there; corn isn't the only grill-friendly veggie. Plenty of others do well on the grill, especially larger ones like portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and summer squash.

Some are actually better cooked on the grill where the intense heat concentrates their flavors and sweetness and adds a tasty smokiness. All they need is a light brushing with olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper and -- if you're feeling especially gourmet -- a sprinkling of minced garlic and a favorite chopped herb.

For more flavor, use an herb-infused oil in place of the olive oil. Or marinate them in a favorite vinaigrette salad dressing or soy sauce marinade before grilling. Unlike meats, veggies don't need to soak in the marinade for long -- a few minutes is all it takes.

There are several methods for cooking them. Large veggies can go directly on the grill. Others, like cherry tomatoes, are best skewered or done in a grill basket or rack.

Before putting the veggies in a grill basket, spray the basket lightly with cooking spray -- off heat -- and preheat it for about 10 minutes on the grill before adding the vegetables.

Grilled veggies are great alone -- think ratatouille -- or tossed into a pasta sauce, with salad greens or stuffed into pita pockets.

Reach fundraiser

Reach for your wallet. The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center is holding a fundraiser Sept. 20. The event is Tres Tastes: Mid-Columbia Grand Tour du Jour, a progressive dinner featuring three wineries on Red Mountain.

The three-course meal includes wines from each of the wineries matched to the foods. Transportation from the Tri-Cities is included.

Cost is $175 per person or $300 for two. The event runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

For more information or reservations, call 943-4100. Or go to www.visitthereach.org.

New read

The book: Put 'em Up! Fruit: a Preserving Guide & Cookbook: Creative Ways to Put 'em Up, Tasty Ways to Use Them Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton.

Cost: $20.

Best for: The author offers 80 recipes for canning, refrigerating, freezing, drying and infusing. To ensure all your hard word doesn't go to waste, she also includes 80 recipes for using your preserved foods.

--Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com.

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