Summer Improvisation

If you usually don’t trust yourself to cook without a recipe, the summer is the time to begin. With fresh herbs, and abundant local fruits and vegetables, it’s really hard to go wrong. My go-to summer combination is fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. If you have these items, you have a meal. Just cook up the vegetables, flavor them to taste, add some kind of grain (pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous etc) and/or some kind of protein (beans, tofu etc), and you’ve got a satisfying meal.

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Here’s a meal my husband and I recently made on our grill. It was quick, easy, and delicious, and didn’t require tons of prep or ingredients. Notice these are not really recipes – I don’t have exact measurements to give you, but hopefully it might inspire you to grill up your own seasonal creation.

Grilled Vegetables:

  • Vegetables of your choice (I used zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion), cut into chunks that will fit on a kebab skewer (for mushrooms, simply remove the stems)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs (I used rosemary, oregano, and thyme)

After you’ve chopped the vegetables, mix them in a bowl with the other ingredients. I don’t add tons of oil and vinegar, just enough to see that all vegetables are thoroughly coated. I look for the same thing when adding the seasonings. Allow them to marinate for at least 20 minutes before grilling.

Put the marinated vegetables on kebab skewers (save the marinating bowl for serving). Grill the vegetables for about 5 – 10 minutes, until they’ve reached a level of “doneness” that looks good to you. When the vegetables are cooked, you can push them off the skewers back into the bowl, and people can serve themselves from there. These are also great mixed with cooked rice or pasta.

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Most recently, we served the vegetables alongside black bean burgers (store-bought), topped with salsa and guacamole. My husband is the official guacamole-maker in our house, and each time it’s slightly different. Here is the basic formula he uses. If you’re looking for a little variation, also try our tomatillo guacamole.

Nick’s Guacamole:

  • 2 avocadoes, mashed
  • The juice of one lime
  • About 1/2 of a tomato, diced
  • Fresh cilantro, to taste
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • A few dashes of sea salt
  • A few dashes of cumin
  • A few dashes of hot sauce

Mix all ingredients together.

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Enjoy all the flavors summer has to offer!

 

 

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