While I was at the Brookline Farmer’s Market, I also picked up 2 enormous eggplants for just $1 each. Now that’s a deal! Last year I made Grilled Pesto Eggplant, but this time I wanted to let the eggplant marinate before bringing it to the BBQ to grill. Later that night, the eggplant slices went on the grill with many other delicious items including chicken, sausages, and steak.
The eggplant got nicely charred on the outside and soft on the inside, and picked up the balsamic flavor. But something was missing. Cheese! The next day, I created another sandwich using two pieces of eggplant and a slice of provolone cheese on a whole wheat bun. With very little effort, you can have a great vegetarian double cheeseburger.
Grilled Balsamic Eggplant
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ slices
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 t minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
Mix oil, vinegar, and garlic in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Place eggplant slices in the dish one at at time, making sure to dip both sides in the marinade. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
Cook on a grill until the eggplant slices are fork tender.
The main dish of our Mexican feast were these corn tacos, based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. You start by making a slaw with zucchini, radish, and lime. (A total of six limes were used in the preparation of this meal, and none of those were in an alcoholic beverage!)
2 ears of corn are grilled, to produce nicely charred kernels. The kernels of the remaining ears are sauteed with chopped onion. This mixture of corn was so good, you could have just eaten it right out of the bowl.
I warmed the tortillas by placing them between damp paper towels and cooking for 20 seconds in the microwave. So if you don’t eat all the corn first and actually assemble a taco, here’s what you get. It was very messy to eat – you had to either hold the taco and keep eating until it was gone, or drop it in your plate and attack it with a fork.
But regardless of how you ate them, the tacos were delicious.
Do you feel like something is missing? Oh yes, in the hustle and bustle of dinnertime, I completely forgot to take out the queso fresco. I can only assume that crumbled cheese would make these tacos that much better. Next time…..
You didn’t think I would just make Bacon Cheese Inside Out Turkey Burgers for a BBQ meal, right? Of course not. Every good BBQ needs a vegetarian option, and portobello mushrooms are one of my favorites. This Bobby Flay recipe is fairly simple, yet so elegant.
You start by drizzling portobello mushrooms with olive oil, and grilling them for 4-5 minutes on each side. Right at the end, you place thinly sliced manchego cheese on the mushrooms, allowing the cheese to melt. Each mushroom is then plated, and topped with chopped fresh spinach leaves and a balsamic viniagrette. The mushrooms can be served as an appetizer or side dish, or you can make a stack of 2 or 3 mushrooms to serve as an entree. Either way, these portobello mushrooms will be the highlight of the meal.
A quick word about cost. Portobello mushrooms can be expensive – one grocery store in my area charges $3.99 for a package of 2 caps. I found the best deal at a local produce market which sells portobello mushrooms for $3.98/lb., and I ended up paying just about $1.00 per mushroom. That still adds up quickly if you’re cooking for a crowd, but is more reasonable. If you’re going to splurge on food, fruits and vegetables are the best choice! I happen to believe that good cheese is also worth every penny and really enjoyed the Manchego, but you could easily substitute a less expensive sharp cheddar.
Ground turkey makes a special appearance today, paired with bacon and cheese. My family was sure excited about trying this recipe from Roni at Green Lite Bites. The (very real) bacon bits are mixed right in to the turkey mixture along with rolled oats and shredded zucchini. The zucchini provides moisture, and the oats help to stretch out the meat. And of course, both ingredients add some nutrition. I chopped a small onion into the mixture as well, for a little extra flavor.
But the truly unique part is that half of a Mini Babybel Light cheese wheel is tucked inside the burger. When the burger is grilled, the cheese melts perfectly inside. This was a really fun way to make cheeseburgers, and of course you could use the idea for a homemade veggie burger as well. Thanks to Roni for posting this recipe, it was a crowd pleaser!
One of my favorite meals this weekend was Mediterranean Chopped Salad, which I made by loosely following a recipe from Oprah. I love that we served it salad bar style, and everyone could pick and choose their own salad ingredients. The choices included chopped Romaine, grilled zucchini, eggplant, and red onion, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Everything looked so pretty on an antique tablecloth from my grandmother.
The salad bar was great, but the basil dressing stole the show. I used a smoothie maker to blend everything together, and the result was incredible. I was a bad blogger and didn’t document the exact measurements, but the dressing roughly contained:
- 1 spoonful of minced garlic
Here is a shot of my Dad’s (first) bowl, ready to be enjoyed with a glass of wine on the deck. We may have to make the Mediterranean salad bar a Fourth of July tradition!