I love this time of year fresh fruit and veggies from the local farmstands become my main staple and a reminder of my agricultural upbringing. I try to grow a few things in my little city garden, but Ive found that with way less effort, I can go to farmers markets or farmstands and get a wider variety of seasonal ingredients. Over the years, Ive discovered that Im a way better cook than a gardener!
One of my favorite summertime side dishes are baby root vegetables such as beets, potatoes and carrots. You can find them in the summer and theyre smaller, but because of their density, they take longer to cook. To cook these outside on the grill, you just need to do a little pre-planning (some may call this cheating). If you like it, its healthy, and a little cheating makes it easier to cook on a busy week night then its OK!
Grilled Veggie Kebabs
4 each golden and red beets (cut stems and leaves off)
10 each golden and orange baby carrots
10 baby Yukon Gold potatoes
10 fresh Brussels sprouts
2 small zucchinis
2 small yellow squash
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
Soak 10 wooden barbecue skewers in water for 20 minutes as you rinse and clean all veggies. In a microwave safe dish (a round glass pie pan works great), cook the beets for eight minutes (cook two to three minutes less if the veggies are at room temperature) or until fork tender. Let cool, then peel with a knife and cube and put in a large bowl.
In another microwave safe dish, cook the potatoes and carrots seven to eight minutes (again, cook two to three minutes less if the veggies are at room temperature) until fork-tender. Then cook the Brussels sprouts five to six minutes until tender. Add to the beets in the large bowl.
Cut the zucchini and squash into one-inch slices or chunks and add to the microwaved veggies. Add the olive oil, seasoning and liquid smoke and toss until evenly coated. Then put on skewers. Cook the skewers over medium heat on barbecue grill and turn once, three to five minutes on each side until veggies are finished cooking and tender.
Add fresh chopped rosemary or thyme to the veggies before grilling.
Drizzle with flavored balsamic vinegar when serving (I recommend lemongrass mint white balsamic!).
Try other veggies: mushrooms, baby onions, chunks of red/green/orange peppers.
Add chunks of fresh firm fruit such as crispy pears or apples with the vegetables for a sweet/salty combo.
If you dont have time to skewer the veggies, place in a vented grill pan on the barbecue and just make sure to stir to keep from burning.
If you dont have a barbecue grill or much time, place sideways on an indoor electric grill.