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Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless April Grilling: Kebabs and Grilled Bananas

Iowa is special when it comes to weather.  While today is windy, wet, and in the low 40's, yesterday, it was humid and reached 82 degrees.  This was the first really warm weekend day we've had, so we decided to make the most of it and try to grill.  It was an exercise in speed grilling and we managed to get everything cooked and into the house just as the clouds opened up and it started pouring.  I thought I'd show you the fast way we prep for the delicious veggies we grilled, and then sharea quick and easy dessert that you might not have tried yet: grilled bananas.
We begin the grilling process at the picnic table we bought last year (I'm ready for those bright summer foods again)with a big bowl and a tray of veggies. 
I like to choose a variety of colors, textures, and flavors for my vegetarian kebabs.  We began with red peppers, yellow squash, a purple onion, and crimini mushrooms.  In the bottom of a big bowl, we threw around half a cup of olive oil, Tony Chachere's seasoning, salt, and tons of fresh pepper. 
DSC01251Gray skies...
DSC01253Roughly chop everything and toss.  You might need to add more oil and seasoning to make everything well coated at this point.
DSC01256Skewer them up and spread the coals.  We finally invested $1.49 in a set of metal kebabs and have been so happy with them.  They're stronger and sturdier than the wooden/bamboo ones, and vegetables slid on much more easily.  See the sky starting to turn on us?
DSC01262This is what we were working with...
DSC01263The kebabs should be over the hottest part of the fire, along side your veggie dogs.  Once the edges are nice and charred, pull everything off, scrape the grates, and prepare for dessert.
DSC01265Take a banana (on the firmer side if you can) and slice it down the middle while still in the peel.  On the inside, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and cinnamon.  (If you're vegan, you could skip the honey and it will be just as good.)
DSC01268Grill flesh side down first for 1-2 minutes or until the sugar browns.  Flip (using a spatula rather than your tongs!) and grill on the other side until the peel turns black and the banana is hot and soft.
DSC01273The smell of these bananas is incredible.  I'm slowly becoming more aware of the diverse uses for bananas (including the miraculous soft serve) and hope you'll try this one out, too. 
I also grilled up a little pineapple because it's just so darn good caramelized and hot.  And no grilling session, rain or shine, is complete without a pickle.
DSC01282The mushrooms were my favorite, and the grilled onions and peppers were excellent on top of the veggie dogs. 
Give grilled veggies a chance, and get out there to cook, even if it's only for a fleeting moment.  The taste of spring was just what we needed. 
Have you managed to cook outside this spring?  Or is it still cold and dreary where you are?  What is your favorite meatless main dish to share at grilling get-togethers?  I'd love to hear your strategies for avoiding meat, which we we so typically associate with summer.
p.s. Things with Rosie's Best have been going so well recently.  I went into the Co-op on Saturday to check the stock and was confronted with this scene:
I baked this weekend and will be stocking the shelves again this afternoon.  I am SO glad you guys are enjoying the granola and thank you for your support!  If you missed the peanut butter coconut the first time around, head on over and give it a try!  It's delish!

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