Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two Recipes: Vegetarian and Carnivorous

For Monday's show, I offered two recipes to satisfy everyone who loves grilling. The first is one that we actually started to do when we lived in San Francisco before we had access to a grill. This became a summer favorite to make under the broiler in the oven. Although I'm not a vegetarian--I respect anyone's culinary decisions short of cannibalism and will enjoy the flesh of anything that swimmeth or creepeth on the land or the bottom of the sea--I will swear on the grave of Ellen White (founder of the Seventh Day Adventists) that no one looks more foreword than I do to the first pods of favas or spring peas than I. A bin of fresh artichokes can cause me to fall to my knees and weep like a repentant sinner at a revival. Continuing in the same vein, to me the first veggie grill of the season is like a ritual akin to an offering up a sacrifice on the altar of St Weber. I'm no high priest but I can knock off a pretty fair offering.

Grilled Vegetables

1 large red onion

2 red bell peppers

4 zucchini

1 large eggplant

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable pan for the grill, place pan over direct heat and let heat up. Slice onion and mix in some olive oil and a little salt. Fry on pan until tender. Place in a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. You will do this with the other vegetables as they finish cooking.

You may also fry the peppers in the pan by coring, de-seeding, slicing and mixing with oil and a little salt. Alternatively, remove pan and set peppers over direct heat until black and blistered at which time, let steam in a paper bag for several minutes. The skin will easily come off and then you may core, de-seed and slice making sure the membranes are removed as well.

Slice eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill over direct heat.

Remove stem and tail-end of zucchini and slice lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill on both sides.

At this point, you may eat the vegetables as they are or add herbs and a vinaigrette for a salad. They are also very good on grilled bread as a sandwich along with some good cheese.

The next recipe is for the unabashed carnivore and features not only cubes of marinated meat (lamb) but also every vegan's wet dream...bacon. I have heard more than one tofu-loving vegetarian confess that more than burgers, dogs, fried chicken and steak, bacon is the single most thing in the world of flesh that he misses the most. So, soak those skewers and enjoy this sandwich on a stick.

Lamb Spiedini with Bacon

1 large clove of garlic, chopped fine

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 pound of bacon cut into 1-inch pieces

Day-old bread cut into 2-inch cubes

In a bowl combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper and add lamb mixing well. Let marinate for about 20-30 minutes.

On each skewer place bacon, bread, bacon, lamb, bacon, bread, bacon etc.

Grill for about 2 minutes on each side.

Although I did go on at some length about using a smoker, I am going to assume that if you own one that you know how to use it. I will just say that it is important to keep the temperature between 225 and 250F and that you want to make sure that you keep adding wet chips to ensure a steady supply of smoke. And make sure you use a good barbecue sauce such as the following:

Barbecue Sauce

2 cups beer

1 cup catsup

1 small onion, finely minced

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients and simmer until reduced by about half or until thick.

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