Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilling Ideas PLUS Kosher Recipes Link-Up

I recently joined the Kosher Connection. Each month we'll jointly host a "Link-up" on a different theme. Today I'd like to share some general ideas about:

  • Nontraditional dishes that make the most of a tradition grill (like things you can serve on Shabbat or bring to a pot-luck)
  • Tips for using non-traditional "grills" (great for cooking on vacation or in dorm-style situations)

The smoky, dry heat produced by a grill gives food some amazing flavors. Once you already have the grill set up, there's no reason to stick with simple grilled veggies and the traditional meats. You can use the grill as a flavor-boosting step in so many dishes.

By using the grill you can add an exciting summery flavor to dishes that can be taken to a friends house, to work, rewarmed for Shabbat, or eaten cold.

This Shabbat I served a crustless quiche or pashtida. The main ingredient was grilled butternut squash. The grilling (or roasting) carmelized the squash in a way that wouldn't have been possible if I baked the whole cassarole at once. Instead, the squash was soft and sweet and fully cooked by the time the egg was done. I even enjoyed this cold for breakfast yesterday!

I highly recommend making soup from grilled vegetables like tomatoes, pumpkin, and squash. The flavor is so much more intense than wet cooking methods.  How about a grilled vegetable lasagna? Or grilled veggie salad?  And don't stop at the main course! How about grilling fruit before putting it in individual pre-baked cookie crusts?

Don't have a grill? No worries! As Alton Brown says, "the broiler is nothing but an upside-down grill." With a little aluminum foil you can make your own grill pan, like I did in Keys to Great Eggplant.

If you are travelling or live somewhere with a less-than-standard kitchen, an electric grill can serve as your main cooking appliance. These come in many names at various price points, including:

  • George Foreman Grill
  • Toaster
  • Sandwich Maker
  • Quesadilla Maker
  • Panini Grill

Whatever the name, as long as you take care of the non-stick surface you can make almost anything. The possibilities are limitless. Just get a good plastic or silicon spatula and keep all metal utensils far away. My favorite thing about the electric grill, or sandwich maker, is that it cooks the top and bottom at the same time for faster, more even, cooking. They are especially good for

  • quick-cooking vegetables
  • omelettes
  • french toast
  • pancakes
  • arepas
  • thin fish fillets
  • "closed pizzas" or flat calzones

I even use our 'toaster' to reheat pizza by propping the top open just above the surface of the pizza. I'm sure I will keep thinking of more things to add to this list, but I hope this gets you started grilling or "mock-grilling" whatever the season!

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