Monday, May 23, 2011

The Season of Grilling

With summer quickly approaching, pool parties and BBQ's are on the mind. Along with these sun and fun events come heavy use of the outdoor grill. While most people assume the grill is meant for meat, I have other plans for our summer grill. Don't get me wrong, I have had my far share of grilled chicken in the past but with my new veggie-centric diet, I wanted to  test out a different idea, tofu and veggie kebabs. This meal did not disappoint. The best part about it is that I know for future pool parties and BBQs it will travel well and its easy enough to ask the day's grill-mister to add a skewer or two to the grill while he is cooking the meat. Another good find was black japonica rice. I had heard it mentioned is some of my regular food blogs, then saw it at my local grocery and was intrigued. Not only does it make a beautiful addition to the plate, it has a nutty, mushroom like flavor and is chalked full of "purple" antioxidants that you would get from items such as acai berry, grapes, and blueberries. Plan ahead for this rice as it takes up to an hour to make.

Tofu and Veggie kebabs w/ yogurt curry dip and black Japonica rice

Tofu and Veggie Kebabs
-Soak wooden skewers in water
-Chop and Mix your veggies of choice in a bowl. Try to focus on in-season veggies. For me this meant zucchini, onions and cherry tomatos from the garden, mushrooms and sweet peppers. Eggplant is also an excellent choice.
*I also think fruits would make excellent additions i.e. peaches, apples, pineapples.
-Add your favorite all natural, preservative free marinade/dressing to veggie bowl and toss to coat, then set aside.
-In a shallow pan, add a little of your marinade and a little high burn point oil (I used sunflower, do not use Olive Oil, it has a very low burn point). Turn heat on medium to high.
-Slice organic extra firm tofu into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and plot dry with paper towel.
*always buy organic tofu!
-When oil is hot, add tofu with tongs. Let sit till slightly brown then flip to other side and do the same.
-Place on paper towels to drain oil.
-When slightly cooled,cut into chunks for skewers.
*you need to fry tofu a bit to give it extra firmness for the grill and skewers.
-Arrange veggies and tofu on skewers. I chose to separate tofu but this is not necessary.
-Grill, turning occasionally until all is cooked to your preference.

Yogurt Curry Dip
This is a simple condiment to throw together. I would also recommend making a cucumber, mint, yogurt dip too, if you have the ingredients. I would imagine to make a smoky BBQ-ish sauce you could add chipolte peppers/power to yogurt as well.
-Mix plan 2 parts Greek yogurt to 1 part Tahini Sauce and add Curry powder and salt to preference. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Black Japonica Rice
-I wanted my rice to have a richer flavor so I followed the directions on the back but added a spoonful of "Better than Bullion" to the water. I did not add butter while it was cooking and instead added a scoopful of Ghee right before fluffing the rice.

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