Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fresh Vegetables~




August has arrived with traditional heat, making it the most enjoyable month for cookouts and lake side activities. The vegetable gardens are at their zenith so now is the time to eat all the fresh produce available... your body will be grateful for the cleansing. Since most vegetables are 70% to 90% water, they are also a perfect way to loose unwanted pounds. If you do not have your own garden, there are many Farmers Markets where you can purchase home-grown produce. Supporting local vegetable growers should be a civic duty lest they stop planting and harvesting for us.

This is the time of year that the back yard grill is the best place to cook dinner. Squash, corn, and tomatoes are making their appearance in the garden. Since squash is such an over achiever, it is always a challenge to find new ways to prepare it so this year we’ve grilled it after dipping it in butter. Once it becomes slightly crisp, remove it from the fire and sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese. In fact corn is also easily grilled if wrapped in foil first.

Remember the shish-kebobs that were popular in the 1970’s? They still sell the little wooden skewers at the grocery store quite inexpensively. A collection from the garden can be arranged and grilled with the addition of your choice of meat. Onions, peppers, little new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and squash, with a little pineapple added for additional flavor, make a wonderful dinner and will not heat up the kitchen.

My parent’s favorite marinade makes any meat choice tasty. They mixed ½ cup red wine, 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 clove garlic (pressed), ½ cup salad oil, ½ tsp. salt, 2 tbs. Ketchup, 1 tbs. sugar, 1 tbs. Vinegar, and ½ tsp cut Rosemary. Then they added any meat cut into squares and let it marinate for several hours. Even inexpensive cuts of beef become tender and delicious when allowed to soak up this combination of flavors.

Alternate the meat with the vegetables on the skewer, broil while turning frequently and basting with the leftover marinade. Not only is this a delicious and complete outdoor meal, but it is also fun if you allow individuals to assemble their own skewer in the combinations of their choice. Plus cleanup is easy; toss the skewers!