Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

When I was in foster care, and the foster family went on their camping vacations, they never took me, saying that I was not strong enough, and would hold the other kids back. They left me with another foster family in town, instead.

When my Mom adopted me in 1983, I told her about this, and she said "I will never take a vacation and leave you behind." And she never did. But she never took me camping, either. She would say to me, "Where do you want to go? Camping or to Williamsburg, VA?" No contest. Try the peanut soup at the King's Arms Tavern. Absolute bliss.

What does this have to do with grilling vegetables? Nothing. But I have to be honest. I have no experience at all sitting on a rock under a tree, tearing my food apart like a savage, while competing for dinner with every insect on the East Coast.

However, we do have this forest. And the parking lot has been cleared and graded. We borrowed a propane grill, because Mom won't own one, being sure that they are dangerous. So we set the evil thing up in the middle of the parking lot, away from the trees, and hoped to goodness that nothing got away from us.

Normally, in the house, we use propane for cooking, but the kitchen range isn't likely to tip over, but I was used to cooking with electricity before we moved here, and I was a long time getting comfortable with propane cooking.

Well, the grill has been returned, but here are some of the things that we tried and can recommend.

Thank Heaven for screens on the windows.


Grilled Vegetables

  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, each cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

In a small bowl, combine the crushed garlic, basil leaves and pepper; mix well. Add the cheese, oil and vinegar, mixing well: set aside.

Arrange the vegetables on the outer edges of the grill. Grill the peppers 12 to 15 minutes and onion 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, turning both once. Brush the vegetables with the reserved cheese mixture during the last 10 minutes of grilling.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Grilled Italian Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise
  • 2 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 16 strips

Combine cheese, oil and Italian seasoning in a container larger enough to place the vegetables in. Place the vegtables in the dish with the mixture and lightly coat both sides. Place the vegetables on the edge of the grill or in a grilling basket and grill for 10-15 minutues. Turn occasionally.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Grilled Tomatoes

  • 3 tablesppons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 medium tomatoes

Mix together the olive oil, basil and parmesan cheese. Brush the mixture on the tomatoes and place them on the outer edge of the grill or in a grilling basket for 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Thai Summer Squash

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely choped ginergroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in quarters
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in quarters

Mix the chicken broth, lime juice, mint, basil, ginger, jalapeno and soy sauce together thoroughly. Put the squash in a baking pan and pour the mixture over them. Let the squash marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Place the squash on the outer edges of the grill or in a grilling basket for 10-15 minutes, turning and brushing 2-4 times with the marinade. When golden brown and tender, remove from the grill.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 2 1/2 hours

Grilled Parmesan Cheese Tomatoes

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the tomatoes in half. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese per cut tomato half. Place the tomatoes on the outer edge of the grill and grill over medium heat or white-edged coals. Grill for 10-15 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Grilled Italian Summer Squash

  • 4 small to medium yellow and green summer squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Slice the squash lengthwise into strips. Mix the olive oil and Italian seasoning on a plate. Coat the squash in the oil seasoning mixture. Place the tomatoes on the outer edge of grill and grill over medium heat or white-edged coals. Grill for 10-15 minutes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Spicy Grilled Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

  • 4 ears corn-on-the-cob, husks and silk removed
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tear off 4 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil long enough to wrap the corn individually. Place one ear of corn in the center of each foil sheet. Brush the corn with melted margarine. Combine the cumin, onion flakes, chili powder and garlic powder; sprinkle evenly over the corn. Season with salt and pepper and wrap the corn in the foil. Cook in a covered grill over medium heat, turning several times until corn is tender, about 20-25 minutes. To serve, remove the corn from the foil and spoon or brush extra seasoning on.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Vegetable Fire 'N Ice

    Wrap a combination of your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables and 1 to 2 ice cubes in heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing room for heat expansion and circulation. Cook the foil packets on a grill rack over medium heat. Turn the packets once, grill 20-25 minutes. The foil holds in heat and the ice cubes provide just enough moisture to steam the vegetables.
  • Yields: 1 serving
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Grilled Vegetable Soup

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 2 red onions -- sliced
  • 2 zucchini -- sliced
  • 2 yellow squash -- sliced
  • 3 red peppers -- roasted and peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic -- chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary -- chopped

Grill all of the vegetables except the garlic. In a food processor, place all of the ingredients, except 1/2 cup of the vegetables. Process until smooth. Season the soup with salt, pepper, lemon and rosemary. Dice the remaining 1/2 cup vegetables. Serve hot or cold with the diced vegetables sprinkled over the top.

  • Yields: Serves 4-6
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Editor's Note: For more on grilling vegetables, check out this month's feature article on Grilling Veggies and this month's Cooking Corner column.