Lit grill (from Wikipedia commons)
There’s nothing quite like grilling out, and one recipe that has turned asparagus-haters into asparagus-lovers in my family is grilled balsamic asparagus. There are quite a few tasty yet simple variations available online. Mine is as follows; amounts are determined by the amount of the veggie you are making. The coriander provides a citrus-y zing that goes well with the balsamic.
This recipe is easy to make in a skillet/wok, though flame grilling provides a better flavor, IMHO.
To prepare the spears, it’s not required to trim them with a knife or peel them. You can snap the spear in two towards the bottom (the more fibrous part will separate from the more tender part naturally).
Grilled Balsamic Asparagus
Bunch(es) of fresh asparagus spears
Olive or vegetable oil
Coriander (crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle or use powdered coriander)
Rinse and prepare asparagus (as noted above). Put all ingredients into a sealable plastic bag and set in a baking pan (in case the bag leaks). Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour, mixing at least once or twice, so all spears sit in the mixture/are coated well. Grill until the spears are cooked to desired doneness, rotating as needed. (I prefer to cook them until darker green, but not so much that they are mushy.) Serve hot.
(And watch for grill flare-ups due to the oil; make sure to grill safe!)
We might have lost some Saturday morning cartoons, but one show not to miss on Saturday mornings is Recipe Rehab on CBS. Above is the promotional clip from today’s Chicken Pot Pie episode. The basic synopsis revolves around transforming an enjoyed but unhealthy family recipe (high amounts of fat, salt, using prepackaged goods, preservatives, and/or lack of fresh vegetables, etc.) The half hour show pits two chefs against each other in a friendly, yet competitive game to create an improved version of the dish utilizing the essence of the original. The new meals are prepared by the family, and rated in several categories like ease of preparation and taste. A nutritionist also provides one of the scores. Often, the chefs will re-imagine the presentation of the dish along with finding ways to impart flavor through additional ingredients, spices, and fresh vegetables. If the show is not on your station, or you can’t otherwise watch, episodes and recipes are available online. It’s difficult to not get hungry much too early in the morning, even after breakfast! I’d highly recommend checking it out as a way to think about eating healthy. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for your family, it exhibits some excellent ideas about swapping ingredients for the better and encouraging all members of the family to participate in meal making and cooking.
Photograph from recipe
As I’m writing this, my wife and I are finishing up applesauce and baking butternut squash for butternut squash risotto for Thanksgiving. Risotto is one of my favorite thing to make, given that the recipe is so versatile with add-in ingredients. I especially enjoyed my mother-in-law’s response upon tasting it- “How can we make our rice taste like this?” I will often make it with portabellas (with some modifications), but this version with butternut squash is another of my favorites. I love the flavor of butternut squash, as it can savory or slightly sweet, depending on how it’s made. I have made this recipe previously, to excellent results. It doesn’t call for other herbs or spices other than salt and pepper, but it can easily be adjusted. I use a little cinnamon and nutmeg to add a little spice to the recipe. Butternut squash risotto is a nice alternative to cheesy potatoes (though I love cheesy potatoes, as well!) and adds in an extra vegetable with the starch. Happy Thanksgiving!