Back to the Kitchen: Summer Grilled Vegetables & lighter fare

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gwen-upper110x110BY GWEN KENNEALLY

It seems that as much of a foodie that I am I just can’t work up an appetite in this summer heat. Sometimes when the sun goes down I just want to grab some wine cheese and crusty bread.  Hummus and roasted garlic are also nice to put out with fresh vegetables as well.  Even though I want to eat a little lighter I still really crave bold flavors. Here are some great ways to tease your taste buds and have a light summer meal.



2-cups (cooked or can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

3 cloves garlic, peeled

6-8 tablespoons lemon juice

1-teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Tahiti (sesame seed butter)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4-teaspoon cumin

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a food processor finely chop the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth, stopping the machine twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a bowl and serve with veggies and pita bread.

Roasted Garlic

6 whole heads garlic

1/2-cup olive oil

Salt/ freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.Trim the points of the heads of garlic exposing the tops of the cloves. Place the heads together in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 250 and roast 1 hour more. Serve the garlic with crusty bread and assorted cheeses. One of life’s most simple pleasures!

Marinated Red Peppers

12 large red bell peppers

1/4-cup olive oil

6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Turn all gas burners on high. Place peppers directly on flame watching very carefully, Turn until the entire pepper is a burnt a bluish, black color. Place in plastic bag for 15 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together oil, garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar. Under cold water rub the skin off and slice into strips. Loosely layer in a bowl drizzling with oil mixture. Serve with crusty bread, in salads or you can make a soup.

Grilled Vegetable Platter

3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved

3 yellow squash sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 Japanese Eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed

12 green onions

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1-cup goats cheese, crumbled

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. Meanwhile whisk 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle with goat’s cheese and serve.

Corn On The Cob With Chile Lime Butter

8 ears corn-on-the-cob

1/2-cup butter, softened

1-tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh limejuice

1/2-teaspoon chili powder

In a small mixing bowl, cream the butter with the honey, limejuice and chili powder. Leftovers may be refrigerated, tightly covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks. Peel one side of cornhusk away from cob without removing completely and loosen remaining husk. Do not remove silk. Brush butter mixture over kernels and smooth back husk to original shape. Twist open end to close. Prepare grill. Place corn directly onto coals. Cover grill with lid or foil tent. Cook two to three minutes. Test. If not done, turn and roast another two minutes. The outside husk will be charred. To serve, strip off husks and silk.

Caribbean Chicken with Avocado Relish

5 pounds Chicken

(12 small pieces or 6 large


3 Cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 3 Oranges

1 cup Peanut oil

1 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1-cup cilantro leaves

Peel the garlic and put in food processor work bowl. Squeeze in 1 cup orange juice and remaining marinade ingredients; process until pureed; transfer to a Heavy Bag rinse chicken, pat dry and add to marinade insuring chicken is covered completely; cover and refrigerate 12 hours or up to 2 days. Remove chicken from marinade and let drain; grill turning once during cooking until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a skewer, about ten minutes. Transfer chicken to serving plate; spoon 1/4 cup relish along side chicken.

Avocado Relish

1 large tomato, diced

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

1 Red onion, diced

2 Clove garlic, minced

3 Scallions, thinly sliced

1 Jalapeno seeded and minced

1 Lime

1 Orange

1/2 bunch cilantro, minced cilantro

Splash red-pepper sauce

Splash   Worcestershire sauce

Salt & freshly ground black

Pepper to taste

Put tomato and avocado in medium bowl; squeeze lime and orange juices; add remaining ingredients; mix well and set aside.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. Check out her website and blog and She wrote for the Sun Community Newspapers.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.