Spring has finally (!) arrived here in the DC area and this weekend we took full advantage of the nice weather and bright sunshine to garden and cook on the grill. The grill is a relatively new addition to our lives. We have had it for about two years and I am so glad that we do! There is really nothing like a meal full of grilled foods—even on the busiest of days it adds a feeling of relaxation that I just love.
But when I first got the grill I was pretty terrified about using it. It was a heat source I didn’t know (How hot was it going to get? How responsive would it be?) and it involved utilizing techniques I wasn’t familiar with (and am still mastering). Even now, two years later, each time I grill there is a little bit of anxiety. The way I decided to overcome this anxiety was to focus on mastering grilling vegetables. For me, this felt like an easier entry point into the world of grilling. That way, even if I burned everything up, I wouldn’t have wasted a ton of money.
I think that this can be a good way to enter into cooking overall. If you aren’t confident in the kitchen or in some particular type of cooking that you wish you could do, try taking on a smaller project in which you can become confident. For baking, this could be making muffins or breads. For meats, it might be starting with a roast chicken or baked chicken thighs. For pasta, it might be a quick veggie sauce or mac n cheese. For a specific ethnic food, it might be one simple dish that exposes you to the spices and herbs of the culture. Then, as you gain confidence, you experiment, try new recipes, and build your repertoire. Pretty soon you’ll be making things you never thought possible!
So here’s how I got started with grilling vegetables. It couldn’t be easier, but holy cow does it taste amazing! I made a huge platter of these on Sunday for my son’s family birthday party and they were the first thing gone. These are delicious on their own, in salads, and in sandwiches.
- Vegetables that you want to grill (bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and summer squashes are some of our favorites)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the grill to 450.
- Slice the vegetables such as eggplant, squashes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to ¼-½ inch thick. Slice bell peppers into thick strips, about 1-inch wide.
- Put vegetable pieces into a large ziploc bag. Pour in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake well to make sure all the vegetables are coated.
- When the vegetables are prepped, turn the grill down to 400 or so and place the vegetables on the grill. Close the grill to keep in the heat.
- Set your timer for 2 minutes. When your timer goes off, check the bottom sides for charring (you want nice, dark marks on them). If they are ready, flip and set for another 2 minutes. If they need more time, give them another minute and check again.
- Once you have flipped them, set your timer for the same amount of time you grilled them on the first side. When timer is done, remove the veggies from the heat and serve.