I love barbecues. I love the convival gathering round a fire to talk and eat. I love the way that meat cooked over an open fire tastes distinctly different to meat cooked indoors. I love how my clothes (and the house!) smell of woodsmoke the following morning. I love the lack of pots and pans to wash up. But most of all I love the fact that it is one of the few times that Nick will eagerly take charge and cook without any assistance from me.
Well, up to a point. I still end up making vegetable side dishes and the dessert. So… wouldn’t life be even more perfect if I could devise a way for these to be cooked on the barbecue as well? But wait: I have a cunning plan – I’ll host a themed cooking event and get food bloggers from around the world to send me things other than meat that I can coax Nick into cooking on the barbecue. Hurrah!
So, now that my secret evil masterplan for world domination has been revealed (!), let’s see what delicious non-meat treats my fellow-bloggers have devised to whip on on the barbecue. Without further ado, I give you the round-up for Waiter, there’s something in my… meatless barbecue!
Hands up: who’s ever made a dish inspired by a film or TV show? Hmmm, not too many hands there, but a couple. OK, hands up: who’s made a dish inspired by Spongebob Squarepants? Anybody? Anybody?? Wait! There’s one! Sarina of Trinigourmet brings us the highly original vegetarian Krabby Patty burgers, inspired by the Krusty Krab burger joint in the Spongebob Movie. Genius! And check out those perfect grill marks on the onion 🙂
Back here in England, my fellow-South African and foodblogging newcomer Inge from Vanielje Kitchen goes on a bit of a vegetable bender and brings us her BBQd vegetables extravaganza. Braving an incident involving white linen trousers and the used coals form the last BBQ, and a make-up malfunction brought on by the smoke, she emerges triumphantly with butternut squash “burgers”, baked sweet potato, stuffed butternut squash… to name but a few!
Another blogging newbie is Fresh Adriatic Fish from Split in Croatia. She has undertaken to try and write about the recipes in her parents’ hand-written recipe book and to tell us all a little more about Croatian traditions and cuisine. On the menu today is grilled fresh fish (riba na gradele) and she paints a delightful picture of the lore of the fish BBQ on the Dalmatian coast. And how can you resist a country with a saying like “the fish has to swim three times: in the sea, in the oil, and in the wine”.
Back in Kent, here in England, we meet another blogging expat: Nic from Cherrapeno (a cross between a cherry pepper and a jalapeno, in case you were wondering). I suspect that after the heat of Arizona, the drizzly summer we’ve had has been a bit of a let-down for Nic, but she makes the most of every moment of sun and hauls out the BBQ to make gorgeous grilled cheese, bread and tomato skewers. Perfect for eating straight off the grill as you wait for the main course to cook.
Now we cross the channel and head north to Stockholm to visit my friend Anne of Anne’s Food. Who can resist barbecued corn, still on the cob, dripping with butter? But wait – there’s more you can do with it! Anne presents us with a decidedly un-Swedish-sounding dish: fire-roasted corn salsa with feta cheese. No matter what the heritage of this dish is, it’s certainly a keeper 🙂
And now, ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever on WTSIM, the lovely Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness takes time out from her Blog Party hosting duties in Tennessee to join us for WTSIM – hurrah! Now our Stephanie doesn’t believe in doing things by half, so you get a lot of recipes for your money, including Thai-flavoured grilled salmon salad and grilled potatoes & peppers with cheese. It all looks delicious – do yourself a favour and go check it out.
Synchronicity, n: a meaningful coincidence that has a low probability of occurring. That’s exactly what happened between me and Jenny of Jenny Sais Quois in Massachusets. The very month she decides to go vegan is the month that I decree a meatless theme for WTSIM. Good timing or what?! Although she did not have access to a grill, she took my Option B and made grilled honey lime asparagus on her grill pan. Looks like a plate of heaven to me.
Moving hemispheres now to my home, we pop in to visit Kit at Food & Family. But alas! The braai had to be cancelled due to Cape Town’s notoriously wet winter weather. Sometimes you strike it lucky, sometimes you don’t. But thankfully Kit has a whole archive of barbecued veggie recipes that she gleefully shares with us, like barbecued marrow slices and foil-baked butternut with cinnamon. Plus we get a bonus pic of her hubby wielding the braai tongs 🙂
Back to the USA now where we meet Mansi of Fun and Food in Fremont, California. So… you think you know fusion food? And you think all the possible combinations have been done? Think again, as Mansi redefines fusion food with her Indo-Italian creation: grilled paneer pesto burgers. These are true vegetable patties, featuring no meat substitues, and the whole dish is given an all-American twist by sandwiching the patties between two buns and adding ketchup. Long live fusion cuisine 😉
Heading down south to Atlanta, we pop in to visit the lovely Chris of Melecotte. She doesn’t need much encouragement to haul out the BBQ and treats us to picture-perfect grilled vegetables with a ricotta frittata. If there were a “perfect grilled vegetables” entry in Wikipedia, these would be included 🙂 Check out the clever way of marinating the vegetables before grilling them!
Closer to home, my friend Pille of Nami-Nami in Tallin, Estonia reinvents a dish I remember from childhood. But whereas the onions we used to braai were just wrapped in foil and tossed in the coals, Pille’s roasted onions with blue cheese and thyme is an altogether classier affair. I can just imagine the sweetness of roasted onions with the tang of blue cheese – delicious!
Switching hemispheres again we’re back in Australia – this time with the talented Haalo from Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once. She comes over all cheesy and uses one of my all-time favourite dairy ingredients: halloumi cheese! Yes folks, it’s the tangy Cypriot cheese that you can bake, grill or fry and it simply won’t melt. It just goes delightfully squeaky 😉 Haalo’s grilled halloumi salad had my mouth watering: just look at those perfect grill marks.
Meanwhile back in Berkeley, California, Marta of An Italian in the US is barbecuing up a storm, Italian style. She shows off her panini grill that can not only make panini but will also give you vegetables with perfect grill marks – hurrah! Once the grilling is done she transforms her vegetables into grilled veggie and tofu bruschette with a mango and tomatillo salsa. Wow!
Over on the East Coast of the US, we have another newcomer to this event: Ma Miller from The Miller Melting Pot. Welcome! She fires up the George Forman grill and gives us not one but two dishes: rosemary-garlic-lime grilled tilapia with tofu skewers. Looks fantastic, Ma – glad you could join us 🙂
Down south – and I mean way south – in Melbourne, Johanna of the wonderfully named Green Gourmet Giraffe is making burgers. Her beggar’s burgers owe their name to the fact that the vegetables from which they are made were given to her and she did not specifically choose them – and as we know, beggars can’t be choosers! But she finds that they are a great wy to use up Swiss chard/silverbeet leaves. There’s also a great explanation on the differences between preparing to cook a vegetarian vs. a carnivorous barbecue which is well worth the read. Thanks Johanna!
Staying in Melbourne, we meet up with my friend I-Ling of Feed me! I’m hungry! Despite the lack of guests, she decides to throw caution to the wind and do a barbecue for one because the Spring weather is just so… well, Springy! She treats us to sumac & cilantro prawn skewers and grilled asparagus – the one with lime cilantro and wasabi butter had me drooling on the keyboard. Her photographs are beautiful too and just look at the daffodils :o)
Back to the USA (near Lake Ontario, so I hear!) to see the lovely Elizabeth of Blog from Our Kitchen, who barbecued just before flying off on holiday, chiefly so that she would have leftovers to take along and eat in lieu of aeroplane food – good thinking! She whips up potatoes, peppers and rapini on the barbecue and discreetly hides the chicken behind a passing bread basket – LOL! And the next day, they were the envy of the plane with their grilled veggie sandwiches 🙂
Much closer to home here in London, my dear friend Johanna, The Passionate Cook, treats us to little delicacies that I have on occasion sampled at her house: mozzarella and chile stuffed limes. It’s all a matter of balance: you feel virtuous because you’re not eating carcinogen-containing charred meat; but you feel guilty about the unadulterated, sinful pleasure of bubbly cheese. Voila – a balanced meal!
And of course, you have me, the Cooksister – your host! When I went to a good friend’s rooftop barbecue last month, I already knew that we would have plenty of meat in the form of his delectable lamb sosaties. But I also knew that it had been a long time since I’d had one of my favourite barbecues vegetables: butternut stuffed with spinach and feta, roasted among the coals. Trust me, it was a hit with people who would never dream of becoming vegetarian 😉
I have heard of doing various fruits on the barbecue, but trust the lovely Susan of Food Blogga in San Diego to come up with something not only original but also gorgeous. She first regales us of her father’s philisophy on food (size realyl does matter!) and then presents us with luscious-looking grilled watermelon slices with a honey-lime syrup. A feast for the senses!
Like most good mothers do, my mother attempted to feed me mashed banana as one of the first solid foods I ever ate. Sadly, I did not take to them. If I had, though, one of the first things I would make would be these fantastic barbecued bananas with Demerara sugar and whipped cream submitted by Holler of Tinned Tomatoes in Scotland. They cook in their own skins, so no mess, no fuss – and who can resist caramelised fruit?
Staying with the tropical theme but back across the Atlantic in northern California, Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms is inspired by the grilled bananas that her Sweetie made for her. She presents us with grilled tropical fruit over ice cream with coconut. Who needs chocolate when you can have fruity desserts like this? I’m not a huge banana fan, but gently caramelized pineapple sinking slowly in melty ice cream… [groan of pleasure, cue “i’ll have what she’s having” scene] :o)
A new BritBlog that I discovered this WTSIM was June’s Thyme for Food, a delightful blog focusing on her native Cuban cuisine. June is quite new to the blogosphere and this is her first entry for WTSIM – and it’s a corker. She wows us with banana and strawberry kebabs with a honey-cinnamon syrup. Although these were done on a grill pan, they would work equally well on a BBQ grill, and you simply have to see her gorgeous pictures. Welcome, June!
And that, as they say in the movies, is that folks. I hope people find this roundup to be a useful repository of vegetarian (or at least non-meat) barbecue ideas. A number of people have e-mailed me to say that they are very excited about the theme and are looking forward to inspiration – and I doubt that they will be disappointed. So I’ll sign off until next month when Johanna will be your charming hostess.
Happy meatless grilling!