Monday, July 12, 2010

Grilled Broccoli

During the long, gradual, uphill climb, in 95 degree+ heat last week, I thought to myself, “you asked for this.”  I had been yearning for, dreaming about, a hot summer day.  A day when the wind blew warm in the afternoon and the sweat on my skin from biking home wasn’t that bittersweet beaded sweat, gone almost as quickly as it started, but one that was so undeniably fierce,  it came down in little rivulets off my face and arms. 

This was definitely one of those days.

As I passed the Hostess Wonder Bread Outlet, and the wind became unforgiving, I felt a mix of satisfaction and pain.  And, to take my mind off of my physical anguish, I began creating smoothie flavors and ingredient combinations in my imagination.  Frozen bananas, coconut milk, blueberries, with a dash of cinnamon?  Frozen bananas, cream, coconut milk, strawberries, and a long, slow drizzle of honey?

When I got home, the crockpot was filled with Karina’s Rustic Chicken Mediterranean Soup and the house smelled undeniably awesome (really, if you haven‘t tried this yet, DO IT.  You won‘t be sorry).  I set to work with the blender, some frozen bananas, half & half, coconut milk, and sugar.  I then poured the mixture into the ice cream maker and set it to churn while I sat a the kitchen table to catch up with some of my favorite food bloggers (the ice cream later became a base for the banana & strawberry smoothie). 

Shauna (aka The Gluten Free Girl), queen of inspiration and asker of great questions, was asking readers when cooking from scratch became easier or more fun.  I looked across the kitchen.  Amazing soup simmering in the crock pot and homemade ice cream churning away… no question about it, cooking from scratch became more fun and a heck of a lot easier when I started taking advantage of the local ingredients, in season.  It is amazing how much better the food tastes. 

Then there are all of these great people online sharing their recipes and waxing poetic about favorite vegetables and childhood food memories.  I can’t help but be inspired by how passionately some talk of food and how creatively some pair flavors, in ways you never thought possible.

Especially among the gluten free set, and the gluten free and vegan set, and the entirely grain free set, who don’t let any of their dietary “restrictions” feel like restrictions, but rather make them reasons to live.  In the process, they create some of the most delicious, perfect recipes, and they drop morsels of life lessons in their stories, from which we all benefit.

This great food love of mine has taken me down the road of home gardening, and organic home gardening at that -- bugs and all -- and it has been an adventure to say the least.  There is no better education than experience; I can tell you life has proven this to me over and over again.  We are beginning to really harvest our vegetables - our broccoli turned out beautiful, though we lost quite a bit of it to the bugs. 

This is what we did with some of the good bunches - grilled in foil packets.

Grilled broccoli
This is less a recipe and more a method, so I’ll list what you need and what you need to do.

Here is what you need:
Broccoli, cleaned, sliced into long spears
Fresh or dried thyme
Granulated garlic
Sea salt
Lemon juice
Aluminum foil squares

Here is what you do:
Arrange the broccoli in the center of the foil square like the picture above
Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.  Dot the top with butter.
Fold the sides up to meet in the middle and fold the seam over so that no butter can leak out when it melts.  Now you have a rectangle, with two ends open.  Roll each open end of the foil until you reach the broccoli and make sure everything is good and sealed.

Grill on a hot grill (400-500 degrees) for about 10 minutes, turning once.  Open the packets carefully and empty the contents onto a plate or into a bowl.  Toss with additional butter if desired and sprinkle with lemon juice.

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