Summertime aka Grilling Season has arrived, and all around the country the smell of barbequed food wafts through neighborhoods as Americans take their kitchens into the Great Outdoors.
Many Americans that are concerned about their health are cutting back on processed meats like hot dogs and heavy red meats like hamburgers -- traditional grilling superstars. However, that empty spot on your grill won't go to waste; there are all types of foods that you can grill which you might not have even thought of yet!
If you don't have a big backyard grill, you can use a heavy grilling pan or even a George Foreman grill to achieve similar results.
At your next barbeque, give the following items a try and impress guests with your unique grilling perspective:
1. Lettuce -- Pick Romaine lettuce for this grilled salad and match it with salt, pepper and fresh slices of Parmesan cheese. Remove the leafy outer layers of the lettuce to reveal the heart of Romaine and slice lengthwise in half. Dust with salt, pepper and brush with olive oil. Place on the grill for two to three minutes, turning once (you may lose a few leaves). Serve with fresh Parmesan and garlic dressing, and enjoy your savory salad!
2. Stone Fruit -- Peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots turn juicy when grilled and take on a delicious smoky crust that pairs well with fresh Greek yogurt for an easy summer dessert. Cut your fruits in half, remove pits and brush each side with olive oil. Grill cut side down for two to four minutes or until tender.
3. Avocado -- Creamy and delicious, grilled avocado goes great with fresh tomato salsa. Simply cut an avocado in half and remove the pit. Brush lightly with a combination of olive oil and lime juice, and cook flesh-side down for five to seven minutes on a hot grill.
4. Oysters -- Select the freshest oysters you can find and toss them onto the hot grill, no shucking necessary. When the oysters are done cooking, they'll pop open to let you know. Serve with fresh lemon, butter and a touch of wasabi, and enjoy immediately.
6. Cake -- Make it easy on yourself and use pre-made cake. Heavier desserts like pound cake grill best; just slice into one-inch pieces and add to a warm grill for four minutes. Serve as shortcake with warm fruit compote and fresh whipping cream.
7. Tofu -- Grill tofu to give it a smoky and savory flavor. Cut firm tofu into one-inch slices, marinate in your favorite sweet & sour teriyaki sauce, and then grill for about five minutes on each side. Serve with a spicy sauce next to a chopped green salad.
8. Pineapple -- Cut a fresh pineapple into chunks and grill in whole pieces or on a kabob stick for four to five minutes. For a decadent appetizer, wrap each small chunk with half a slice of nitrite-free bacon before grilling.
9. Pizza -- Grilled pizza is fun and easy to make. Start by making your own dough or buying pre-made at the store. Shape the dough into small six-inch round patties and throw onto a warm grill, brushing the tops lightly with olive oil. After two to three minutes, flip the dough and brush the other side with olive oil. Now crown the dough with your favorite pizza toppings and let it cook for a few more minutes. Enjoy your personal grilled pizza!
10. Figs -- Brush fresh figs with olive oil and dust with fresh rosemary, then toss onto the grill for three to four minutes for a fantastic dessert or appetizer. Take your grilled figs up a notch by first piping soft goat cheese into the middle before you grill.
Written by Shilo Urban
Image courtesy of Flickr user mccun934.