Monday, May 14, 2012

Mangia: grilled veggies

Have you all been wondering where I am? Ugh, you and me both. Physically, I know right where I am, but since Friday afternoon I've been wholly bowled over by a really, really bad flu/tonsillitis/ear infection. I was literally standing in line at Publix on Friday and suddenly my purse weighed 200 pounds and I wanted to lie down on the floor and sleep. And it's been a miserable edition of that ever since. But I'm back (sort of), better than ever (no, not really), and I wanted to share with you one of my straight up favourite recipes, especially now that it's grilling season.

If there's one thing I've learned from The Biggest Loser, it's that grilling is a seriously good thing. You can grill just about anything (grilled pasta is amazing!), and charcoal (or even gas) gives food an amazing flavour without adding sugar or fat or sodium or any of that mess. You can completely control the additives, and even just a chicken breast on the grill has awesome taste so you don't even need it! This recipe in particular is also vegetarian/vegan friendly and delicious as a side.

Balsamic onions and mushrooms
Serves 4ish

One large onion
6-8 white mushrooms (or however many you want)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I like ground peppercorns but straight up black pepper works too!)
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 c balsamic vinegar

Chop your onion into thin slices. I recommend vidalia onions if you can get them because they don't cause your eyes to tear as much. Or you can chop them underwater. Combine the balsamic vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl large enough to hold all your chopped vegetables. Beat the mix with a whisk for a few seconds so the salt dissolves, then put the mushrooms and onions in there. Let it sit for a few minutes so the veggies have time to absorb the marinade.

I highly recommend using a grilling tray like this one for anything small enough that you may worry about losing food to the flames. My mom just bought this basket and it's already revolutionized the way I grill! Once your grill is on and the basket is as hot as the grates, put your veggies in the tray. Save the marinade.

While the onions and mushrooms grill, ladle the marinade every couple of minutes over the veggies. With the mushrooms in particular, I like to grill them cap side down, so I can pour some marinade into the stem area. I also recommend not separating the onion rings and letting them come apart while they cook--if they're separate, they'll cook much faster than the mushrooms do.

Looks good, right? You'll know the onions are done when they wiggle and bend and don't maintain a firm circular shape, and you'll know the mushrooms are done when they're squishy and dark. Should be about 10 minutes on medium heat, so if you're grilling chicken, put the chicken on first. If you're grilling steak, put the veggies on first. Discard any leftover marinade and dump your veggies into a bowl...

...and eat it up! OM NOM NOM. I usually do double time with the balsamic marinade by marinading chicken in it, and then I'll top the chicken with blue cheese or brie. Perfect with a side of cucumber salad!

With any luck, I'll be back on Wednesday with outfit posts. Hopefully sooner--I was at the outlet mall on Thursday and found a couple really adorable skirts I want to share. (I think I either got sick from the mall or from a patron at work--fortunately I'm patient zero and I've stayed home so hopefully this won't spread at the library.) I'm also considering a 30 for 30 for the month of June. I feel up for a challenge. Anyone else interested?

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