I enjoy being in the kitchen. There is something about a meal that brings everyone together and I love making meals for people. In Charlotte, I had a decent sized kitchen and open living space so I would frequently invite friends over for dinners, brunches, and of course, pizza and wine. In New York, my kitchen was large by New York young adult apartment standards but it really could only accommodate one person and the living room was separate so not ideal for entertaining not that anyone in New York hangs out at each other's apartments which was frustrating for my large collection of drinkware. I don't have any friends to host yet in Nashville but am hoping for more dinner parties like Charlotte. One thing I haven't been able to do at any of my apartments and certainly can't do in Nashville is grill which is why I've been maximizing every opportunity to fire up the grill this summer at my parent's house.
I love the grill because it adds so much flavor while simultaneously leaving zero mess to clean up post meal. I've been grabbing some protein (chicken or turkey sausage) and a few vegetables and throwing them on the grill for delicious weeknight meals that have to be healthier than the Chick Fil A drive thru. Speaking of vegetables, I have some truly exciting news to share. I now eat zucchini and not in the let me take a small piece and hide it in this mound of other things bite or I'll take a bite and then down an entire glass of water to hide the flavor but actually eating zucchini all by itself and I haven't died yet so I think this is a good sign for my hopes of becoming a vegetable eater.
Another thing I am obsessed with this summer (as is Pinterest) corn. I'm not sure there are any real health benefits to eating corn but it has to be better than french fries, right? We recently went out to eat and I debated ordering the corn and ricotta ravioli appetizer, followed by the summer corn chowder soup, and topping it off with the sweet corn risotto as my meal. I opted against this strategy but man, doesn't that sound delicious?
If you follow my story on Instagram, you can see that I've been posting lots of pictures and videos of my creations to my story so I thought I would share a few favorites here.
I picked up a vegetable grill basket from Target for $8. I tried to find it online to share the link but it appears to only be available in-store. It was the Room Essentials brand so nothing fancy but it seems to be doing the trick.
First, I'll cut up whatever vegetables I purchased and put them in a bowl. I found that the red potatoes take longer to cook so I tried cutting the potatoes in 16 pieces and that seemed to be a good size. Other than that, I've done peppers, onions, tomatoes, and my new summer favorite, zucchini. Once in the bowl, I add 1-2 tbs of olive oil depending on how much I have in the bowl (it all drips to the bottom so I don't think that's too important) and then I add some seasoning. My dad loves salt so to my dismay I usually add some salt and then toss in some pepper, oregano, garlic, and parsley and mix in with the oils and let it sit. I've let it sit for 10 minutes or a few hours. Once the grill is up and flaming, I scoop the vegetables into the basket and grill away for 15-20 minutes. For the corn, I've been able to just place it on the grill and slowly rotate so that all the sides have a nice grill marks and I cook whatever protein (typically chicken) until it's done. Theres minimal clean up and I think the meal is so flavorful.
Another favorite is this summer corn, tomato, and feta salad. I've made this twice once on the grill and once using the skillet on the stove and HIGHLY recommend using the grill. It's amazingly delicious. This summer cavatelli doesn't require the grill but it does call for zucchini so as a new found consumer of the vegetable, I enjoyed this dish.
Summer away my friends. Soon enough, it will be fall and we will be all pumpkin everything.