Grilled Vegetables (Recipe: Balsamic Grilled Carrots)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Things are really heating up around here – literally. We’ve had more than a dozen days of 100-degree-plus temperatures, and summer only started on Tuesday. In a way, this makes grilling sound more appealing. After all, what’s a little bit of fire when you’re already baking?

However, the grill doesn’t have to be all about meat. While corn on the cob is undoubtedly the side dish of the season, try exploring the rest of summer’s bounty over the flame. Cherry tomato skewers, planks of summer squash, and thick slices of eggplant will liven up any cookout and provide many more nutrients than that bag of potato chips.

I used to hesitate about grilling vegetables out of concern they would slip into the fire. Foil packets are an easy solution, but I find they don’t impart that particular grill flavor we celebrate.

Luckily, in the past few years specialized grill tools have flooded the market, making it simple to grill pizza, jalapeno poppers, dice-cut vegetables, and more. We have a simple basket that can hold enough vegetables for a dinner party and cleans up in a snap.

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More than Mirepoix: Roasted Carrot and Cilantro Soup

September. These are the last fleeting days of summer and the return of the crispness of autumn, not to mention the kids to school!

For me, September brings to mind scarves and warm coats, piles of newly yellowed leaves, wood smoke hanging in the air like unspoken words and an end to the bounty of summer harvests; now is the time to be canning, freezing and otherwise preserving all of the best summer has to offer.

Not to be outdone by it’s summer seasonal counterpart though, there is much that is in season in September, including apples, pears, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, figs and of course, carrots.

Uncomplicated and easy to prepare, carrots are something everyone uses but don’t often think of as much of a star ingredient. They are usually thought of as a side dish or a background flavor, are always at the center of mirepoix (the aromatics forming the base of most soups, stocks and sauces, at least in French cuisine), and are often served raw on top of salads.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that carrots have a sweet flavor profile and when roasted, their natural sugars are enhanced dramatically giving them a caramelized, deep flavor and a wonderful meaty texture when made into purées for soups, such as this one. [Read more…]