Labor Day grilling ideas… using veggies from the garden!

Now is the time that most of us have more tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini coming from our gardens than we know what to do with…Well, you’re in luck-  I found a couple of tasty recipes for you to try at your Labor Day BBQs!

I plan to cook these this weekend:

Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Roll-Ups:

Ingredients:

3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips*
Olive oil
3 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, well drained
Heaping 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

*To slice zucchini for roll-ups, trim off both ends. Then even the rounded long sides by trimming just a little bit off. Cut the remainder lengthwise.

Instructions: Heat a gas grill to high. Brush both sides of the zucchini with olive oil and grill with the grill cover down, until browned and limp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the grilled zucchini to a cooling rack to keep them from steaming as they cool.

In a bowl, combine the goat cheese, salt, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, and thyme. Spread 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling thinly over one side of each grilled zucchini strip (use a mini spatula or your fingers to spread). Roll up the zucchini (not too tightly; this is more like folding), and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Refrigerate if not using within an hour, but bring back to room temperature before broiling. Heat the broiler. Sprinkle with a little grated Parmigiano and brown under the broiler, about 1 minute.

Yield: 8 to 10 roll-ups

Recipe: http://www.ochef.com


Grilled Eggplant Stacks

My brother and his wife made this recipe for a family dinner a few weeks ago & it was absolutely delicious.  They actually used goat cheese, instead of mozzarella.  Either cheese works.

Ingredients: 2 small (Italian) eggplant, trimmed and cut into 3/8-inch round slices (to yield about 24 pieces), grilled
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
3 to 4 oz. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, drained well on paper towels (or 1 package goat cheese)

Salt
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions: Lay the grilled eggplant slices in one layer on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet OR grill on the grill. Spread each slice with a little pesto (about 1/4 tsp.) and top every other slice with a piece of mozzarella or goat cheeese. Sprinkle salt on the cheese and top with the other eggplant slice. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the sandwiches with the grated parmigiano and heat until warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Recipe from: http://www.finecooking.com

Last, but certainly not least…Grilled Pizza!

Honestly, it is all about the temperature of your grill.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  It is best medium-hot.  Too hot will char the bottom & too cool will take foreeeever.  Try to keep the lid on for as long as possible.  The other key to a successful grilled pizza is how thick/thin your crust is.  Aim for a little more on the thick side, unless you really like a crispy crust.  It’s also very important to cook the crust  first (until almost golden brown), before you put on the toppings or you’ll have a very mooshy pizza!

Instructions: break off a piece of room-temperature dough (I honestly usually just buy it from the store) a little over the size of your fist & stretch it out evenly in a circle, about 10-12 inches (depending on how big your fist is!) Good to stretch it on a surface with a little bit of flour to prevent sticking on the grill.  Brush olive oil generously over one side of the dough with a pastry brush.

-Preheat the grill

-Immediately place the dough (oiled side down) on the grill (don’t cover) and cook until golden brown (about 1-1.5 minutes) & lather olive oil on exposed side (careful not to drip on coals).  Once cooked, flip with wooden tongs or  wooden peels (should come off easily, so don’t force) & cook other side for 1-1.5 minutes.

-Take the dough off the grill & put on any toppings that suit your fancy.  I used heirloom cherry tomatoes (in season)- cut in half, goat cheese (notice a pattern…I love goat cheese), caramelized onions, fresh sliced basil, and slices of chicken in a garlic oil sauce.  Try to pre-cook any toppings that need to be fully cooked, as it will only be on the grill to melt cheese/warm.

-Once you put all your toppings on the pizza, put it back on the grill COVERED for about 2 minutes (depending on how much stuff you have & how hot your grill is).  Once fully cooked, slice, serve & enjoy!

Here is my creation (pre-grilling…I was too excited to eat it once it was fully cooked to get a “post” picture):

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Filed under Recipes: Main Dishes

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