From garden to table: Local authors provide fresh ideas for grilling
With the summer grilling and gardening season in full swing, fresh vegetables and backyard barbecuing are weekend staples. You've probably already fired up the grill and had your first cookout of the season. Did you go with the good old standby of hotdogs and burgers? Try mixing things up this summer with garden-fresh vegetables and fruits.
If you are looking to host your best-ever cookout or just need some inspiration, before firing up the grill, consider purchasing the latest book by local authors Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, The Gardener & the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill, a collection of mouth-watering recipes and ideas especially for garden and grill lovers alike.
Known affectionately as the “BBQ Queens,” these ladies are experts on grilling and barbecuing and have written a combined 20 books together to prove it. Both are inspired by Julia Child and are as bubbly as the sparkling wine you should drink with their inspiring recipes. What started out as a friendly rivalry (both were writing Kansas City restaurant cookbooks) has turned into a unique and successful cookbook-authoring partnership lasting 20 years.
The tiara-wearing duo have appeared on Food Network, DIY Network, and Better Homes and Garden TV, and have collaborated together on books including 300 Big and Bold Barbeque Recipes, Weeknight Grilling and BBQ Bash. In addition to being authors, Adler and Fertig have hosted cooking classes teaching more than 75,000 students, and appeared in numerous magazines and television programs throughout the country, searing their footprint as grilling and smoking experts.
In their 13th book together, Adler and Fertig remind us about the plethora of fresh vegetables from our gardens that can pack a punch when roasted on the grill. Their collection of seasonal garden-to-grill-to-fork recipes provides grill-inspired ideas and boasts more than 100 vegetarian options. You can grill an entire meal for one or 20 with recipes for seasonings, appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, flatbreads, soup, salad, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruit desserts.
In addition to 125 recipes, Adler and Fertig provide tips for gardening and grilling with an Asian, Mediterranean and Italian accent, and with leftovers; creating flavored butters; container gardening; and creating a “griller’s pantry” of sauces and rubs. The book is sure to inspire you to grill year-round with recipes like Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears, Blackened Fish Po’Boy with Grilled Green Onion Mayonnaise, Plank-Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts, Blackened Beef with Thai Chile Noodles and Baby Bok Choy, and Warm Honeyed Blackberries with Grilled Pound Cake.
Even Adler and Fertig have their favorites they like to throw on the grill. Adler’s favorite dish? High-Heat Grilled Romaine paired with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette. Fertig prefers zucchini and yellow summer squash seasoned to perfection.
You can find The Gardener & the Grill in Kansas City at Pryde's Wesport, The Kansas City Store, Kansas City BBQ Store, A Thyme for Everything, and Kitchen Thyme, and nationally at Barnes & Noble, Williams Sonoma, and Anthropologie.
So clean off the grill, invite some friends over and have a summer cocktail while enjoying local, flavor-inspired recipes. And in the words of Fertig, “Enjoy and make it fun. Grilling is really easier than it seems.”
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tips from BBQ Queens Karen Adler and Judith Fertig to get you started or to freshen up your skills:
• Rosemary branches make great basting brushes.
• Double up on baking trays when you head out to grill. Put raw items on the top baking tray and finished food on the second one underneath.
• Do not cook vegetables to death. Most fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw. A few minutes on high heat provides the perfect carmelization with the vegetables' natural sugars.
• Lightly oil vegetables and meats, not the grill, to keep grill from smoking.
• Use a mix and match approach. Pick a meat and fresh veggies combined with one of Adler and Fertig’s marinades for a quick, tasty meal.