Honey-glazed Grilled Carrots

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So, it’s been a crazy week at work, and I left the office today about an hour later than usual.  Not a big deal, but it did mean that I was hungry and thinking of food the whole way home!

As I was driving, I started taking a mental inventory of my fridge and pantry – what could I make for dinner that was tasty, healthy and fast?

Grilling is fast and tasty! Yes!  Pork chops in the fridge, that will work, and onions.  Grilled onions are always good…what else?  Carrots!  I know I have a bag of carrots, maybe a little old, but perfect for cooking.  Can I grill carrots?  Well, why not?  Just throw them on the grill?  Hmmmm…glazed carrots?  Honey glazed carrots – on the grill?  Yum!

I figured what the hell, let’s give it a try!  I walked in the door, said hi to the cats and gave them their dinner, and immediately started cooking mine.

Fresh thyme! Lemon on the left, regular on the right.

I started with about a quarter cup of honey, warmed it up so it would be easier to glaze the carrots, and added about a teaspoon of fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

I brushed the honey mixture over the carrots, and got the grill good and hot.

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I was afraid that there might be some flare ups if the glaze dripped down on the grill, but nope!  I got a good char on the carrots and turned the burners down to medium.  I left the carrots on the grill until they got soft – about 12 minutes.

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As soon as the carrots hit the grill, I could smell the honey.  It was awesome.  The carrots had a slightly charred, smokey taste that blended really well with the sweetness of the honey. They went great with the jerk-seasoned pork chops and grilled onions.

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I wonder what else I can grill that I haven’t tried yet?

Elwood is displeased at the lateness of his dinner.    "Feed me, human!"

Elwood is disapproves of dinner being late.  Well, so do I!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve grilled?  How did it work out?

 

Grilled Ramps with Mustard Vinaigrette

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Saturday was Countryside Conservancy’s first outdoor farmer’s market of the year, and just as their welcome sign advertised, asparagus and ramps both made a strong showing.

Asparagus, ramps and - rutabaga? Oh my!

Asparagus, ramps and – rutabaga? Oh my!

To me, ramps are a sure sign of spring.  Ramps, scientific name Allium tricoccum (yep, I’m showing off a little bit), also known as wild leek or wild onion, look a bit like scallions with broad leaves, and taste like a cross between garlic and a sweet onion. They also have an extremely short season, so enjoy them while you can!

I was so happy to find ramps at the farmers market that I wanted to really showcase them somehow.  Last year, I made some ramp pesto, and used some in a stir fry with shrimp. Good, but not good enough. This spring, I wanted to try something different.

Enter the grill.

Best Christmas present ever!

Best Christmas present ever!

I wanted to grill the ramps, but I thought it needed a little something extra.  I had picked up some boneless pork chops from Brunty Farms at the market as well, and the ramps would definitely go well with pork.  I wanted some kind of sauce, but something that wouldn’t be overpowering.  I thought about treating the ramps like a warm salad, and it was obvious.  Vinaigrette!  Specifically, a mustard vinaigrette that would be awesome with grilled pork chops.  Done, and done.

The ramps were so easy to grill I can’t even call it a recipe.  First, I trimmed the ends of the bulbs.  Then I misted them with just a bit of olive oil and sprinkled on some salt.  I have an oil sprayer (like this one but red) that I love! I use it all the time.

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After I grilled the pork chops with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, I laid the ramps on the grill. The grill was crazy hot, and it literally just took a minute for the leaves to wilt and start to char.  As the ramps cooked, they smelled amazing!! A little smoky, garlicky and sweet at the same time – yum!

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One word of warning, though.  Be careful how you lay them on the grill – one wilted faster than I expected and slipped through the grates.  Next time, I would place them straight across the grates instead of as up and down as they are in this picture.

Once I pulled them off the grill, I drizzled some of the mustard vinaigrette on top and served them with the pork chops and a side of roasted asparagus (also from the farmers market, and also amazingly tasty).  My boyfriend even tried one of the ramps, although he wasn’t quite as excited about it as I was.

He was excited about the mustard vinaigrette, though!  He put it on the pork chop, the ramps, the asparagus, and if there had been anything else on the plate, I’m sure it would have been drenched in vinaigrette as well.  I made enough to have leftover, and it was just as good on a salad for a weekday lunch.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of your favorite grainy mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Salad dressings are easy – I just dumped all this in a mason jar, shook it up, and put it in the fridge until I needed it.  Love recipes like that.

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Have you ever had ramps, or seen them at a farmers market?  What seasonal plants/veggies are your favorite signs of spring?  

Margarita Mondays

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On Mondays, Dad goes bowling.  Well, at least in the fall and winter he does.  (Spring and summer, it becomes golf on Tuesdays, which is a whole other story.)

So for (mumblemumble) years now, when Dad goes bowling, Mom and I meet up for Monday night dinner.  My sister joins us when she can, but since she has the most packed schedule of any person I’ve ever met, most of the time it’s just me and Mom.

Until pretty recently, Monday night dinner was always Margarita Mondays.  Don’t get me wrong, we still do dinner almost every Monday in bowling season, but we realized that the chips and margaritas were a lot of (really tasty) calories that we just don’t need.  So,we mix it up with some healthier options.  The chips and margaritas still happen, but now it’s probably closer to once a month then once a week.

I am, however, a little sad that today isn’t a Margarita Monday with Mom, and here’s why.    First, today is Mom’s birthday, and talking to her on the phone is nice but not the same.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!)  Obviously Mom’s birthday always falls on Cinco de Mayo, but this year it’s also a Monday – margaritas just seem right!

In honor of Mom’s Cinco de Mayo birthday, here’s a recipe for Watermelon Margaritas that I came up with a couple weeks ago.  Enjoy!

It started when I was digging through my freezer to see what was left from last year’s CSA, and I realized that had two big bags of pureed and frozen yellow watermelon.

Frozen watermelon + tequila = watermelon margaritas, of course!

When I was overrun with watermelon last summer – three at one time! – I took the two yellow watermelons that I couldn’t eat fast enough, pureed them in the blender, poured them into ice cube trays and froze them as cubes.  Once the cubes were frozen, I transferred them to baggies.

20140405_153005For my Watermelon Margaritas, I put 8 cubes of frozen, pureed watermelon in a blender with a shot of tequila, a splash of orange liqueur (Cointreau), the juice of half a lime and about a spoonful of local honey, just to tone down the tartness. I approximated the amounts in the recipe at the end, but the amount of alcohol seemed to increase each time I made one.  I have no idea *hiccup* how that happened.

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This is a totally unnecessary picture just because I wanted to show off my shot glass from the Star Trek Experience in Vegas!

This is a totally unnecessary picture just because I wanted to show off my shot glass from Star Trek: The Experience in Vegas!

I ran the blender until it was smooth, and it was just enough to perfectly fill a margarita glass.  I tossed on the lime garnish just for prettiness.

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Watermelon Margarita (serves 1)

  • 8 cubes of frozen watermelon (to make, puree fresh watermelon in a blender, pour into ice cube trays and freeze)
  • 1 shot of tequila (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • a splash of orange liqueur (I used Cointreau – maybe a 1/2 ounce?)
  • the juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Put all ingredient in blender and blend until smooth.  Garnish with slice of lime, if desired.

Any other good recipes for using CSA goodies in cocktails?  Or delicious margarita recipes you’d like to share?