It sure doesn't seem like spring in the midwest. Talk about a time for inspiration. I recenly lifted my copy of The New Vegetarian Grill off of the shelf. Imagining the smell of seared pineapple mingling with grilled pita bread next to a cilantro suace? Yes, please. So, just in time for spring daydreams, fellow veg heads, is a review of Andrea Chesman's awesome recipe volume.
Here's the skinny: Chesman's The New Vegetarian Grill is chalk full of incredibly inventive and gorgeous recipes that will get you more than ready to fire up the grill. American thoughts of summer barbeque tend to invoke an image of a rotissarie pig with an apple in it's mouth. Chesman reminds us that we can host an incredibly delictable summer al fresco fiesta that's a little greener and a whole lot lower on the food chain.
Don't get me wrong on this next point. The recipes in this work are tremendous and thoughtfully done. But perhaps the most useful part of the book, is the very beginning, where Chesman explores veggie grilling basics. She takes you through the equipment and techniques you'll come to rely on to be an expert summer chef. After exploring the benefits and pitfalls of different grills, you'll get a chance to explore fuel (she's convinced me to go to wood chips versus conventional charcoal and I'll never turn back, for the flavor alone). This is followed by such vital and contested information as "Grill Lid. Up or down?" Huh. Talk about food for thought. Chesman had me online scoping out a vegetable grill rack within hours, and it's a choice I wish I'd made so much sooner. Veggie grill baskets? It's not too good to be true-- they're amazing.
Grab this book along with your new indepensible veggie grill accoutrements, turn up the music, grab a glass of white wine, & bring on the fireflies. Before you'll know it you'll be navigating through Chesman's incredible world of Mixed Smoked Vegetable Lasagna, Grilled Onion Dip, Charred Corn Salsa, and Herbed Summer Squash Chips. If your mouth isn't watering, perhaps it will be when the concept of summer dessert turns into Grilled Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Nuts. Have kids? Four words: Campfire Cinnamon Toast Treats. If that doesn't buy you some uninteruppted time in the hammock, I don't know what will.
No doubt about it: Chesman's New Vegetarian Grill is destined to be a foodie's summer classic. Happy grilling.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.