Whisper the words “grilling” and people get excited. Outdoor grilling, campfire grilling, panini press grilling, beach barbecue grilling or indoor stove top grilling. Those black charred grill marks tell you something grill-tastic has been thrown on the barbie – and I don’t mean doll.
Grilling Season. I used to heckle my guy friends as they’d drone on about their excitement and giddiness about the upcoming, sacred and beloved Grill Season, aka late spring to summertime. I’d snicker and roll my eyes at their Chef’s caps, “Kiss the Grillmaster” aprons and shiny polished spatulas. What was the big deal about grilling some burgers?
True, I love grilled veggies, tofu and veggie burgers. I love watching “Grill it!” with Bobby Flay. And I do get excited when I see the words vegan grilled cheese panini on a menu. But really, what’s all the gaga over grilling? Find out how I fell in love with grilling. Never thought I’d say those words. And check out the series schedule…
Here’s the series schedule…
Paninis and Grill Marks Recipe Series
May 23: Grilled Cheese 101: How to craft the perfect vegan grilled cheese sandwich on your grill.
May 26: Fire and Ice Panini
May 28: Black and White Panini
My First Panini Press. I’ve always loved paninis. But honestly, up until the past few years I’ve only been able to ogle them from a distance – why? Well classically, paninis mean cheese. And up until my discovery of Daiya and Follow Your Heart vegan cheeses, I was incredibly vegan-cheese deprived. So buying a panini press was out. Until I gave in..
Buying a Panini Press. During our last move here in NYC we went through a month long period with no gas. No stove. No oven. Our landlord had to update the piping. So we were in the cold when it came to heated meals. And instead of being a slave to my microwave and the delivery guys – I panicked and went out and bought a panini press.
I was hoping that the large binder-sized appliance wouldn’t turn into another “graveyard kitchen tool” like my long-forgotten bread machine or that super expensive vacuum wine-corker that never seemed to work right. But splendidly, my panini press worked like a dream. I fell in grill mark love.
I found that my under $100 Krups panini press was quite versatile. It acts as both a sandwich press and a veggie and protein grill. I grill up asparagus, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, ramps, tomatoes, onions, tofu, seitan, tempeh, grilled cheese, grilled tortillas, bruschetta bread, peppers, zucchini and even fiddlehead ferns. I am in love with my new found grilling skills and definitely understand what all the summertime fuss is about.
NYC Grilling: Yes I Can! NYCers can’t exactly place a big grill in their living rooms. So I’m happy with my makeshift indoor, sets off the smoke alarm, but that’s OK panini grill. But if I ever move back to a backyard-loving town I will cheerfully embrace the Grill Season with my beer-bottle-toasting, burger-flipping friends. I’ll be sipping sangria though, and flipping veggie burgers of course…
Note: You will need some form of “grill” to cook these recipes. But I’ll cover that in Vegan Grilling 101. You can use an outdoor grill, panini press, stovetop grill pan or oven griller. It’s all about the grill marks and letting the tasty food sit (as opposed to a fast-paced saute).
The theme of my series: Paninis (and other grilled eats) aren’t always what they seem…think outside the grill…