Grilled Veggie Stacks

Music: Medeski, Martin, and Wood, “The Dropper” – If you are new to MMW, I would suggest their best of album, “Note Blue: The Best of the Blue Note Years 1998 – 2005”
Menu:
Crackers with sharp cheddar and apple slices, grilled veggie stacks, garlic couscous, and fruit salad

BJ ate tofu…again! Unbelievable!!! I am turning this meat and potato man into a veggie-lovin’, tofu eatin’, grill master. When we met, his version of grilling included steak. Steak. That’s it. Our first triumph on the grill was buffalo chicken wings (recipe I promise will come soon and Wing Fest ’09 is rapidly approaching!). Next was our bourbon, apple juice smoked ribs. We then moved on to pulled pork and mastered the 8 hour grill of a pork butt. All sounds delish, right??? Well, this meal holds a torch up to any of those…easy.


If you have never prepared tofu before, it takes some time. Make sure you drain the tofu well. Since we are a paper towel free house (woo hoo), we happened to be at Costco earlier in the day and after an EPIC sample day at Costco, we hit the jackpot as they were testing paper towels. I obvioiusly took advantage of this and brought a bunch home to drain the tofu for dinner (if you think this is lame, you should probably stop reading this blog…if you think this is cool, well then you will find lots more tips like this here!).


I marinated tofu, eggplant, portobello, zucchini, and red pepper in balsamic vinegar with a touch of mint and a whole-lotta-garlic. BJ took care of the grill and let me tell you…sexy. I mean the smell of garlic, eggplant, and mushrooms coming from the grill…and then to see the grill rack full of veggies (see photo below)…oh…my…god.


From Mr. Rhythm of Cooking: About today’s artist of choice, Medeski, Martin, & Wood. These are three amazing musicians who play very avante-garde funky jazz and constantly wow me with both their technical skill and ability to improvise individually and as a group. Billy Martin is the drummer, Chris Wood plays bass, and John Medeski handles the keys. These guys are all about the live experience and never play a song the same way twice, just like the way that Amanda cooks! It all depends on the crowd, mood, time of day, and ingredients. When you go to a MMW show, or sit down to a meal prepared by chef Amanda, you never know exactly what to expect, but you know you will come away amazed and extrememly satisfied!

-BJ

Grilled Veggie Stacks
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 1 package, extra-firm tofu, well drained (on paper towels for at least 30 minutes)
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 2 medium portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 large zucchini. sliced longways into 4 slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into 4 large pieces
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 – 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 TB mint, chopped
  • S & P

Directions:

  1. Heat a grill to medium heat.
  2. Combine vinegar, garlic, and mint. Place in a large flat dish.*
  3. Season the tofu and veggies with S & P and begin marinating. Start with tofu and dip each side into the marinade and place on a separate plate. Repeat with all other veggies. Pour any extra marinade over tofu first, then rest of veggies. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Reserve any left over marinade.
  4. Begin grilling veggies – start with mushrooms (gill side down!), eggplant, and pepper. These veggies will take 8 minutes (4 on each side). When you flip the first batch add the tofu and zucchini (they only take 2 minutes on each side). Take veggies off and turn off grill.
  5. Cut mushrooms in half and begin stacking!! We did pepper, mushroom, eggplant, tofu, and zucchini. Drizzle with leftover marinade and serve!

* I used two large glass casserole dishes and left veggies in marinade for over 30 minutes. Choose whatever works best for you!

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