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grilled vegetable skewers + cucumber sangria

grilled veggie skewers

grilled veggie skewers

Inspired by the homemade salsa we had in the fridge, we decided to do a Tex-Mex cookout for July 4th weekend! It was really more of an indoor cookout. Since we don’t have an outdoor spacing for grilling, we just use a cast iron stovetop grill pan. This one works really well.

First, we made a festive drink to kick off the celebration. I had my eye on something I saw on this blog a few weeks ago, namely a white wine sangria made with honeydew, cucumber, and limes. It sounded so summery and refreshing. We mixed up a batch and it was so good! This is a great summertime drink to have in your repertoire.

refreshing cucumber sangrias!

refreshing cucumber sangria!

Next, we went to work on some grilled vegetable skewers with zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms, and red onion. To make it special, we let the veggies marinate in a jalapeno-lime dressing for about an hour before grilling. The marinade gave a ton of flavor to these veggies! We’ll be making this again for sure.

veggies with marinade

veggies with marinade

grilling up the skewers!

grilling up the skewers!

The veggies are flavorful enough to eat on their own, but we decided to make them into tacos. We stuffed them in tortillas with some smashed pinto beans, avocado slices, and tomatillo salsa. To make the smashed pinto beans, sauté some chopped onion, garlic, and cilantro in a saucepan, then add 1 can of drained and rinsed pinto beans along with a few pinches of chili powder and cumin. Cook the bean mixture for a few minutes while smashing some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wood spoon (or, just use a potato masher).

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

veggie skewers with smashed pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

Everything was delicious! I highly recommend this marinade for any veggies you might want to grill this summer. Have you fired up your (indoor or outdoor) grills yet?

Happy summer cooking and grilling, everyone! ~Inge

Grilled vegetable skewers
This is a delicious and easy marinade idea for grilled veggies. We ate these grilled veggies in tortillas with smashed pinto beans, tomatillo salsa, and avocado slices. I highly recommend this delicious combo!

For the marinade:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon each of chili powder and smoked paprika
Pinch of salt

For the veggies:

1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini
1 red onion
1 red pepper
8-ounce container of mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

You’ll also need about 15 skewers. If you’re using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill.

Method:

1. Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the veggies into chunks that you’ll be able to easily spear onto the skewers. Add the veggies to the marinade and stir to coat. Let the coated veggies marinate for about an hour (I kept it in the fridge).

2. After the veggies have marinated, make up your skewers. I ended up with about 15 skewers, which I grilled up in 3 batches on a stovetop cast iron grill pan. I let each batch cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side, then flipped them over for another 5-7 minutes. I took them off once I saw blackened grill marks on most of the veggies. Yum!

Tip: Squeeze additional fresh lime juice over the platter of grilled veggies before serving. Delicious!

Cucumber sangria
Adapted from The Forest Feast

1 bottle of chilled white wine (we used a budget-friendly Sauvignon Blanc from Chile)
Honeydew melon, about 2 cups chopped
Cucumber, about 1.5 cups sliced
1 lime, sliced
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A little bit of Agave syrup or honey, just to sweeten it up a bit
Club soda or seltzer, chilled

Method:

1. Add the honeydew, cucumber, lime, mint leaves, and agave to a pitcher. Pour in the bottle of wine. Give the mixture a little stir. Refrigerate the sangria for 2 hours before serving.

2. Pour sangria into pretty glasses. Top off each glass with a little chilled seltzer. Enjoy!

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roasted tomatillo salsa

I took advantage of cool temperatures the other day and turned on the oven to make a batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. I love making homemade salsa because it is so easy and so good! I always follow the recipes in Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless, a trusted salsa reference around our house, and they always turn out great. This one was no exception.

Roasted tomatillo salsa

Roasted tomatillo salsa

To make this, you roast tomatillos, Serrano peppers, onions, and garlic. Then, you pulse everything up in a food processor, and stir in some chopped cilantro, salt, and a tiny bit of sugar. That’s it! I went a little nuts with the peppers for this batch and it ended up having a good amount of heat. If you don’t like things too spicy, I recommend seeding your peppers before roasting.

chips + salsa!

chips + salsa!

Happy salsa-making, everyone! ~Inge

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Adapted from Rick Bayless’s recipe in Salsas That Cook

2 pounds of tomatillos (about 13-14), husked and rinsed
8 fresh Serrano peppers, stems removed (you can also seed them if desired)
1 large white onion, cut into slices
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
½ – 1 teaspoon sugar
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatillos and peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the veggies are soft and blackened in spots. I turn everything over after 15 minutes of roasting and then put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Arrange the onion slices and garlic on another foil-lined sheet pan. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, until everything looks cooked and blackened in spots. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Place the roasted onions, garlic, and peppers in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Then, place the roasted tomatillos in the food processor (no need to rinse it out!) and puree. Add the tomatillos to the onions and peppers mixture.

4. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Give the salsa a little taste at this point. It should be pretty tangy with all those tomatillos! Season very well with salt. I used 2 teaspoons of salt, which is what Rick Bayless recommended for this amount of veggies. I also added ½ teaspoon of sugar, and about a ½ cup of water to get the consistency just right. Feel free to add more water and/or sugar as needed. Tasting as you season is the best way to go for homemade salsa. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!

Note: The amounts listed here make about 4 cups of fresh salsa. Rick Bayless advises that fresh salsa should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 5 days.