When I'm grilling I like to have as much of the meal on the grill as I can, I can't stand having to run back and forth between the grill and the stove 10 or 20 times. One easy side dish I like to grill is marinated zucchini and eggplant. Often I'll include portabella mushrooms caps with these two.
Last night I was grilling some chicken thighs and this dish, along with baked potatoes, was the perfect accompaniment. The flavor of the grilled eggplant is absolutely explosive, and even the often neutral tasting zucchini will make you take notice. The flavors of the dressing are really accentuated by the grilling process.
I mixed together a simple Italian dressing as a marinade, but you can use your favorite bottled Italian style dressing if you like.
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsb white sugar
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
• Whisk all together in a bowl,
• Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to mingle
Grilled, Marinated Zucchini and Eggplant
1 Whole eggplant
2 Medium sized zucchini
• Wash the eggplant and the zucchini, removing the ends and any visible bad spots
• Cut the eggplant into 1" thick rounds, salt the eggplant on both sides and lay it in a colander to drain for 20 minutes (this removes bitterness and excess moisture)
• Slice the zucchini lengthwise in 1/2" thick slices
• Pat off excess moisture and salt for the eggplant with a paper towel
• Shake the Italian dressing well and pour it over the eggplant and eggplant (together or separately)
• Using a brush, make sure all surfaces are coated with the dressing, cover and let sit refrigerated or an hour or more
• Place pieces on a hot grill, cook for about five minutes
• Keep brushing on the marinade while you are grilling to keep the vegetables from drying out
• Flip over, grill for about five more minutes, or until cooked through
• Sprinkle fresh chopped basil over top (optional), serve and enjoy!
After over four years of living with Celiac Disease, I've found that eating out still isn't easy, and often it isn't very satisfying. Tonight I went to a Japanese steak house, Kabuto Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar in Greensboro, NC. I used to enjoy going to Japanese restaurants, but this is the first time I've been to a Japanese steak house since being on the gluten-free diet, because everything cooked in front of you on the table gets a good dousing of soy sauce (which is brewed with wheat and is not gluten-free). I made all of the usual preparations before leaving the house; including calling ahead to ask if they could accommodate a gluten-free diet, coming up with a cursory plan of what to eat based on their menu, snacking heavily before going to avoid feeling starved while watching everyone else eat, and bringing my own wheat-free soy sauce. You would think that after all of this preparation, and carefully ordering sushi and steamed rice I would have a nice meal with no issues, but unfortunately that wasn't what happened.
The chef at out table was entertaining with his flashing knives, onion volcano and spinning a raw egg on his spatula for an impossibly long time, but it was frustrating for me to watch as heaps of delicious looking food was tossed (literally) on to everyone's plate. On my plate was a heap on steamed white rice. I used my soy sauce to flavor the rice, along with a dash of Chinese style hot sauce.
My sushi arrived when the main course was served. I ordered a tray of sashimi tuna wrapped in rice and seaweed, and I ate it with the wasabi sauce, pickled ginger and my soy sauce. The tuna was fresh, but the sushi wasn't rolled to well. Nonetheless, I was content with my simple meal, that is until about 45 minutes after leaving the restaurant. Some times I have stomach irritations that I can't precisely attribute to a gluten reaction, but this wasn't one of those times. I had acute sharp pains in my gut that lasted for about a half hour, pretty much the typical good dosing of gluten reaction for me. Once again I don't know exactly where the gluten came from, it had to be either the wasabi, pickled ginger, Chinese hot sauce, (all of which I've had before) or the raw tuna (unlikely due to my type of reaction) or was it some unknown and unseen culprit?
All in all my advice would be: if your on a gluten-free diet, pass on the Japanese Steak house experience. Dining out shouldn't be this hard!