For many of us, as we head into Summer, our thoughts turn to cookouts. In my family, this was especially the case, and I have distinct memories of my dad firing up the grill many times during the warm summer months. Sometimes he would do this for a larger family picnic like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, but often we would grill out just on an ordinary night. Cooking and eating outside always made the meal feel special, even if we were just having hamburgers and hot dogs.
These memories came back to me today at our weekly Temple Staff Meeting, when blog master extraordinaire, Jason revealed that his father’s day present was a new grill. Isn’t interesting how easy it is to be transported back in time? Right now, the closest thing that I can get to a grilling experience is opening up my back door to let fresh air in and plugging in my George Forman so that I can sit on my teeny tiny square of a porch to eat. It’s a far cry from my childhood experience where we had an actual grill and a large deck with a patio table on it overlooking my Mom’s garden to the front and our pasture to the side. Even so, I’m tempted to go home tonight and try to recreate as much as possible with my little George Forman Grill and the sounds of the city surrounding me.
Traditional cookout food definitely tends to be meat heavy: steaks, hamburgers, and hotdogs are the main staples. However, there are some vegetarian options like vegetable shish-kabobs, portabella caps for burgers (which I would never do, because I hate mushrooms), or veggie burgers. Of course you could easily use your favorite pre-packaged brand of veggie burgers from the grocery store (and I definitely do that on occasion), but if you’re trying to eliminate processed food from your diet or just want to control the quality of the ingredients nothing beats homemade. Here is a link of Cooking Light Magazine’s Top 10 Veggie Burger Recipes (the Quick Black Bean Burger sounds especially good to me) that you can reach to whether you’re grilling out (or not – there’s no rule that says burgers have to only be for a cookout!) next time you’re craving a burger.
Carrie Rosen is the Temple Sholom new girl, joining the staff in April as the Fund Development Coordinator and Executive Assistant to Boni Fine. She is a sometimes vegetarian.