Tag Archives: cookout

How Not to Bore Vegetarians at a Cookout

What better to do than cook outside for the Fourth of July festivities? But what if you’re hosting a flock of vegetarians? Do not hit the panic button, The Practical Cook is here to help. There are a few ways you can host mixed company and not just go the burgers and dogs (veggie, of course) route.

How Not to Bore Vegetarians at a Cookout

1. Do not offer to grill them. Completely socially unacceptable. This includes actual cooking and a quiz about why they just won’t eat the burger.

Veg-in-a-Box

Veg-in-a-Box

2. Think outside the box. Seriously, I love a veggie burger from the freezer, I won’t lie. It’s easy, fast protein, and convenient. But if you’ve ever spent time as a vegetarian (I was full on for 7 years), you’ve eaten aplenty of these.

Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn

3. BYOV(egetable). Request that they bring something to grill. Perhaps you provide the grill and the beer, and they bring the plants.

Meat Kebabs and Salad

Meat Kebabs and Salad

4. Kebabs. If you’re going to do the cooking, this is the simplest way to do a single prep that will serve most in a mixed crowd. Use peppers, onions, mushrooms, fruit, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, you name it, and thread some of the skewers with steak, chicken, or shrimp (just don’t serve me the shrimp one). The Farmer’s Market runneth over right now and will be open on Saturday in most places. Go there  and run wild. Be sure to buy some corn, too, because it’s awesome on the grill.

Grilled Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple

5. Pineapple. If there’s one thing you can do to impress anyone with your grilling skills, it’s grilled pineapple rings. They’re different, simple, and versatile. Try dipping them in coconut milk, brown sugar, rum, coconut flavored-rum, whatever. Slice into 1/2-inch rings, core them, and do not skimp here–use fresh. (Or consider fruit kebabs. Great info over at BarbecueBible.com, which I once worked on.)

Thanks to  VeggieMacabre for the question, be sure to send in some pictures! Also, thanks to Miss Clairol for the kebab photos. Blogging is seriously a tag-team sport.

What do you like to grill? Let’s hear some more ideas from the veggies out there, post your comments here.

What’s your burning question? Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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For Sunday, Weekly Menus from a remote location. Perhaps I’ll read my list as a video blog? We shall see.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy

Extremely Practical Slaw (or Punting! with Cabbage)

Well, hello June, where did you come from? Summertime means grilling. Grilling means burgers. Burgers mean slaw. Do what? Yes, if you’re Southern, you know about the Carolina-style hamburger: chili, slaw, mustard, and onions. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! And if you’re going to make slaw for this or any other purpose, I’ve got the recipe for you.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

You see, slaw is a running joke in the Practical Cook’s family. It is one of the only things the Practical Cook’s Mom makes that TPC won’t eat. You heard me mom, I don’t care if you’ve gotten a new pepper grinder that doesn’t shoot whole peppercorns into it (more like I gifted my family with a new one), or banned celery seed from the kitchen. Let’s not even talk about that green plastic 1970s bowl. I love my mother, I love her cooking, I have my own slaw recipe, and here it is.

Extremely Practical Slaw Recipe

These are some guidelines, which you can further adapt to suit your own tastes. I’ve adapted this recipe from the very talented Anne Byrn, best known for her Cake Mix Doctor series, from What Can I Bring? (Full disclosure, I once worked for the publisher.) The simplicity of this recipe involves the food processor. Personally, I would attempt without it or a mandoline, or some such chopping device.

Off with your head, cabbage!

Off with your head, cabbage!

1/2 a large head of cabbage, or 1 small one, trimmed, cored, rinsed, and sliced small enough to shove into a food processor chute, courtesy of the family farm
2 carrots, washed and peeled
1/4 to 1/2 sweet onion (make sure it is a sweet, not just a white, yellow, or red)
scant 1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice (as in the juice you drain from the sweet pickle jar), or rice or white wine vinegar if you don’t have pickle juice on hand
1/4 cup or more pickle relish
1 or 2 Tablespoons sugar (don’t overdo it, especially if you’re using  a lot of sweet pickle relish)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s, or my fave, a mix of 3/4 teaspoon Lawry’s and 1/4 teaspoon Ms. Dash

1. Shred the cabbage on the 1/4 inch shredder disc on the food processor.

Cabbage Shredded!

Cabbage Shredded!

2. Change the food processor disc to the smallest grater. Process the carrots and onion.

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

3. Put all shredded items into a large bowl, creating a well (hole) in the middle. Add the seasonings. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Chill to meld flavors. Eat!

Serving suggestions: on a burger, beside a burger, on a hot dog, beside a hot dog. On a rueben. Slaw is very versatile, don’t fear the cabbage! And the Goaty McBeet Burger recipe will be coming soon.

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Do you have a family recipe reject? Share your stories here in the comments section, or Tweet away!

Send your recipes and suggestions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today! Thank to everyone for helping to earn our very own name: facebook.com/practicalcook)

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Coming up next, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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Filed under Punt!, Recipes