Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Labor Day Plans - Recipe for grilled vegetables

WHAT ARE YOUR LABOR DAY PLANS??? This weekend is the day the US Congress has decided to honor our workers. While the roots for the day are Canadian in origin, The USA celebrates on the first Monday of September, as opposed to May 1st for most of the rest of the world. Originally the date was set on September just to be different by US labor organizers. Then, it became official when Congress wanted to toss a bone to labor after US Marshalls busting a few heads during the 1894 Pullman Strike. Now, most people get a three day weekend, politicians make speeches, parades are marched and weekend grillers rule the backyard!

So, again I ask... What are your plans?

This year, We are hosting an open house with 40 pounds of smoked pulled pork. We invited the neighborhood, about 40 households. We did ask for RSVP's, and so far about 50 people are coming. I have had good luck smoking Pork Butt, as this post shows... Pulled Pork and Sweet Corn. So, should things go wrong, I am just a short drive away from a grocery store full of hot dogs, but right now, I am planning for success! In an earlier post, I had asked a friendly blogger named GIRLICHEF (you can reach her excellent Blog by clicking HERE) to pray for rain so I could cook one of her recipes... Low and behold, it did indeed rain, and I was able to spend some time as a vegetarian...My 6 Hours as a Vegetarian. So, now I am going to ask Girlichef to pray for nice weather. There is a 60% chance of scattered showers, I am counting on you Girlichef to keep all those neighbors in the back yard and not inside! But, rain or shine, those are my Labor Day plans... What's yours? drop me a comment at the end of this post...

OK... Promised you a recipe, and I have a WINNER! This is kind of an adaptation of my Dan Quayle Potatoe Medley that you can find by clicking HERE. We'll call these STOP LIGHT VEGGIE MEDLEY, as I am using RED Onions, YELLOW Peppers and GREEN Beans; just like a traffic stoplight.

OK, here's what I did...

First, I assembled my ingredients. This has been a great year in my area for produce. It seems that every corner has a farm stand set up, and every grocery store has deep discounts on some lovely things. My local under priced grocery store offered a great price on 2 pounds of green beans. NINETY-NINE CENTS! Makes me wonder if recipes are created not because they taste good, but because we look for new ways to cook up cheap ingredients... But I digress...

OK, beans were going to be on the menu, now how to make them taste good... Here's my ingredient list...

2 pounds Green Beans
2 Yellow Bell peppers (cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch square pieces)
2 Green Bell peppers (cut the same, I would have used just all yellow peppers for aesthetic reasons, but I had these extra in my produce drawer and wanted to use them before they turned bad for economic reasons)
2 red onions, cut to match the peppers

I wanted to marinate, these are my marinating ingredients...

I could have used...

1 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Apple cider Vinegar
3 garlic Cloves (diced as tiny as possible)
2 teaspoons diced chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

instead, I did the easy thing and used...

2 Cups from a bottle of Garlic Vinaigrette salad dressing.

Actually, any brand or type of Vinaigrette salad dressing will do nicely, spend a lot on Newman's Own, or do what I do, and by the cheap stuff from the dollar store (as shown in the photo, next to my Pillsbury Doughboy Cookie Jar and my very collectible funny nose and glasses autographed by Star Trek star, Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher)... BTW, Hard to make a bottle of salad dressing look interesting, but I tried. And another BTW, Wil is a fellow blogger, who never mentions food (that I can remember) in his blog, but you can find it by clicking HERE.

To the Vinaigrette, I added...

1 jalapeno pepper, cored with seeds removed
10 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of Jerk Spice

I ground these up extra fine in my handy dandy mini chopper and they came out looking like this...

When I added these to the vinaigrette, it almost immediately dissolved into the oil. It was a beautiful thing, and was going to taste wonderful!

I marinated the beans/onions/peppers in the goop for about two hours. It smelled amazing. BTW, a handy tip for marinating, I LOVE those big gallon ziplock bags. Easy to mix, easy to toss when done (my wife has politely asked that I help with the clean up, so ease of clean up is now a little more important to me)

I grilled in my handy dandy vegetable grilling pan. This is simply a pan with a whole bunch of holes in it. It is one of the few overpriced items that really is useful for home grillers. You can find these at any specialty grilling store, or have it delivered to your home by shopping at AMAZON.COM... Take a look at their "Pans with holes in Them" Page by clicking HERE. With all those holes, and all that oil, flair ups are gonna happen. SO, shake it around, move it around, stir often (I use a flat head wooden spoon) and keep an eye on them.

And, for those of you without a pan with a hole in it, you can certainly adapt this recipe for a wok, stir fry. Just drain off the excess oil.

It took about 20 minutes to cook these.
This photo was after about 10 minutes, you can see the oil shining, and the veggies just starting to get a little bit of char...

But this is how I like em... Beauties, very easy, very very tasty. All together, probably 3 or 4 pounds of vegetables (these warm up well next day), probably 12 to 16 servings, marinated and spiced for less than $5 total. I love being cheap! By my count, this is recipe #22 in my quest for a year's worth of original recipes.

And Hey, as a reminder... What are your Labor Day Plans???

My cat Eng is hoping to finally win a stare down contest with my flying pig art.


  1. Tasty looking vegetables! 50 people? Wow, that's a huge gathering! How do the kitties react to that many people? Mine would be cowering under the couch all night!

    I have no plans... I'm not much into celebrating holidays. Hmm... maybe I'll bake myself a cake. :)

  2. Great looking veggies, Dave!
    This weekend, I know I'll be grilling, but not sure what yet. I'm thinking about steak or brisket, but haven't made up my mind.
    You are really going to have a yard full of people! It's a good thing you like to grill- you must have a good sized smoker! Have fun!

  3. I'd certainly love to be over at your place for the big day, but alas...I have no plans, actually. Sad but true.

  4. ...please let it be nice out for Labor Day...please let it be nice out for Labor Day... Your veggies look seriously awesome!! We are planning on going to a Pow Wow that is an annual thing in our parts over Labor Day weekend...celebrating our roots :D ...not to mention eating lots of great food...buffalo burgers here I come!

  5. Yes, please let it be nice for Dave's Labor Day BBQ!
    I am hoping that you will post after your Labor day BBQ feast. Let us in on the smells, the flavors and the fun.

    We will spend Labor Day weekend on a soccer field. Monday, we will gather a few friends, open a good bottle of wine and do what other Americans do this time of year...We are going to fire-up the grill!

    Good luck this weekend.

  6. I just joined your blog and am loving it. I like the "cheap" attitude. My middle name is cheap. haha. I think we are cooking some good burgers and wings. Gotta get some propane first. Do you use charcole or gas? I know that is a big issue with some.

  7. I love grilled veggies; this sounds tasty!

    Wow, a party of that size! I don't even known 50 people, LOL!

    Love Eng! We have 5 cats. They're always up to something and keep it interesting.

    No real Labor Day plans, some antiquing, maybe a (model) train show. Some baking.

  8. Thanks for all the comments guys...

    Kat, I have a webber Charcoal grill that I rarely use, I almost always grill with gas. Mostly because of the ease, temperature control and clean up. I have a smoker that I use lump coal.

    Everyone have a great restful day over the holiday

  9. Unfortunately, our plans seem to be taking a turn. There's a flu breakout and the local schools have closed and our little one seems to be coming down with it as we speak.