Posted by: zhak39 | May 3, 2008

Summer Kitchen II

Last year in setting up a summer kitchen one of my concerns was to have the equipment to satisfy variant tastes and dietary needs. I have (finally) found a compatriot on the light side, a fellow vegetarian in Helen. On the other hand, there are two boys in the midst of their growth spurts who crave more, more, more. How can I season a grill to adapt to both the light and the (ahem) dark side?

The Grill

Today we put together a light and easy outdoor meal that served both omnivores and vegetarians, Quesadillas with choice of fresh fillings and toasted cheese points. Filling choices were avacado, grilled chicken breast, roasted red pepper, grilled onion, salsa and cheese. Very simple stuff. The cheese toast points were made with a basic french bread covered in a mix of olive oil based mayo, parmesan and grated colby jack cheese.


We have an indoor, outdoor rule. Indoor chores require no heat. Let’s see. How did I do it? I took a chicken breast and sliced it thin. Mixed olive oil with some chili powder and a bit of cinnamon and coated the chicken. Sliced the avocado. Grated some cheese. Mixed a dollop of olive oil based mayo with a big palmful of parmesan cheese and some grated colby jack. Sliced a sweet onion and poured some olive oil over.

Outdoor. The left side of the grill is for stuff that doesn’t drip or flare. First thing was to toss a red pepper and the onions directly on the grill. While that was cooking I sliced the bread and spread some mayo/cheese mix on the slices.

It actually takes longer to roast a pepper than it does to grill the chicken thus the cook must take a liberal spritzing of wine at this point. My mother used to roast pepper directly over the flame of her ancient gas stove when I was growing up. The skin needs to blacken and blister. So barbaric! The onions fare better with a coat of oil but peppers just have to take the punishment. Don’t ask me why. Call my mother.

When the onions were done I removed them and put the cheese toast points on the upper rack.

This is the time to fire up the other side for the chicken which only takes a few minutes on each side.

When the red pepper is all blistered and patched with black it goes in a paper bag. The paper bag is crucial. Why? I don’t know! Because my mother always did it this way. A moment later, the chicken is flipped, cooked and cut into strips. Once the chicken is prepared, take the pepper out of the bag.

Skim off the skin, cut it in quarters and take out the seeds then slice it into strips.

The last part is pretty easy. Everyone can build their own quesadillas. I used 10 inch flour tortillas and a standard sized stainless steel pan on the sideburner. This is the ultimate ‘you choose’ meal because each person can take whatever they want and build as small or as large as they want. Helen and I built ours with cheese, avocado, roasted peppers and onion. The boys had the same plus chicken.

You can use cooking spray or lard or butter in the pan. Some people prefer to use butter or margarine spread on the tortilla. I can’t be bothered. I just toss some olive oil in the pan, dip both sides of the tortilla in it than start filling.

Fold it over, brown both sides.

You can keep each warm as the next goes in the pan by sticking them on the covered grill. (Just be sure it’s turned off. It’s just like a cooling oven). When they’re done it looks something like this.


  1. This looks delicious…your family have no idea how well they are
    eating. Come home and cook for us, my mouth is watering!

  2. You are so right about that. The response here was less than flattering.

    I so look forward to cooking for you this summer.

    Love you!

  3. chicken is not vegetarian!its meat!just found your post under the tag vegetarian, just letting you know.Nice pics by the way

  4. Great food post! Thanks for all the photos.

  5. Juggling a camera while using two grills and a sideburner is a new trick. You do such great photos on your blog. I am beginning to understand that it is a new skill set.

  6. Ninaki,

    Forgive me for not responding; I found your comment in my spam folder.

    Last year I was so pleased to find a two sided grill. My husband and two sons are meat eaters. My daughter and I are not. By having separated grills I can use one strictly for vegetarian dishes and the other for those mucky drippy flesh products.

    As a part of a family I have found that there are many times that I have to make concessions. When I cook meat for other family members, in fact when I cook anything I give thanks to the earth, to the farmer, to those who toiled and those who suffered that my family may prosper. For me, even though I don’t consume it, cooking meat is an act of humility.


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