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Chillin’ and Grillin’ Backyard BBQ Event (and Meaty Eggplant Burgers)!

Summer was made for Bar-B-Q’s!  Even those of us who don’t eat meat still love the idea of outdoor cooking, far from the heat of a kitchen stove, the UV rays tickling our skin as we inhale sun-soaked breezes. Firing up the barbie is one of the simplest ways to prepare a meal, and it’s perfect for grilled veggies, grilled pineapple or romaine, burgers, marinated tofu, or any number of other dishes you can think of that would benefit from the smoky, seared, grill-mark effects of cooking over a live flame. And what goes better with those steaming dishes than something chilled until ice-cold?

A couple of months ago, when my friend Amie and I met up at the Dole Summit, we got to chatting about co-hosting a summer blog event.  After tossing around a few ideas, we determined that the quintessential summer foods are all either grilled or chilled. And so, the Grillin’ and Chillin’ Event was born! We’d love if you joined us for this backyard party, too, by linking up your own grilled or chilled recipes! And since we’re both sharing the event, any time you link to either one of our blogs, your link will automatically appear on the other one as well–double the exposure for your recipe!

It’s easy to participate. Simply use the linky at the bottom of this post to share your grilled or chilled, plant-based recipe (sorry, no meat-based burgers, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy or other animal products, such as honey) any time between now and midnight on Sunday, July 22nd.  We think of this as our virtual Backyard Bar-B-Q, where we can partake of amazing outdoor foods and drink! And don’t restrict “chilled” recipes to things like ice cream or frozen desserts–remember that salads, beverages, and many side dishes are served chilled, too!

For my own contribution to the party, I decided to turn to a classic burger. This one is adapted from one in a cookbook I discovered during my year at nutrition school.

One of the things I loved about studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist–as much as, if not more than, the food–was the sense of camaraderie, being surrounded by like-minded people every day. Although Toronto is well known as a foodie city, in the suburb where I live, I know precious few folks who follow my kind of diet, and certainly very few of my friends did so back at that time (I’m happy to report that several of them have come to see the “real food-based” light since then).

Every morning at our 11:45 break for lunch, my friends would all congregate in a coterie huddled at the long classroom tables as we each pulled out our food containers like David Copperfield  withdrawing the chosen playing card out of his jacket pocket. We’d peer into the little boxes, oohing and aahing over each other’s treasures:  “Cool, what’s that green stuff? I’ve never seen that before!”; “How did you prepare that arame?”; “Is that organic salmon?”; “You mean you MADE that quinoa bread? Awesome!”–and so on, before we all sat together and ate at the communal table.  The enthusiastic squeals would infuse the room as we examined each other’s meals.

One of my favorite teachers in those days was a raw foodist whom we all admired for her knowledge, equanimity, luminous skin, toned physique and, of course, phenomenally successful nutrition, yoga and holistic healing practice.  Whenever Caroline lectured, we all listened with rapt attention, a bunch of wide-eyed toddlers at a first reading of Goodnight, Moon.  Caroline’s cooking classes were always fully booked, and we vied for those coveted spots.

Along with the classes, each student received a copy of her cookbook. It’s still one of my favorite sources for healthy, easy-to-make recipes that I know will taste great (especially since I’ve already sampled many of them in those cooking classes!).  I’ve probably made over half the recipes in the book, but had never tried the Eggplant Burgers (the original version was called “Patties,” but I preferred the more robust “burger”).

These are the perfect recipe for grilling season. Baked first to solidify their shape and later grilled, they hold together beautifully and provide a meaty, sturdy texture and appearance. The flavor is rich, savory and slightly smoky, with a toothsome bite. I served mine simply on a slice of quinoa sourdough, but of course you could go for a classic presentation in a hamburger bun, too. I think they’re a terrific addition to any BBQ menu!

We Want to See What You’ve Cooked Up, Too!

What grilled or chilled recipes have you made recently? Amie and I hope you’ll link up and share them with us! And don’t forget to hop over to Amie’s blog to check out her fabulous Potatoes ‘N Pasta Salad.  Wouldn’t that work perfectly with a big, juicy Eggplant Burger?

Mum, we’d love to share in the Grillin’ and Chillin’ event, too! We may not be very good at grillin’ but we’ll help you eat it. . . and we sure are experts at chillin’!”

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs via email. (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

Last Year at this Time: Supremely Summery Raw Zucchini “Bruschetta” (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Two Years Ago: Grilled Vegetable Salad with Tarragon Dressing (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Three Years Ago: Lemony Baked Tofu (gluten free; ACD  all stages)

Four Years Ago: Sweet and Spicy Tempeh (gluten free; ACD maintenance only)

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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