Grilled Vegetable Medley



Looks like we're a little later than usual on today's post, for a number of reasons:

  1. Today is Labor Day, which means no work and more sleep time for Tommy.
  2. I have within the last week started catching up on Season 2 of Chicago Fire. In an attempt to be all caught up before the September 23 premiere, I have been watching incessantly. Yesterday consisted of Chicago Fire, laying in bed, eating roasted gorgonzola crackers, one 30-minute trip to Trader Joe's, and eating dinner in bed while watching Chicago Fire. Clearly my mind was not quite focused on SMAK...

Grilled vegetables are one of my favorite summer dishes and this recipe is incredible. Feel free to substitute any of the vegetables for ones of your own choosing. I found that asparagus, carrots, red peppers, summer squash and onions provide a great array of options and make for a beautiful vibrant presentation.

I wanted to keep today's post quick so you are all able to enjoy this holiday with family and friends. Happy Labor Day!

Grilled Vegetable Medley 


1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons honey 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon pepper Dash salt 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed 3 small carrots, cut in half lengthwise 1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add vegetables; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.
  3. Transfer vegetables to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack.
  4. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat 8-12 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.
  5. Place vegetables on a large serving plate. Drizzle with remaining marinade.


Caveman Porterhouse with Poblano Pan-Fry

thegrillingbook I mentioned this book a few weeks ago in my How to Build Your Cookbook Library post. It's a great cookbook with great recipes for poultry, beef, seafood and vegetables. I was skimming through the pages looking for a recipe and fell upon this recipe. Glancing at the recipe and picture, it looked fairly straight-forward. There are a few different ways of grilling - gas grill, charcoal grill, grilling directly on the hot embers of hardwood lump charcoal. We all know that I am desperate to learn how to master the art of grilling. But never did I think I would be grilling a porterhouse steak directly on hot charcoal.


I love photographing peppers. They always remind me of Pepper No 30 by Edward Weston.


I was surprised to see that the only seasoning used on the steaks was sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. I love a good steak, but I am known for adding a little A1 to my steak. Please do NOT add any other flavors to this recipe! Let the steak sit in the salt and pepper for an hour before cooking it. Where the real flavors start to show is through the charcoal -the meat gains incredible smoky flavors that are like nothing I've had before.


A note to anyone who plans on making this recipe: the hardwood lump charcoal takes a long time to heat up and get to the point where they are ready to use. Be sure to start the grill about an hour before you plan to start cooking, that way it will have plenty of time to heat up.




This recipe is hands down one of the best that I have tried in quite some time. Besides that fleeting natural light that I experienced (excuse the less than impressive picture above...), it was incredibly easy once reading through the instructions.

Have you ever tried, or even heard of, grilling meat directly on the charcoal? What is your favorite grilling method?

Caveman Porterhouse with Poblano Pan-Fry Serves 4


4 1¼-inch-thick porterhouse steaks coarse sea salt coarsely cracked black peppercorns ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 fresh poblano chiles, seeded, cut into strips 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro 2 large shallots, thinly sliced


  1. Season steaks generously with coarse sea salt and cracked peppercorns; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Build a hot fire in a charcoal grill using hardwood lump charcoal. When charcoal is orange, spread out in an even layer on lower grill grate. Use newspaper to fan excess ash from coals.
  3. Arrange steaks in a single layer directly atop hot embers and grill until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F for rare (steaks will carry over to 125°F, or medium-rare, as they rest), about 4 minutes per side.
  4. Using long tongs, transfer steaks to a plate. Using natural-bristle brush, remove any embers and loose ash from steaks.
  5. Tent steaks with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Add oil to 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Place skillet directly atop embers in grill.
  7. When oil begins to smoke, add chiles and all remaining ingredients to skillet. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on heat remaining from embers.
  8. Using oven mitts as your aid, carefully lift skillet from grill.
  9. Season pan-fry to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve over steaks.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Okay, so let's chat for one second. When I started this blog, back in the spring of 2012, it was because I was bored and wanted to find something to do with my free time. I liked cooking, eating was a clear favorite, and writing was something that I knew I enjoyed. (Whether or not I believed in my writing abilities is a completely different topic.) Out of this, SMAK was born. Over the past two years I have at times gotten lazy and went weeks without posting a single new entry. Other times I became incredibly motivated and wrote consistently for weeks on end. I've gone through various styles of photography - staged with a photography tent, iPhone pictures turned Polaroid and retro, and natural and organic. But what I've seen throughout these past few years is a consistent love of what I am doing. WordPress allows me to see that stats of my blog - some days I only have 15 views, other days I have 259. Sure, I would love to see a huge boost in viewership. It'd be a dream to gain sponsorship, do food testings and recipe development. But right now? I am okay where I am at, as long as I am putting a smile on one person's face. As long as one person finds a new recipe to try in any given day, I view that as a success. So as long as you will still put up with me, SMAK will still be there for your enjoyment.

With that said, today's recipe...


I was lucky enough to have my beautiful niece join me as sous chef!




I would suggest adding a little more parmesan to allow for more of the browning atop the zucchini. Plus, you can never have too much cheese.


This recipe is really quite simple and fairly quick to pull together. I can't say that this would replace chips or cookies every day (although maybe it should), but it's a great healthy snack or hors d'oeuvre.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini


4 zucchini, halves and quartered lengthwise 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon drive oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a cooking rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture.
  4. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. The broil 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and edges being to brown.
  6. Serve immediately.

steamed cauliflower with lemon butter sauce

a little side dish to brighten your day...

steamed cauliflower

I made this quick and easy side dish to go with my hot smoked salmon that I recently posted. There were a lot of firsts in this meal and all were delectable as my 3-year old niece would say! Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water. That, and the fact that I am currently halfway through a six-day BluePrintCleanse. Holy moly am I struggling! I am limited to six juices a day and water. I think I can technically have some green tea, but I wanted to use this as an attempt to ween myself off caffeine. "How is it going?" you may be asking. Well, let's just say that it is quite possibly the most difficult test of willpower that I have ever endured. I want

There will be a complete breakdown of my six days on SMAK, no worries there!

And here I am, writing about food, watching the newest season of MasterChef, watching as my family enjoys food all around me - Chipotle, corn, chicken, pork chops, spicy sweet chili Doritos. I want it all. But for the next 3 days, I will leave that all to you wonderful people.

Until next time...happy eating! (Eat a little extra on my behalf!)

steamed cauliflower with lemon butter sauce

1 cauliflower head, about 2 pounds 2 tablespoons butter 1 small lemon (juice and zest) 1 tablespoon chopped parsley salt, for steaming water

  1. Trim the cauliflower: remove leaves and leaf stalks. Turn head over and trim out the center fo the core, but not so much that the florets fall apart.
  2. Head about 2 inches salted water in the bottom of a steamer. Put whole head in the steamer basket and cook just until sharp knife can pierce it with a slight resistance, 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the head. Don't over cook; it will continue to cook from residual heat.
  3. While the cauliflower cooks, heat butter in a small saucepan until it just begins to brown. This will not take very long - watch closely so it doesn't burn. Zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Add to browned butter. Chop parsley and add to butter.
  4. When the cauliflower is done, remove to serving dish and spoon sauce over. Slice into quarters to serve.