With summer officially here, it is time to break out the grill.  I know there are folks who grill all year long but I really don’t enjoy grilling enough to want to do it in snow and cold. (You need to realize my grill is behind my house and if it were snowing I’d have to get a path shoveled to get to it.)

So at the beginning of the season, I do the routine maintenance of cleaning the grill and testing all the components to make sure it is in working order.  I take out every grate, flavorizing bar and shine the outside until I see myself.  I look at my tools for and trays and make a list of things that may need updating and those that just need a good washing.  It is a bit of a chore but I know after I grill my first meal of the summer, it will be worth it….it better!!!

I got everything together to grill the other day and POOF.  During the preheat, the inside of my grill was BLACK.  It looked like someone had cleaned a chimney and dumped all the soot in my grill.  There wasn’t a sign that it had been cleaned and it was actually dirtier than it was to begin with.  I was furious!!!!

I knew there was no grease fire because it had just been cleaned but there was something very off. I looked at it more diligently and found that one of my burners was compromised.  By compromised, I mean, a mouse made a house in the front of the grill and there was stuff blocking my air tubes.  The good news was that I didn’t find his little mouse corpse in my grill (I was mad at him but I wasn’t wishing him dead….maybe just a little whisker damage…but not death.)

Luckily, the other two burners work but there is no way that grill is getting hot enough to cook meat to a safe temperature and my new burner won’t get her for a few days.  Dang it.  (Actually, I’m thinking of bigger swear words…you know the kind they use on HBO.) The weather was PERFECT for grilling (not too hot, not too cold), what should I do?

I looked in my fridge and I had a ton of veggies (eggplants, peppers, zucchini).  Why don’t I just have a grilled veggie dinner?  Simple and I don’t have to worry about a “safe” temperature.

This is where the magic happened (in my mind I am now seeing little stars and hearing a harp…it is either a great visual or my blood sugar is really low)….I cut the eggplant into even sized rounds (about a ½ inch wide) and brushed them lightly with olive oil. I grilled them over a medium high flame for about 5 minutes with the grill lid closed.  Mind you, you don’t want them mushy or you won’t be able to flip them. You want to see some grill marks and for them to be a little soft.

Flip them and then….wait for it…brush with a little tomato sauce and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. (You may need to adjust your heat on your grill….I was working on two burners over medium heat).

Grill for another 3 minutes and then top with some fresh mozzarella and another swipe of your sauce.  Close the lid for a minute or two so it melts and ta-dah….you have a healthier grilled version of eggplant parmesan!!!!

This was one of the best dinners we had in a long time.  I made some little toasties on the side and called it dinner.  It was great….the eggplant parm acted like our “meat” or main entrée, the grilled peppers and zucchini were our “veggies” and the toastie was our “carb.”

The nice thing is that there is no real recipe for this….it was essentially just slicing an eggplant and having sauce and cheese ready.

I’m still waiting on my grill part to arrive. I’m not looking forward to dissembling the grill again (and I’ll have to give it a scrub down to get rid of the soot and the mouse corpse….just kidding….he was incinerated…just kidding again…maybe I do wish him gone) but meanwhile I will look forward to a couple more vegetarian meals.  (Unless I find that mouse who caused the damage….he might be the entrée….mu-wha-haha!)