By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
A great perk of summer is eating outdoors. My husband and I do this as often as we can manage. About 7 p.m., he gathers up wood and gets a fire going in our old charcoal goal. As the wood burns down to coals, I prep. Then, we cook and eat slowly, sipping wine and beer, watching the sunset and sky darken to dusk.
What goes on the grill? Where does it come from?
Most of what we eat comes from our farm or the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. What goes on the grill depends on what’s in season at the market.
The centerpiece of most of our meals is a meat, farm-raised and brought to an ambient temperature, maybe brushed with a bit of Dancing Ewe Farm’s olive oil, maybe sprinkled with black pepper or garlic, maybe topped with finely chopped rosemary or sage.
The “maybes” are truly that. Options. The meats our farmers bring to market come from animals that feast on the flavorful bounty of outdoor pastures, and rarely require much to enhance their flavor. We rotate between chicken, goat, pork, fish, lamb, and beef, and often grill double portions so as to have leftovers for the next day’s breakfasts and lunches – or an indoor stir-fry or stew for dinner if it happens to rain.
While meat is the main course, the real stars are the sides: vegetables in all shapes, textures, and tastes.
I plan a supper’s vegetables around three basic cooking styles: roasted, sautéed, and right on the grill. Roasted is usually a starch – such as hakurei turnips, trimmed, wrapped in foil and cooked until fork-soft and slightly caramelized. For sautéing, try a bunch of seasonal greens such as tatsoi, tossed into a frying pan or wok with olive oil, lemon juice, and maybe chopped onion, green garlic, or chive. Stir fry the greens for 2-4 minutes until they have wilted. Right on the grill is anything that likes a slight singe. For instance, asparagus, cooked to a bright green, about two minutes.
Summer supper possibilities on the grill are endless. Try your own combinations and stop by the market to share your results.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Facebook Twitter, and Instagram, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities