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 sun set and sky darken to dusk.
What goes on the grill? Where does it come from?
Most of what we eat comes from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market or our farm. What goes on the grill depends on what’s in season.
The centerpiece of most of our meals is 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.
With meat as the main course, vegetables in all shapes, textures, and tastes enhance the overall meal.
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 sautéed, 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, zucchini, cooked until tender with a blackened patten from the grill.
Summer supper possibilities on the grill are endless. Try your own combinations and stop by the market to share your results.
On Wednesdays, locally raised meat and poultry may be found at Ramble Creek Farm, Slate River Farms, and Squashville Farm. On Saturdays, Elihu Farm, Lewis Waite Farm, Longlesson Farm, M&A Farm, and Ramble Creek Farm. Fish and seafood may be found at Pura Vida Fisheries. And, cured meats not for grilling may be found at Dancing Ewe Farm.