I am in no way, shape or form a vegetarian, nor do I think I could ever be one. My love for food is too far and wide to make room for any limitations. I do, however, like to eliminate the meat portion of a dish sometimes and replace it with something that holds up just as well. Portobello mushrooms are a great alternative to meat in that they have a similar taste and texture. This entire meal was either completely cooked on the grill or finished on the grill. Grilling is a great method to achieve the same flavors without actually having to eat meat.
For the mushrooms:
4 portobello caps
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
For the artichokes:
For the potatoes:
3 potatoes, I used russets
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 individual sized Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped
Olive oil, splash
Start by preparing the artichokes because these take the longest. First, set aside a bowl filled with water and squeeze the juice of 1-2 lemons into the water. Toss the entire squeezed lemon into the water as well. As you clean each artichoke, place it into the lemon-water. This will prevent the artichokes from oxidizing. If you miss this step, the artichokes will turn brown right before your eyes. Peel the outer leaves from the artichoke until you reach the more tender inner leaves. Using kitchen shears or scissors, cut the pointy tips off of each leaf. Turn the artichoke on its side and using a sharp knife, cut the top off to get rid of the remaining tips. Cut the artichoke in half and remove the choke. This is the furry mess that is in the center. Do not forget to remove this. They call it a “choke” for a reason. It is said that the chokes do not have to be removed from baby artichokes because they have not had the chance to fully develop. I think it is better to remove it. It is altogether more appealing without it. At this point, remove the stem and all dark green parts that are exposed. Your cleaned artichoke should look like this:
Leave the artichokes to soak in the lemon-water while you prepare the other components of the meal.
Pour all the ingredients into a large freezer bag to begin marinating the mushrooms. Make sure the mushrooms are coated well and then place the bag into the refrigerator.
Clean the potatoes under cold water and dry them with a paper towel. Lightly scrub the skins to ensure they are fully clean. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and then in half again, making wedges. Place the potato wedges into a large pot and cover with cold water. When the water comes up to a boil, season with salt. Boil the potatoes until they are just done. You do not want the potatoes to be too soft because you need to transfer them onto the grill. While the potatoes are still hot, brush each one with olive oil and then season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.
At the same time that you are boiling the potatoes, bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the artichokes and then season the water with salt. Allow the artichokes to boil for about 10 minutes. Drain the artichokes. Coat each artichoke with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, garlic and scallions. Add the juice and zest of one lemon. Drizzle in enough olive oil to smooth the dip and thin it out. Finish by mixing in some salt, pepper and fresh dill, to taste. I originally intended for this dip to be used on the potatoes and to dip the artichoke leaves into, but it also tastes great on the mushrooms.
Place the potatoes and artichokes on the grill. At this time, remove the portobellos from the refrigerator. Place the mushrooms on the grill. After a few minutes, turn all the vegetables to continue grilling on the other side. The mushrooms only take 1-2 minutes on each side. Since the potatoes and artichokes are already cooked through, you basically just want to achieve some nice charring and grill marks. Remove everything from the grill and serve immediately.
Eat your vegetables!
Enjoy, Xristina Marie
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© 2011 Xristina Miros