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Bring out grill for healthy fare

POSTED: July 14, 2013 8:00 p.m.
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Cooking ears of corn inside their own husks is a great way to get a scald on them.

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Summer is known as the cookout season, but my family’s gas grill gets some serious year-round use. We grill steaks, chops, burgers or vegetables at least once a week. It’s convenient to fire up the grill during the hottest months of the year, eliminating the need to use the oven or stove, which can unnecessarily heat up a home.
However, the grill isn’t just for meat and poultry. With all the great local produce in season in Coastal Georgia right now, there is no excuse not to throw some vegetables on the grill. Mix up your summer dinners by adding a few new recipes to your cookout routine.
There are lots of vegetables that are easy to grill by either placing them directly on the grill or by wrapping them in a foil “envelope” to cook over the grill. My family enjoys eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, potatoes, onions — the list goes on and on.
Many fruits also are great grilled. We do peaches, pineapple, bananas, apples, pears and — believe it or not — watermelon. A lazy summer afternoon is the perfect time to experiment with new recipes that could become year-round favorites.
Today, I will share an easy recipe for grilled corn. Fresh summer corn has always been one of my favorites. As a teenager, I worked at a roadside produce stand that sold local corn every summer. aThere is nothing quite like the smell of freshly picked ears.
Local stores have been stocking some delicious Georgia yellow, white and bi-color corn and have been offering it at great prices. There’s no better time to try this recipe. Grilling corn gives it a nice smoky flavor, and doing the cooking outside won’t overheat your kitchen.
This recipe does call for butter, which is perfectly fine in moderation. Just don’t over do it — a light brushing of butter over an ear of corn is all that is needed. Stick to real butter (preferably organic), not margarine. I like a peppery version, but if you aren’t a huge pepper person, simply omit it. The smoked paprika adds an intense flavor that will complement most barbecue meals. If you really like spice, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the butter mixture.

Tips for grilling produce:
• To keep your fruits and veggies from sticking to the grill, coat all produce with a even layer of olive or vegetable oil before placing it on the grill. The oil will add subtle flavor and keep the vegetables from sticking to the grill.
• Remember to keep seasonings simple. Olive oil, fresh herbs and spices are all that is needed to bring out the natural flavors of produce. Stay away from salt and any “grilling spice blends” that contain high amounts of sodium or MSG. These are not needed to boost flavor.
• Keep and eye on it. Don’t put your vegetables on the grill and walk away. Keep an eye on the veggies and watch for flare-ups that could burn the food before it is done.  
• Don’t add butter or sugar to fruit prior to grilling. These often cause flare-ups that can burn fruit.
• Most all berry varieties are soft and fragile and won’t hold up to grilling. Don’t worry, though — they make a great garnish to complement your grilled masterpiece.

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