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Fresh summer veggies, marinated and grilled

Recipe: Pick your garden favorites for a quick side dish

Marinated and grilled, summer vegetables make a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or steak. Choose whatever's in season.

Marinated and grilled, summer vegetables make a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or steak. Choose whatever's in season. Kathy Morrison

Yes, we're already into the season of "what do I do with all this zucchini?"

In my case, the prolific plant is the "Cube of Butter" yellow summer squash I'm growing for the first time this year. I've failed the last three years at finding a yellow squash I like, but I think this is finally the one. (Thanks for the seeds, Vivian!)

I have plenty of zucchini recipes, but I wanted something fast and a little dressier than plain  grilled zukes. This marinade recipe, adapted from a San Francisco Chronicle cookbook from years ago, is fast and flavorful. If you're already heating up the grill for chicken or steak, this is an easy addition.

My veggie combination, as listed below in the recipe, was quick-cooking, but if you're a fan of eggplant or another dense vegetable, you might want to par-cook pieces in the microwave first.

Other vegetables that would work well in this recipe: asparagus, tender green beans, scallions, or broccolini.

Veggies on grill
A more or less single layer of vegetables cooks
on the grill,

The marinaded veggies can be grilled almost immediately, but they take on more flavor sitting in the liquid for about an hour. They also can be marinated and refrigerated ahead of time.

One more note: Don't skip the fresh ginger -- it's a real punch of flavor.

Soy-marinated and grilled summer veggies

Serves 4 or more, depending on the amount cooked

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices

2 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices

1 yellow or red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 sweet bell pepper, cored and cut into half-inch wedges

Handful of mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

Handful of shishito peppers

Marinade:

1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Juice from half a fresh lemon or lime

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Place all the vegetables in a non-reactive dish or bowl, preferably with a flat bottom.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients, then pour the mixture over the veggies, making sure they get evently coated.

When ready to cook, lightly oil a vegetable grilling pan or rack (or any other pan that will keep the veggies from falling through). Heat the grill to medium high.

Lift the vegetables out of the marinade and place them on the grill in an even layer. Grill on the first side for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Note: Cooking times depend on the particular vegetables and how thinly they're prepared. Aim for crisp-tender vegetanles with some grill marks.

Remove the vegetables to a bowl or platter and sprinkle the cilantro over. Pass the marinade on the side if desired. 

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Garden Checklist for week of July 14

Your garden needs you!

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal, rock phosphate or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting. (But wait until daily high temperatures drop out of the 100s.)

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.

* Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers.

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