What We Ate Wednesday: Grillin’

July 23rd, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


I recently took a 3-day “stay-cation” with my someone special. We figured, well Santa Barbara is a hugely popular vacation destination – just because I live here doesn’t mean I can’t vacation here too! So that’s exactly what we did. And we planned our three days to look like this: one day for the beach, one day for the mountains, and one day sandwiched between them for absolutely nothing at all. The chillaxin’ day.

But as it turns out, neither of us are very good at doing nothing at all. Silly type-As. So we filled our “nothing” day with all sorts of kitchen witchery, which we both adore (creative collaboration at its finest!), and spent the hours conceptualizing and executing an epic barbecue. Here’s how it went down:


Priorities, people. First thing we did was make coffee – iced of course – and spent a goodly chunk of the morning lying around like lazy laze-balls.

When the hunger pangs came strong enough to motivate us into action, we decided that there was simply nothing else that we wanted except for big sloppy plates of tofu scramble and home fried potatoes. Which, alas, we did not have the fixin’s for.

A trip to the store was in order, and I made us this little breakfast appetizer to hold us over:


Avocado and heirloom tomato, with olive oil, green onions, and toasted almonds. Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

It was the perfect little teaser from our Farmer’s Market haul that we’d gotten the day before – a prelude of all the amazing produce that this day would bring.

A quick trip to the store and we were back, hungry and ready for brunch lunch.


Into the oven: golden taters and onions with olive oil, salt, and a Mexican spice blend.

Prepping the toppings.

While the food cooked, I made a giant juice for us to share. Because every meal is better with green juice!

Candy cane beets.

Giant juice with a bunch of cilantro, 2 candy cane beets plus their greens, and 2 large apples.

And then finally, breakfast. Er, well, “breakfast”.


Tofu scramble with grilled bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, and red onions, plus black olives and fresh spinach, topped with melted vegan cheese, fresh cilantro, avocado, and heirloom tomato. Oven-roasted golden potatoes with onion and Mexican spices, topped with green onion, avocado, and heirloom tomato. It was so good I wanted to cry.

After a meal as magical as that, you’d think that food would be the last thing on our minds. But nope, back into the kitchen we went. We had grillin’ veggies to prep! Here’s some of what was on the night’s menu . . .


Baby bok choy in homemade veggie broth, tamari, crushed heirloom red garlic, minced ginger, red chili flakes, and smoked salt.

Fennel bulb in Aperol, rice wine vinegar, white miso paste, and lemon juice.

Baby portobello caps in red wine, crushed heirloom red garlic (lots!), lemon juice, Himilayan sea salt, and cracked pepper.

Tofu steaks in tamari, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke – my “bacon” recipe. These steaks were also studded with garlic slivers, right before they went on the grill.

After all that food prep, we had an important errand to run. See, up until that day, I’d had no outside seating in my back yard. But finally, finally I was inheriting a table! A beautiful old well-worn and gorgeous teak table – hence the celebratory barbecue.

We brought it home tied to the roof of my car:


And toasted our success with another round of iced coffee – rice whip topped this time:


**As an aside, that Califia almond milk is the best I have ever tasted, by far. It’s insanely good. Also, they just came out with this which makes me want to cry the happy tears.

In the afternoon we made and shot a new addition to the Sunday Morning Cocktail series, and before we knew it, it was time to get started cooking again.




We worked slowly, enjoying the evening. There was music, and dance breaks. It was a perfectly warm July night, just a bit of an ocean breeze, and Harley snapping at the Junebugs. Yes, perfect, I think.

Baby russets, par-boiled.

Tossed in a sauce of avocado and Nayonnaise with wasabi powder and sea salt.

Asparagus spears and zucchini strips, with olive oil, crushed garlic, sea salt, and savory.


Round one!


It got harder to take pictures as the sun disappeared, which it did, as we continued our grillin’ into the dark of night. It was a late dinner, and lovely like that. Nibbling as we worked, we kept our hunger at bay until it was finally time to dive in.


Amazing. The corn and the tofu were the surprise standouts, with the portobellos as a close third.

Oh, and we mustn’t forget!


Farmer’s Market peach, soaked in the leftover “bacon” marinade, and grilled to perfection.

Grillin’ and chillin’. A good day, indeed.

  • http://coconutandberries.com/ coconutandberries

    That sounds like the best day! Planning and eating food is always fun, especially in the company of someone special :) I could really go for some grilled tofu and vegetables right now.

  • http://howtofeedawookie.blogspot.com/ WookieWifey

    For the love of all that is holy, that baby bok choy looks AMAZING! Nowhere here sells it and I crave it constantly!! You can get the massive ones, but they are never the same.

  • Lynn

    Sayward, I’m practically drooling here, what gorgeous meals, sounds like a perfect day!!!

  • Deirdre


  • Kielecia

    It looks like you both had a wonderful day! Thank you for sharing. :]

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    I think kitchen witchery is my new favorite action verb! And yes, both words are necessary, it’s a very specific kind of witchery.

    Everything looks amazing, but what I can’t take my eyes off of is your table! Love love love it. Also, that iced coffee – as soon as you instagrammed it a few days ago, I did a search to find out how to get my hands on one. When I was in Chicago, I fell in love with this bottled iced coffee: http://shop.lacolombe.com/products/pure-black-cold-brew

    Nina’s always in charge of cleaning and re-husking corn before we soak it for grilling – her favorite part? Rescuing corn worms.

  • veganinbrighton

    I love a good stay-cay! Nick and I have one planned in a few weeks and I can’t wait. Your epic scramble and potatoes look delicious and tofu steaks and corn are two of my very favourite things to BBQ.

  • http://www.sweetandsavoring.com/ Christy Milford

    I’m in awe- so much abundance! So much flavor, and it’s clear that so much effort & love was put into your meals as well. You’re inspiring me to branch out with my food choices!

  • http://without-a-map.com AprilInAutumn

    Sometimes everyone’s like… we’re grillin’ up some meat! What are you going to have? And I’m all like… a veggie burger? I guess?

    Everything on here looks so amazing. I want to eat it all right now and I’m totally going to be grilling this weekend!

  • Leigh

    That all looks amazing! I love that you used Aperol. We have a bottle that hasn’t been touched since my husband used it in one of his weirdo cocktails.

  • http://vegmomof4.blogspot.com/ April

    Love Love Love It!!!

  • Kylie – FotV

    That looks absolutely delicious! I’m going to try that tofu recipe.