Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grilled Vegetables in Foil

Don't we all just love-love-love grilled vegetables?! These are grilled in foil packets, a medley of fresh vegetables tossed in an Asian-style soy-ginger sauce. Just wonderful, this! The red cabbage is my very favorite!

No grill? You can cook them in the oven, too!

Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

Grilled Vegetables in Foil, mixed veggies in an Asian-style soy-ginger sauce. Recipe, tips, WW points at Kitchen Parade.
Easy Summer Recipes
This recipe is so quick and easy
that I'm adding it to a special collection of easy summer recipes
published every summer since 2009.
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A grill master this cook is not. Who else is happy with a giveaway grill free from the dealership when my dad upgraded vehicles awhile back?

But I’ve nailed vegetables cooked on the grill in foil. Many warm evenings, I toss chopped what’s-on-hand vegetables into a foil packet with the slower-cook sorts on the bottom, top with garlic, dot with butter, sprinkle with salt and shake with pepper. Thirty 30 minutes later, it’s supper time, no bun required.

Still, my admiration goes out to grillers who debate the merits of hardwood charcoal and briquettes, stoke their chimneys and produce great burgers, breasts and butts with such ease.

Maybe someday. Until then, here’s a favorite recipe for vegetables cooked on the grill in foil, one even a professional amateur can master.

ALANNA's TIPS I’ve experimented with less oil but 2 tablespoons is perfect for both flavor and texture. It’s a myth that fresh mushrooms should always be brushed, not washed. If mushrooms are to be cooked, wash them first without harming the cooked texture or color. The drier the vegetables, the better the vinaigrette adheres so be sure to pat vegetable dry if they've just been washed. Reynolds sells large heavy foil bags convenient for grilling these vegetables in a single leak-free foil container. No grill? No problem. Cook the vegetables in a casserole dish covered with foil at 350F for an hour.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time on grill: 20 – 25 minutes
Makes 5 cups, easily doubled for a crowd
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
    VEGGIES (about 8 cups total)
  • 2 ribs celery, 1” pieces on diagonal
  • 2 carrots, 1” pieces on diagonal
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed (see TIPS) and trimmed, caps broken into pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled, cut in 5 pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 5 strips
  • 1/2 head broccoli, stems peeled and cut into rounds, tops cut into florets
  • 1/4 head red cabbage (my favorite!), cut in small wedges

Heat the grill. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl.

Wash and drain vegetables before slicing (see TIPS). Add vegetables to vinaigrette as sliced, tossing to coat. (Stop here if prepping in advance.)

Tear two foil sheets about 11x18. Divide vegetables between the sheets; fold to create packets and seal tightly. Place on grill rack for 20 – 25 minutes til vegetables are cooked but still tender crisp and colorful. Carefully open packets (they'll be hot!) and serve immediately.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 120 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 14g Carb; 4g Fiber; 492mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2, WW PointsPlus 3

How to Wrap Vegetables in Foil Packets

(hover for detail)
1 - Divide vegetables 2 - Fold foil over 3 - Fold again & seal


En papillote [pah-pee-YOHT, PAH-peh-loht] refers to food baked inside a wrapping of parchment, foil or another material. Lots of people like to cook food in foil because it's so easy. Plus, the clean-up is simple and the cooking time is short because the heat is concentrated. So I've started to collect recipes for food cooked in foil. If you have a favorite recipe that fits this style, I'd love to test it out!


Last week, cookbook author Steve Raichlen was in town to promote his new book, The Barbecue! Bible 10th Anniversary Edition. Is this the summer, finally, to learn how to grill? Wish me luck!


Many thanks for this recipe to my cousin Diane, who's a great cook in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am so lucky that my family so generously shares so many favorite family recipes. Thank you, all!


To mark Canada Day on July 1, Canadian food bloggers are collecting Canadian recipes for Mmmm...Canada; this is my contribution. I am much proud of my Canadian heritage and appreciate that Canada bestows dual citizenship. Still, my 'Canadian' recipes are few and far between because for me, Canada isn't a foreign place, it's just family, it's just the place across the river. (My dad's house sits just across the river from Ontario: swimmable in the summer, walkable in the winter.) Canadian readers (there are a lot of you!) may be amused at the recent good-natured finger-wagging from a Canadian who took issue with the authenticity of my mother's recipe for Butter Tart Bars. Others will be moved by the OCHER-Yaya, a gathering of Canadian women, friends since the 1950s, and their daughters at my house in St. Louis just last month. More Canadian Recipes!

Hot Off the Grill

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Berry Baby Back Ribs Grilled Pepper Salad
~ more grill recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ more grilled vegetable recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

More Recipes for Summer Vegetables

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Shredded Zucchini with Thyme Those Pink Potatoes Confetti Potato Salad

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finnish Summer Soup – Kesäkeitto

The Recipe: A taste of summer sunshine, the Finnish classic recipe for "summer soup," Traditionally, its milky broth is packed with the season's first tiny garden-fresh vegetables: sumptous, that tradition. Me, I make Finnish Summer Soup all summer long with all kinds of vegetables: we lap it up, one potful after another.

The Conversation: I learned about Finnish "kesäkeitto" (kesä meaning summer, keitto meaning soup, in Finnish) when I lived in Finland as an exchange student.

Finnish Summer Soup aka Kesäkeitto ♥, perfect new summer vegetables suspended in a milky broth, make it all summer long.

After graduating from high school, I spent a year as a Rotary International exchange student.

I was dead-set on my first choices for host countries, South Africa and Norway. My third choice, Finland, was added to the list only because Rotary insisted on three countries and my dad, like many in the Greatest Generation, held Finns in high regard because Finland was the only country to repay its war debt. But when I was matched to Finland, I sobbed and sobbed, "I'll never learn the language. It's too hard."

As life goes, I did learn to speak the notoriously difficult Finnish – and Finland both fit and came to define my northern soul.

(But the food, Alanna, get to the food!)

This soup is a classic Finnish classic recipe. It is called "summer soup" (kesä = summer, soup = keitto, pronounced [keh-sa-kay-toe], pronouncing the sa with a hard a, like sad without the d) because it uses the very first baby vegetables from the garden, the smallest, the newest, the freshest. It uses so few ingredients, it's hard to believe that the result can be anything special. But trust me, this soup celebrates summer – it's glorious.

Wendy from the Scottish food blog A Wee Bit of Cooking also lived in Finland as an exchange student and calls kesäkeitto "sunshine in a bowl". Deinin, a Finnish food blogger who is much missed, says that kesäkeitto is controversial! Be sure to read the comments from the wonderful Finnish dog blog Life of Jajo in the comments below for more on the controversy! To my taste, why, there's no understanding. I a-d-o-r-e this summer soup!

FINNISH SUMMER SOUP is a perfect dish for Midsummer, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and one that the Finns and other Nordic souls celebrate with great abandon. But really, it's all about the vegetables and thus is a soup that all of us, no matter where we live, can enjoy, again and again, all summer long.

ALANNA's TIPS Recipes for kesäkeitto often call for cream and if ever a soup deserves the indulgence of cream, this is it. But it occurred to me that if one "starts" with skim milk, then "enriches" with cream stirred in, that we'll use "just enough" cream. That said, use the milk you have on hand. I often use whole milk and then skip the cream entirely. Or I use 2% milk and if there's no cream, I'll enrich each bowl with a small pat of butter that melts right there on top. I often play fast 'n' loose with the milky liquid. One potful was especially good, a 1:2 mix of whole milk and whey leftover from making another summer staple, Homemade Ricotta. Be sure to include some onion, even if it's a small amount of chopped onion. Onion really needs cooking, make it one of the longer-cook vegetables. In winter, this is actually a decent soup made with frozen vegetables, the bags of mixed vegetables where the bits of carrot and so on are all small in size. Believe it or not, this soup is actually good cold, too! Like many soups, FINNISH SUMMER SOUP's flavors develop if made one day and then served the next. But don't hesitate to serve it the same day. Since kesäkeitto uses a small volume of so many vegetables, you may end up with lots of leftover vegetables. Be sure to check out either Favorite Ingredients or A Veggie Venture's A-Z of Vegetables for ideas on how to best use them. Want to add some protein? Stir in some cooked smoked chicken.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Share a favorite recipe from your own international experience, send it via Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!


Milky broth with the freshest, newest vegetables from the garden
Hands-on time: 50 minutes
Time-to-table: 50 minutes
Makes 8 cups
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (don't skip)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups skim milk or 2% milk or whole milk
  • Water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or salt to taste)
  • 8 cups of tiny, fresh vegetables – I especially like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, new potatoes, zucchini, carrot, onion, asparagus tips, kohlrabi and onion but also think turnips, fennel, radishes, okra, corn and especially peas
  • Cream to taste – about 1 cup (omit if using whole milk)
  • Fresh dill, chopped (don't skip)

MILK BROTH Stir together the sugar, flour and salt in a pot large enough to eventually hold the soup. Slowly stir in the milk, a tablespoon at a time at first, until the mixture is smooth and liquid, then pour in the remaining milk. Gently heat heat the milk on medium heat, stirring it occasionally to distribute the heat, adjusting the heat up or down to keep things moving without allowing the milk to boil.

TINY VEGETABLES In a separate large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil.

Prep all the vegetables, cutting them into small pieces of roughly equivalent size but varying each vegetable's distinctive shape and color. Start with the vegetables that will take longer to cook, including ones like potatoes, carrot and kohlrabi, keep these separate. Finish with the more tender vegetables that will cook more quickly, including ones like zucchini, cauliflower florets and asparagus tips. It helps to have all the vegetables prepped before beginning to cook them.

Once the water boils, drop the longer-cook vegetables into the pot; let the water come back to a boil, then lower the temperature to let them slowly simmer, just until nearly done. Stir in the quicker-cook vegetables and cook until just done.

COMBINE Drain the hot vegetables, discarding the cooking water. Gently stir the vegetables into the first pot of hot milk. Bring the milk back up to temperature – but again, do not boil – for a minute or two.

Stir in cream to taste and warm through. Taste and adjust the salt to taste: be generous!

TO SERVE To serve, scoop a few vegetables into bowls, then top with broth and a sprinkling of fresh dill. Savor slowly, tasting that summer sunshine.

NUTRITION INFORMATION With 4 cups skim milk + 1 cup heavy cream, Per Cup: 191 Calories; 11g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 43mg Cholesterol; 390mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 2g Fiber; 11g Sugar; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 8 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1/2 cup (4g protein).
With 4 cups whole milk + no heavy cream, Per Cup: 112 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 12mg Cholesterol; 353mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 2g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 4 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = scant 1 cup (5g protein).
WOW. Sixteen years of nutrition calculations and Weight Watchers point calculations and I still totally missed that whole milk has so many fewer calories than a 5:1 blend of skim milk:heavy cream. My bad.
Adapted from The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. That's the original edition, the cookbook my Finnish mother gifted to my own mother the year I was an exchange student in Finland. It is a faithful representation of authentic Finnish cuisine, adapted for American ingredients and measurements. There's also a newer edition of The Finnish Cookbook. For all who'd like to know more about Finnish cooking, start with this lovely cookbook.

A Summer Tradition in Finland

Finnish Summer Soup aka Kesäkeitto ♥, perfect new summer vegetables suspended in a milky broth, make it all summer long.

More Summer Recipes from Finland

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Smoked Salmon Spread Caraway Cabbage Homemade Finnish Mustard
Zucchini Spiral 'Noodle' Salad Simple Grilled Salmon Finnish Meatballs
Finnish Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake Finnish Fruit Tart Estonian Apple Cake