Every Spring, I anticipate the start of Lodi’s beloved Farmers’ Market. Banners line the downtown Lodi streets, reminding the locals of opening day. The market runs for three months every Thursday, beginning on May 18th and ending on August 31st. Booths open at 5 pm and shut down by 8:30. I love this local summer tradition because it offers Lodians fresh seasonal produce from certified local farmers.
As I walk down School Street with my mom and friends, live music entertains us as we browse the different vendor booths. We enjoy the array of aromas in the air, from fresh kettle corn popping in large kettles, to the smoke billowing from the grilled sausage dog booth. Taking a closer look, I notice the men grilling the sausage actually poke holes into the sizzling meat on the bbq, allowing the juices to hit the hot coals and fill the air with a smoky bbq aroma. There are plenty of places to quench our thirst on hot summer evenings – local brew pubs, outdoor patios for wine tasting, freshly made lemonade, and even shave ice for the kids!
The Lodi Farmers’ Market is the inspiration behind this week’s recipe. The goal is to feature some of my favorite veggies in season right now, creating a beautiful rainbow of colors with sweet red onions, orange bell peppers, yellow summer squash, and deep green zucchini. There is nothing better than fresh, seasonal grilled veggies along with your meat of choice, and skewers are a great way to combine these wonderful ingredients over the bbq!
The Bull Signature Stainless Steel Skewers are user friendly and very easy to use. Their flat, extra wide design prevents the food from slipping off and spinning while grilling and turning the skewers on the bbq. These skewers guarantee that all sides will be cooked evenly. You will look like a pro using these! They are even easier to handle with the use of the Bull Pit Mitt. The mitt allows me to grab the ends of the skewers with ease, so I can easily remove the hot skewers off the grill without burning my hands.
In addition to the skewers, I want to share one of my new favorites – grilled avocado! Cut an avocado into halves, add some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill them on a hot bbq. Grilling takes the flavor and texture of the avocado to another level, and it pairs nicely with the grilled skewers. Try it – I guarantee you will love them!
Tips from the Chef for grilling avocado:
- When picking out an avocado, make sure it is firm to touch, yet ripe enough to eat. I learned a tip from my sister, and it works every time. If you take off the stem, and the skin of the avocado underneath is nice and white, the avocado is ripe and green inside. If the skin underneath the stem is brown, this means it is old and will have bruise marks once cut open.
- Make sure your grill grates are clean. Once you have preheated the grill, run the Bull Soft Grip Handle Big Head Grill Brush over the entire surface area, removing any leftover food that may be stuck from previous dinners.
- Take a paper towel with some oil on it and run it across the clean, hot grill grates. This will keep the avocado from sticking.
- Once you add the avocado to the grill, let it sit there and get nice char marks on it before turning. The less you move it, the better. At most, you will only flip it twice to cook before taking it off.
- Once the grilled avocado is done, top off with some more evoo, salt, and pepper, and serve alongside the farmers’ market skewers. This fresh, heart-healthy dinner will surely make your dinner guests come back for more.
- 4 each (2.5 - 3 pounds) New York style chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 16 gourmet medley, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 4 small red sweet onions, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 green zucchini, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 2 orange bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 yellow squash, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 2 large avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into halves
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- Wash and clean all the veggies and cut into desired dimensions listed above.
- Cut the pork chop down into 1-inch cubes. Each skewer will get 1 chop each.
- Thread the veggies onto the skewer, adding the pork between each veggie layer. Tip: for beautiful presentation, I add the veggies in “rainbow order” (red, orange, yellow, green, purple).
- Brush all the skewers with evoo and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn the Angus Grill onto medium- high heat on one half of the grill.
- Grill the skewers, turning evenly, until completely cooked, around 10 - 12 minutes total.
- Once done, turn off the heat and place into a container and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Turn the other side of the grill onto medium-high heat to preheat and follow the Chef’s tips on how to grill a perfect piece of avocado.
- Once the avocado is finished, about 8 minutes total, turn off the heat and carefully remove the avocados from the grill.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
♥ Chef Amy