By Christine Koh
It’s been nearly a year since my now 7-year-old daughter Laurel decided to become a vegetarian. We love to grill, but she’s never taken to burgers and dogs (whether meat or vegetarian) so this summer I wanted to figure out food that would she could enjoy when we’re grilling. For my second installment of Summer Kitchen Camp, I have two favorites to share: Korean marinated grilled tofu and grilled pizza.
Korean Marinated Grilled Tofu
This is my go to Korean marinade for chicken and beef (literally, I drop both types of meat in the same marinade bowl) and for a recent BBQ with friends I decided to try using some of this marinade on tofu. It was delicious – enjoyed by both the vegetarians and meat eaters present. The below recipe works for about two pounds of meat + one block of tofu if you’re cooking for a crowd. Otherwise, you can reduce the proportions if you want to just marinate tofu. Simply mix the following together in a large measuring cup:
- 1 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1-2 inches of ginger, roughly chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions (optional)
Slice a block of extra firm tofu into slabs (4-6 work well) and pour some marinade over – let sit for about a half hour, flipping midway through. Toss tofu on the grill along with some vegetables drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and you’re good to go!
How kids can help: Kids can measure and mix the marinade and if they are facile with knives, slice the tofu.
Easy Grilled Pizza
I recently my hand at making grilled pizza and it was a huge hit. You can make your own dough and sauce, but if you’re crunched for time, premade dough and pasta sauce works great.
This is a fun project to involve kids in, and I love how quickly the pizza cooks on the grill (perfect when you’re tossing things together after a busy work day) and that it saves on oven use during the warm summer months.
- One batch of pizza dough (your favorite homemade or store bought recipe; I used whole wheat dough from Whole Foods)
- Sauce (your favorite homemade or store bought recipe)
- Shredded cheese
- Your favorite toppings (I laid out bowls of chopped zucchini, bell pepper, corn, and roasted potatoes leftover from a different meal)
1. On a cutting board, cut dough into four pieces and stretch out as thin as possible, flouring the dough and cutting board to prevent sticking. I decided to divide the dough primarily because I was wary of trying to negotiate a full pizza on the grill for my first time trying this technique. As it turned out, splitting the dough not only made sliding the dough on/off the grill easy, but my 7-year-old loved taking orders for different mini-pizzas.
2. Fire up your grill. When ready, toss the prepared dough rounds on; you may need to do this in stages depending on the size of your grill. Keep a close watch, lifting the underside of the dough with a spatula to check firmness. The dough will cook quickly; once firm (lightly toasty), flip over and cook briefly to firm up that side as well. This will only take a few minutes per side.
3. Slide dough rounds onto large cutting boards and layer on the sauce (use a light hand so the crust doesn’t get soggy), cheese, and toppings. Then transfer the dough rounds from the cutting board back to the grill and close the grill cover. Check frequently; pizzas should be ready in about 5 or so minutes, once the cheese is all melted on top. Remove from the grill and ENJOY!
How kids can help: If your kids are facile with knives, they can help prep the toppings. Otherwise, taking “orders” and building the pizzas is the real fun here!
Christine Koh is a former music and brain scientist turned writer, editor, designer, consultant, and conversationalist. She is currently writing her first book, Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less. She tweets about it all at @bostonmamas.