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Now garden is growing, think about grilling it

Whether your garden inhabits a windowsill, a patio, a backyard, acreage, or your local farmer’s market, there is a way to grill just about any garden goodie, from asparagus to strawberries, apples to sugar snap peas — even edamame.

Vegetables and fruits retain their color and flavor much better when cooked on the grill. They taste wonderful. And they’re easy to prepare.

Grilling gives even familiar foods a new and exciting makeover — and your backyard barbecue a colorful edge.

Take that summer classic, coleslaw, for instance. Instead of mixing up grated raw cabbage, try cutting a head of cabbage into quarters and grilling them. When you chop up the cabbage and drizzle it with a vinaigrette, you’ll have a slaw with the crunch of raw but the flavor of the grill.

Fruits turn juicier and tastier after a little time over a hot fire. Toss a large bunch of seedless grapes on the grill, then turn with tongs once each side has good grill marks — grilled grapes are wonderful to serve on a platter with a cinnamon and sugar creme fraiche. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in grapes so they taste almost like toasted marshmallows.

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Grilled Summer Slaw with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

Grilled coleslaw? You bet. Grilled cabbage wedges acquire terrific flavor while retaining their crunchiness. Dress the coleslaw right before serving, as the dressing makes the cabbage wilt.

This slaw goes well with a steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, or fish that you can also grill right after the cabbage.

Makes 8 to 10 servings 8 green onions, tops trimmed 1 large head cabbage, tough outer leaves removed, cored and cut into 8 wedges 3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled and divided 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/3 cup cider vinegar 1 teaspoon celery seeds 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Prepare a hot fire in your grill. Brush the green onions and cut sides of cabbage with oil. Grill the green onions on one side for 2 to 3 minutes and remove to a platter. Grill the wedges of cabbage for about 4 or 5 minutes on each cut side, turning once for a total of 8 to 10 minutes until they have good grill marks on both sides.

Finely chop the grilled cabbage and coarsely chop the green onions. Combine them in a large bowl. Let cool, then stir in half of the Gorgonzola. In another bowl, whisk together the garlic, vegetable oil, vinegar, celery seeds, salt, pepper and mustard. Add the remaining Gorgonzola and stir to blend. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Source: Adapted from The Gardener and the Grill by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”