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Julie Van Rosendaal's recipes for July 28, 2015

Grilled French toast 2.jpeg

Breakfast on the Grill

Most often, backyard barbecues are fired up to cook meat - burgers and steak, generally - and almost always used at dinnertime. The fact that cooking outdoors doesn't heat up the house makes me want to use it all times of the day - including the morning, on weekends when we linger over breakfast. Brunch is a great way to get together with family and friends and reconnect with your bare feet in the grass - and if you cook the whole thing on the grill, no one will be stuck inside in the kitchen. For breakfast, try cooking French toast on the grill; throw some chicken or breakfast sausages or a couple of ham steaks alongside, and top it all with warm, juicy grilled fruit.

Grilled Frittata

canola oil or butter, for cooking

1 to 1 1/2 cups filling: cooked and chopped asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, red peppers, zucchini or spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, leftover roasted veggies, chopped tomato, green onion, or fresh herbs, cooked spaghetti, cooked crumbled sausage, ham or bacon

5-6 large eggs

a handful of grated cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Parmesan, crumbled feta or goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your grill to medium-high with a cast iron skillet on it.

Heat a drizzle of oil and/or butter in the skillet. If you have any ingredients that need to be precooked, sauté them in the pan for a few minutes, until they're tender or cooked through. If you like, grill sausages or ham slices, or veggies like zucchini, purple onions and peppers. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the veggies, turn the heat down (alternatively, move the skillet to one side and turn that side off, but leave the other side on so that it can bake using indirect heat) and close the lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is just cooked through. If you like, sprinkle with more cheese and close the lid for a minute or two, until it melts.

Serves 4-6.

Grilled French Toast

All types of bread work here, but make sure it's cut thick - sourdough, multigrain, challah and raisin bread are all delicious, or try cinnamon buns, cut in half crosswise. Whichever bread you choose, it should be at least a day old - fresh bread tends to make mushy French toast.

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

4 thick slices day-old bread

Cinnamon (optional)

In a shallow bowl, stir the eggs, milk and vanilla together with a fork. Brush the grill with oil and preheat it to medium-high.

Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, coating both sides well and letting it soak in. Pick up the slices and let the excess egg drip off; then place them in a baking dish to take them outside. Sprinkle them with cinnamon if you like.

Grill the French toast until it's until on both sides, about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the second, flipping as necessary. Close the lid to create an oven environment, which will help them cook through. Serve them right away with syrup and fresh fruit, or keep them warm on the top rack of the grill or in a 200°F oven while you cook the rest.

Serves 4.

Grilled fruit: cut peaches and mangoes in half or in wedges, pit them and place cut-side down on the grill until softened and grill-marked. For smaller, more fragile fruits, make a pocket of foil: tear off a square of aluminum foil, pile halved strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or other soft fruit in the middle and sprinkle with sugar. Pull the sides of the foil up and fold over to enclose the fruit; fold over the ends tightly as well. Toss directly onto the grill and flip occasionally until heated through. Open carefully and pour the warm, syrupy fruit over ice cream, cake or French toast.

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