Last month, Veg:ology turned two years old. Kyle, the Weber grill, and I celebrated with a backyard bash at our new home. It was a star studded event, featuring several local celebrities who were able to make the short trip from the farmers’ market to our house:
- Excellent Eggplant
- Zany Zucchini
- Heirloom Tomato
- Beautiful Basil
We entertained them with fun facts about the growth of Veg:ology, the little vegetarian cooking blog that could. Some things haven’t changed much since year one. Zucchini is still one of the top search terms that lead people to the blog.
Top 3 Search Terms
- Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Cupcakes have taken over the top spot from my beloved zucchini. I think we all know what needs to happen next. Zucchini cupcakes, anyone?
The most viewed post on Veg:ology is Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache. (Warning: these are seriously addictive.)
The most popular advice post is How to Save a Crumbled Cake. (I still owe this girl a proper birthday cake… maybe next year.)
Our honored guests roasted in the hot sun while I reviewed some pretty major events that occurred over the last year.
We moved to VegologyBlog.com.
We joined Facebook.
We attended our first blogger conference:
We had our first food photo published in National Geographic Traveler (iPad edition).
While sipping my celebratory glass of old vine zinfandel, I realized that my favorite part of cooking out is drinking and waiting. There is a whole lot of waiting involved in grilling, and who could resist a nice beverage while he or she waits? Grilling is not just a man’s sport; women can play too! With wine!
After my revelation, I wrapped up the sentimental bit of our trip down memory lane, and then removed the eggplant and zucchini from the grill for plating.
I don’t always eat my dinner guests, but when I do, I prefer to grill and stack them.
In lieu of a birthday cake, we had vegetable napoleons. I couldn’t imagine a more festive way to mark the occasion. Thank you to all the friends and family of Vegology who read, comment, cook, and share their experiences here. I have learned so much from the food blogging community, and the support I have gotten from other bloggers and from readers has been incredible. I wish I had more to give you to express my gratitude; for now, this recipe will have to do. Enjoy!
Grilled Vegetable Napoleons
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 – 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern, or Cannelini if you’re fancy)
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided (see directions for measurements)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 cup basil leaves, divided
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the grill.
- Brush both sides of each slice of eggplant and zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- When grill is ready, arrange the eggplant and zucchini slices directly on the grates. Grill until grill marks appear and vegetables appear cooked throughout, about 5 minutes per side on a charcoal grill, then remove.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, white beans, and garlic to the pan. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then over low heat for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over low heat. Chop 1/2 cup basil leaves then add to pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then cool and transfer to a food processer. Coarsely chop, then drain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Set basil oil aside.
- When the white beans are done cooking, transfer to a food processer. Add 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp water, and the lemon juice and oregano. Puree until smooth then add salt and pepper to taste.
- On a round plate, add 1/4 of the white bean puree. On top of the puree, build the following layers, in order: tomato, eggplant, mozzarella, zucchini, 2 leaves basil, then repeat. There should be enough to make 4 plates.
- Put a toothpick or skewer through the center of the stack to hold in place. Insert a rosemary skewer next to the toothpick and through the stack from the top to the bottom.
- Drizzle each stack with basil oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.