Summer food is my favorite food. Baked beans, fresh corn, and of course BBQ! I would love to lay out by the pool while someone grills me up some delicious tofu, but sadly that’s not the world I live in. My studio apartment in Philadelphia isn’t the best at satisfying my summer needs, especially when it comes to outdoor cooking. So how do I quench my summer cravings? I fake my way to grilling! If I can whip up tasty summer delights in my tiny kitchen, anyone can!
1. Choose the right protein!
Tofu and tempeh are your best friends when it comes to grilling. They’re flat, pretty sturdy, and they absorb flavor well. Most of us can agree that seitan is delicious, but all of its beautiful lumps just don’t make for perfect grilling.
2. BUY A GRILL PAN
Okay, I’m sorry for yelling. But seriously, how do you not have a grill pan already? I can’t believe I wrote an article on grill pans four month ago and you still haven’t bought one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a grill pan will seriously change your life. If you don’t have the space for an actual grill, this is the next best thing. You simply place it on the stove like any normal pan and it gives you that charred look and flavor you’ve been longing for.
3. Liquid smoke
I’m pretty sure that this stuff is actually just liquid gold. It’s cheap, you can find it almost anywhere, and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Add a few drops of this to any tempeh marinade for a bacon-y, smoky (obviously) flavor. I love adding this to my homemade BBQ sauces. In the winter, I love adding it to things to remind me of summer and how it’s really not that far away. This kitchen treasure helps you achieve a smoky BBQ taste without all of the actual smoke.
If you’re not marinating your tofu and tempeh, you’re doing it wrong. I love Italian marinades on my grilled proteins. The potent flavors scream summer. Combined with the char you’ll get from your grill pan, what more could you ask for?
I love love love the Italian marinade recipe from Veganomicon. Isa, you’re a genious!
Italian Marinade (for one pound of tofu)
½ cup white wine or veggie broth
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
A handful of fresh basil
Mix all ingredients together in a shallow pan. Place your tofu in the marinade, making sure to cover all pieces as best as possible. Marinade for at least 30 minutes and grill it up!
5. Steal your neighbor’s grill
Okay, so maybe you shouldn’t do this one. In my building, all 26 tenants share a tiny deck on the back of the building. And hey, it just so happens that one of those people has a grill that they keep out back. I’ve been tempted to “borrow” the grill, and maybe one day I’ll ask. If you’ve got access to any small space and know someone with a grill, go for it!