Creamy Lemon Kale Salad

creamy lemon kale salad

Sometimes you just want a good hearty salad to eat in the hot summer heat, especially when it’s made with some of your own fresh garden produce, in this case it’s a kale salad.

Yes, we over did it again with the kale, we grew too much this year!

My freezer is now stocked with kale leaves that I can break off and put into soups and stews in the dead of winter, I’ve given some away, made pestos, smoothies, you name it.

For salads, I like to pick the leaves when they’re nice and tender, wash it real good, remove the tough stems and then spin it dry, I then store a bunch in a big zip bag and keep it nice and cold in my fridge, ready to use when ever I want.

creamy lemon kale salad

There’s no real recipe for this salad but the colorful, combo of ingredients I used were;

A mixture of curly and tuscan kale, chopped into bite size pieces, red and orange pepper strips, sliced cucumbers and radishes, olives, red onion, green onion, avocado, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, toasted sliced almonds and roasted garbanzo beans.

creamy lemon kale salad

For the roasted garbanzo beans, just open up a can, drain well, toss with olive oil, granulated garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper, then onto a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven, roast until crunchy and crispy, around 30 minutes.

creamy lemon kale salad

The creamy lemon dressing is so easy to make, I’m almost embarrassed to tell you…

Take a few heaping tablespoons of good mayo, add in 1 small garlic clove that has been grated on a micro plane, whisk in some real fresh lemon juice to thin it out and get a nice consistency, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the dressing on top, toss and enjoy, that’s it!

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Summer Tomato and Corn Tart

summer tomato and corn tart

Tomato season is finally here, and nothing compares to the taste of a summertime vine ripened tomato! We have such a short season here in Chicago and I look forward to making this tart each year when the tomatoes are at their peak!

summer tomato and corn tart

The base of this tart is made with phyllo dough, I like using a phyllo crust because it’s light, flaky and gives you a nice crunch with every bite, it’s also very easy to work with because it’s so forgiving, you could put a ripped piece down and no one would know the difference. I always have a box handy in my freezer, just follow the directions for defrosting before you want to use it.

Like I said, I prefer using phyllo dough for this tart, it seems to even lighten it up a bit, but in the past I’ve even used a pie crust and it was just as good, so feel free to use whatever kind of crust you like.

tomato and corn tart ingredients

Because really, it’s all about the other delicious ingredients. Along with some juicy ripe tomatoes I added caramelized onions, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil and planks of corn.

summer tomato and corn tart

This is the perfect summertime meal, add a green salad and you’re all set!

summer tomato and corn tart

I’ve made this twice already and intend to make it a few more times this summer, I hope you give it a try!

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Summer Tomato and Corn Tart
 
Make this delicious tart when tomatoes and fresh corn are at their peak in the summer
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Ingredients
  • tart pan with removable bottom, sprayed or brushed with olive oil, I used a 7 x 11, but you can use any size, just adjust the ingredients accordingly
  • 6 layers of phyllo dough adjusted to fit in the tart pan
  • 3 sweet onions, sliced, cooked down to a nice carmelization
  • tomatoes, sliced thin, preferably done on a mandoline, enough so you can overlap each piece, you can also use some cherry tomatoes cut in half to place in between the sliced tomatoes
  • shredded mozzarella,not the wet kind, enough to cover the bottom of the tart pan you use
  • 2 or 3 ears of steamed or grilled fresh corn, cooled and cut into planks
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • fresh basil
  • grated romano or parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Prep all the ingredients first, cook down the sliced onions in a skillet drizzled in olive oil, low and slow until a deep caramelization happens, could take around 30- 40 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Have your tomatoes thinly sliced.
  3. Have your corn cut into planks and set aside.
  4. Have your mozzarella shredded and ready to go.
  5. When every thing is prepped, open up the box of phyllo and start to layer tart pan using one sheet at a time, spraying or brushing each layer all over with olive oil making sure to fit it into the pan placing the phyllo up the sides as well.
  6. When the 6 layers are complete, spread shredded mozzarella all over the bottom covering completely, sprinkle with grated romano or parmesan and some chopped fresh basil all around.
  7. Take a fork and place the caramelized onions all over the shredded mozzarella, you will probably have some extra.
  8. Place the corn planks all around.
  9. Top with the sliced tomatoes, overlapping each to cover the whole tart, you can also add some sliced cherry tomatoes if you desire.
  10. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and sprinkle dried oregano all over as well, plus salt and pepper.
  11. Place tart in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for around 30 minutes or until phyllo is nicely golden brown and you can see the mozzarella all melted down.
  12. Let it rest before removing the bottom and cutting, I use a pizza cutter to cut through the phyllo.
  13. Garnish with more fresh basil.

 

 

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Plank Grilling with Fish

oak planked white fish

When you fire up the grill this summer don’t forget to throw on some fish, it makes for a nice light and healthy meal. I recently grilled a beautiful White Fish Filet on a Red Oak Plank.

oak planked whitefish

I’m a big fan of plank grilling, the wood infuses the fish with a delicious smoky flavor and it also keeps the fish nice and moist. The main thing to remember is to soak your planks at least two hours beforehand submerged in water to ensure there won’t be any flair ups on the grill.

I always grill my planked fish on indirect heat and cook it until opaque.

oak planked whitefish

There’s no real recipe, just keep everything simple. I brushed my filet with melted garlic butter, sprinkled it with paprika, then placed whole chives and fresh parsley leaves from my garden right on top, of course any herb combination would work as well, use whatever you like.

Take a few garden tomatoes, dice them up small, place in a bowl and add a few chopped herbs of your choice, add in some olive oil, salt and pepper and spoon it over the top while it’s cooking.

oak planked whitefish

All the juices mingle together along with the infused wood and create an amazing flavor!

salmon wrapped jumbo scallops

Here’s a brilliant idea that I can’t take credit for, Salmon Wrapped Jumbo Scallops, isn’t it pretty? I actually bought it like this, but it’s so easy to create yourself, which I’ll be doing  next time, or you might even want to ask your fishmonger to do it for you.

Three jumbo scallops with a strip of salmon wrapped between them and stuck on a skewer.

If you don’t want to stick them on a skewer, think about individually wrapping a strip of salmon all the way around each scallop, you can even use some thinner smoked salmon, why not?

This would be perfect for a nice intimate dinner party or special dinner, I think it’s really a pretty presentation.

salmon wrapped jumbo scallops

I cooked it on a cedar plank the exact same way I did the white fish, brushed with garlic butter, (no paprika) and then the tomato and herb topping. The slightly smoky cedar taste infused the salmon and scallops and it was a match made in heaven!

salmon wrapped jumbo scallops

Everything was so juicy and moist, I can’t wait to make it again, I hope you try it too!

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