Grilled Kale Salad

grilled kale salad Who knew you could grill kale? I didn’t. It wasn’t until I saw this technique done in a book called, Hero Food by Chef Seamus Mullen’s, that I got inspired to do it. Actually, the minute I saw it I knew I had to try it, why not, I grill everything else!

garden kale We grow a ton of kale, we have it all over our garden, three different varieties so I’m always thinking of ways to use it up, as it keeps growing well into the fall. I’ve made kale chips in the past and I have to admit I didn’t like them at all, but I’ve since realized it was the way I made them, they lacked flavor. With a little more seasoning and a little more olive oil I’ve come to love those crispy little chips, maybe it’s an acquired taste I don’t know, but they’re very addicting if they’re made right!garden bounty Our tomatoes are finally getting red, it’s exciting to walk out into the garden everyday to see what kind of loot we have vine ripened and ready to pick. grilling kale Tossing the kale in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic, lemon zest and garlic gives you a nice base for a salad or just to eat as is.grilling kale The kale leaves hold up very well on the grill with the stems and all. Don’t walk away because it just takes one to two minutes per side. You could grill up a large platter in a few minutes!grilled kale Grilling brings out a rich smokey flavor with a texture that is crunchy and chewy at the same time, and it looks quite unique on a platter, something you don’t see often.grilled kale salad  As I said you could eat it right off the grill as a side dish to fish, poultry, beef or pork or you might want to break it up and toss it into a salad like I did.grilled kale with grilled veggies For my grilled kale salad I used vegetables that I had previously grilled, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, yellow and red peppers. In addition to that I added fresh cherry tomatoes and goat cheese to the salad with an extra drizzle of my vinaigrette over the top. Summertime freshness that is so good for you!

Grilled Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • Adapted from Chef Seamus Mullen's
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons, balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bunches of kale, washed and spin dried, any variety with big leaves will do
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, garlic, vinegar, juice, zest and kale. Toss until well coated.
  3. Lay kale side by side in a single layer on top of the grill until crispy, 1 - 2 minutes per side.
  4. Pile the kale in a big stack on a large platter or break up and place into a salad.
  5. For salad add grilled assorted veggies, goat cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes.
  6. VINAIGRETTE RECIPE to drizzle on top.
  7. 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic, 1 smashed garlic clove, a dollop of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ground pepper to taste. Whisk everything together.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2013/08/grilled-kale-salad.html

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Summer Salad Sides

Italian saladIf you’re having a BBQ then your going to need some side dishes, here’s a few that I’ve been making lately. When I make a salad I don’t fuss about exact measurements, I just grab a bowl or a platter, the size of which is always determined on how many people I’m feeding, then I just start cutting and tossing in all my favorite ingredients. If you love artichokes like me then add more, if you’re not crazy about onions, don’t add any. If I’m adding chickpeas I might want to start with a handful at first adding more as I go. That’s how I make a salad, so for these four salads I’m featuring I’m giving you the combination of ingredients I used but not the exact amounts, you can be the judge according  to your tastes!

For my ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD  which is also great as a starter because of all the antipasto ingredients. I added romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, green and black olives, red onion, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, diced provolone cheese, salami and cooked ditalini pasta. Vinaigrette dressing.

zucchini ribbon salad ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD with ASPARAGUS and CORN. Everything here is raw except for the grilled corn, After you dress it let it sit for an hour so all the flavors meld together.  It includes yellow squash and zucchini ribbons, ( that I make with my vegetable peeler) slices of baby zucchini, tender small asparagus cut diagonally, grilled corn, parmesan chards, (the more the better), toasted walnuts, basil and chopped chives. Vinaigrette or lemon olive oil dressing.

grilled potato saladGRILLED RED POTATO SALAD. This is a tasty side for steaks, ribs, pork and chicken. Pre-grill some red potato slices by cutting the top and bottom off of the potatoes then cutting into planks, toss in olive oil and place on your grill until tender. Grilled red, yellow and orange peppers, chopped bite size, Nicoise olives, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped green onion and fresh parsley. Vinaigrette dressing.
Italian vinagrette I get asked many times how I make my Vinaigrette so here it is,  3 parts good olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic, 1 smashed garlic clove, a dollop of dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ground pepper to taste. Whisk everything together. I always have a jar sitting in my fridge at all times!                                                                                                                                                                                                   quinoa saladGrilled Veggie Quinoa Salad. A great healthy lunch as well as a side. For this I used a tricolored quinoa that I precooked according to the package then I just added assorted and chopped grilled veggies, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, eggplant, red, yellow and orange peppers, chopped basil and lemon zest. Lemon slices for garnish. Lemon and olive oil dressing.
 How could something so simple taste so good? Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing. This simple dressing is one of my favorites! Fresh squeezed lemon juice plus a little zest, a small smashed garlic clove, whisk in some good olive oil, add salt and pepper, done! I taste as I go along checking for the right balance of juice vs olive oil, you’ll know when you get it just right!

Enjoy!

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Grilled Vegetable Tart with Phyllo

Have I told you how much I love using phyllo? It’s so forgiving and you don’t have to be so precise! It makes the most perfect, light and flaky, crunchy base for my grilled vegetable tart.
Grilled vegetables are a thing of beauty, I love all the colors, and the flavors are so enhanced by a simple brushing of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I try to grill them on a weekly basis then tuck them away in my fridge so I can incorporate them into my meals.
Once your vegetables are grilled this recipe is super simple. Grab a tart pan with removable bottom and brush with olive oil. Open a box of phyllo dough and take a phyllo sheet and place it into the tart pan, no worries if it rips, you can patch it up and no one will ever know! Brush each layer with olive oil then sprinkle with grated romano cheese and fresh ground pepper. Do six or seven layers like that.
When you get to the last layer add slices of cheese, I used an aged Asiago.  Arrange your grilled veggies on top and place in a 400 degree oven until phyllo is dark golden and cheese is melted. Mine took around 20 minutes or so.
Garnish with fresh basil and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano!
I served my tart with a spicy arugula salad on the side, simply dressed with fresh lemon and olive oil.
Buon Appetito!

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Easy Labor Day Weekend Ideas

Couscous salad topped with grilled veggies, serve with grilled pita and you’ll have the perfect lunch,

or serve it as a side with any roast you might be putting on the grill.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a platter filled with grilled veggies drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze!

A perfect side dish with any grilled meats.

Or slabs of grilled sweet onions with dollops of warm gorgonzola.

For an extremely fresh salad that you can’t stop eating, try this Zucchini Carpaccio

Salad. Paper thin slices of fresh zucchini tossed with baby arugula, shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil. Topped with toasted walnuts.

For a quick dessert take advantage of all the beautiful apricots that are still available.

Stuff them with sweetened mascarpone and plop a blackberry on top, drizzle with honey or agave and stick them under your broiler. Garnish with pistachio’s.

Keep it simple and savor every last bit of all the beautiful summer produce.

Buon Appetito!

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Baked Tuna with Herbacious Gremolata

This recipe can be adapted to any firm fish that you like. It goes equally as well with salmon, swordfish and a nice fillet of cod. I recently bought some fresh tuna steaks and couldn’t wait to use them for this.

Thirty minutes before you place your fish into the oven you’ll want to marinate it so all the flavors infuse. Place your fish into a baking dish, add sliced lemons, at least 4 crushed garlic cloves, dried oregano, white wine and olive oil.
Bake your fish in a preheated oven at 350 degrees, it took about 12 minutes for the tuna but time and temperature will vary according to the thickness and the type of fish you use.

While the fish is marinating start making your gremolata. The bold flavors come together with a generous handful of fresh parsley, basil, 1 garlic clove, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, a couple of tablespoons of rinsed and drained capers, a splash of red wine vinegar and drizzled olive oil to get the right consistency. I used my mini food processor and pulsed everything together and then drizzled in the olive oil.
Spoon the gremolata on top of your warm fish!

Another great use for the gremolata is to drizzle it over grilled vegetables, so be sure to make extra!
Buon Appetito!
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What to do with an over abundance of veggies!!

I just can’t resist buying veggies this time of year, I’m happy when my frig is stocked full of them, but I think I went a little overboard this past week! Knowing I had a busy week and weekend ahead I knew I had to cook these up, so I decided to fire up my grill.

I call this a Grilled Vegetable Torte, it’s so easy to prepare, it has a WOW presentation, and it goes fantastic with grilled meats. After grilling your veggies, which have all been brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper, layer them into an oiled spring form pan, any size will do it just depends how many veggies you have.

Each layer a different color, a different veg that is topped off with shredded parm or in this case pecorino romano, you might want to put a few basil leaves in between too. Repeat untill you get to the top. Press veggies down.

Cover and wrap the bottom of your pan with foil and place on a baking sheet in a 400F oven.
Bake for about a half hour, giving it enough time to melt the cheese which acts like “glue” and holds the veggies together when you slice it. Let it cool, unmold and eat it at room temperature. Garnish with shredded romano or your favorite cheese on top.

Don’t cut your veggies into small pieces, you’ll want to cut them into nice big slices it’s easier to layer that way.

Believe me it cuts into perfect wedges, just use a sharp serrated knife and take your time, pulling it out with a pie spatula. I would have showed you a wedge but I took this whole thing to a friends house for lunch, minus my camera.

Adding some grilled veggies and ripe tomatoes to orzo pasta along with fresh herbs and grilled shrimp tossed in a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing, makes this a light summer pasta salad.

Tomato Bread, this has great flavor and goes with just about anything! Take a good quality baguette, and scoop out a well down the middle, stick in some grape tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven till tomatoes are soft around 30 min. When the tomatoes pop the juice runs into the bread and flavors it. Garnish with fresh basil.
Hope these ideas help you out a little in using up any of your veggies you have laying around!
Buon Appetito!!
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GET YOUR GRILL ON!!

And make an EGGPLANT BRUSCHETTA

Simply brush a loaf of ciabatta bread with olive oil, and grill it till crisp. In the meantime, mix together your favorite goat cheese, along with some mascapone, to even out the tang.Mix in some lemon peel and fresh herbs, I used basil and parsley, set aside.

After you have grilled your eggplant that was also brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper, lightly toss it in a balsamic vinaigrette. ( a very important step!)

Now spread that creamy mixture over that crispy ciabatta and layer your eggplant on top, oh yeah, I also grilled up some red pepper for a little color and added flavor! Serve at room temperature. I hope you eggplant lovers try this!!

GRILLED ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD

This recipe is adapted from Michael Chiarello. Take a mandoline or a vegetable peeler and make length wise strips of zucchini. Toss them in some olive oil and place on grill, he suggested cooking only one side, but I did both. It cooks up fast so watch it, you just want it lightly wilted with light grill marks. Place them all on a platter. In the meantime, whisk together a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing, adding some crushed garlic, just a hint! of course salt and pepper to taste.

Now add fresh basil and parsley roughly chopped and toss into the zucchini ribbons. Pour the lemon dressing all over.
Top it off with some shaved Pecorino and toasted pinenuts! Can I just say, Yumm!

LILAC’S FROM MY GARDEN

Lilac’s are popping up everywhere here in Chicagoland! They are in full bloom right now, and the smell is incredible! These were taken from a big bush I have in my backyard. Thought I’d share this bouquet with all of you.
Note to all my blog friends… I will be gone on vacation for 1 week, we are flying to sunny California, ( Napa Valley & San Francisco, Woo Hoo!!) I will be sure to come back with plenty of pictures to share, after all it is a foodie lovers dream trip! So with that being said, I won’t be around to visit you till I come back, don’t worry you are all in my reader, I’ll look forward to catching up when I get back.
See you soon,
Marie

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ANTIPASTI

Spring has definitely sprung here in Chicago! finally!! So long winter! See ya! Ba Bye! Arrivederci! Ciao!!

Time to open up the windows, crank up the grill, clean off the lawn furniture, and enjoy the sunshine! And thats just what we did!

Heres a couple of appetizers we enjoyed over the weekend. CAPRESE EGGPLANT TOWER

Grilled eggplant
Fresh mozzarella
Ripe and juicy tomatoes
Red onion
Fresh basil
Brush eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill. You can either grill the red onion slice or just keep it raw. Stack in any order you want.

Drizzle everything with your best extra virgin olive oil, and don’t forget a couple slices of good bread. I like the holes you get with a chiabatta, it’s not doughy at all. Oh, and don’t forget to open up your favorite bottle of wine to enjoy with this.

GRILLED ZUCCINI WITH PESTO AND PINENUTS

Grill your zuccini, and spread on your favorite pesto! so simple, so good!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)

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MORE VEGGIES!!!!

It’s such a nice day today in Chicago, the weather is in the 70′s.

So I went outside and turned on my grill and cooked up the rest of my veggie’s I had laying around!! When the weather turns COLD, you won’t catch me out there! Instead ,I’ll be roasting them in the oven!!!!!
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