Grilled Artichokes

IMG_2331A favorite restaurant in town serves grilled artichokes as an appetizer during the summer that are positively heavenly.  It’s a guarantee that I will order them so after my Birthday dinner comprising of said Grilled Artichokes, I was determined to re-create them at home.  The result was perfection!

Honestly, they are so easy to make you just need to have the time to boil the artichokes first before throwing them on the grill.

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These should be a staple of everyone’s entertaining menu during the summer.  Plus they are so pretty that you hardly need a centerpiece for decoration; instead you eat it!  Lemons in a bowl are out, Grilled Artichokes are in!

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Try these, you will not be disappointed.  Unless you don’t like artichokes and then you have bigger problems!

 

Grilled Artichokes with Aoili – Serves 4

*Make the Aioli ahead of time and let sit in the fridge while the artichokes are cooking/grilling.

Aioli

  • 1 Egg Yoke
  • 1/4 C. Mayo
  • 1.5 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice (a bit of the zest as well)
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl well.  Taste to adjust seasoning.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2 Artichokes

  1. Trim the tops of the 2 Artichokes as well as tops of the leaves and a bit of the bottom stem.
  2. Fill a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat the Grill to high heat.
  4. Boil the Artichokes whole for about 30 minutes.
  5. Pull them out of the boiling water and put in an ice bath to stop the cooking (water and ice cubes)
  6. Once cool, cut in half.
  7. Scoop out the fuzzy hairs inside.
  8. Cover the flesh side in olive oil and salt and pepper.
  9. Place artichokes flesh side down on the grill and let cook for about 10 minutes.  Check on them to see if they have a good char on them.  May need to adjust cooking time accordingly.
  10. Remove from the grill once the right char has been achieved and serve with the Aioli.

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas

IMG_2090 This is absolutely the lazy man’s version of Eggplant Parmesan.  I love Eggplant Parmesan but don’t always have the time or patience to make the entire layered process so this ended up being a great and quick substitute. IMG_2088 Instead of pan frying the eggplant slices, I grilled them instead which gave them a slightly smokey or charred flavor which I really liked.  I am sure I am the only one who thinks about that minuscule detail but it somewhat changes the entire flavor profile of the end result.  So yes, I am completely nerding out on the difference between pan frying and grilling the eggplant. IMG_2089 These were great coupled with a nice big arugula salad but would also be great appetizers or a side dish. The Goods

  • 1 Medium-Large Eggplant
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 C. Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-2 C. Mozzarella Cheese
  • 3 Large Tomatoes
  • 2 C. Pasta Sauce of your choosing
  • 1 C. Fresh Basil, chopped finely

The Process

  1. Turn on the grill to a medium-high heat and the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice the Eggplant about 1/4 inch thick and coat evenly on both sides with olive oil.
  3. Season the slices with salt and pepper.
  4. Slices the Tomatoes in 1/4-1/2 inch slices and top with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  5. Put the tomatoes in an oven proof dish or baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes while the eggplant is grilling.  Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  6. Lay the eggplant slices on the grill and cook on both sides for about 5-6 minutes or until you have nice brown grill marks and have significantly reduced in size and become soft.
  7. While the Eggplant is cooking, chop the Basil and set aside, and Mix the cheeses together in a separate bowl.
  8. Once the eggplant is done remove from the grill and place in a glass baking dish coated with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  9. Top each eggplant slice with your pasta sauce of choice, a bit of the cheese mixture, and layer a tomato slice on top of the sauce.
  10. Top with remainder of cheese and the fresh basil.
  11. Place the eggplant in the oven and let broil for 3-5 minutes until the cheese has completely melted.
  12. Let cool and serve warm.

Kale Apple Salad

Kale2

Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant and immediately thought about how to re-create it at home?  Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, I took special note of all the ingredients I was picking up while eating this salad filing them away into my next grocery list.   What I ended up picking up from Trader Joes was: 1 bag of pre-cut Kale, 1 Granny smith apple, Parmesan, and honey roasted almonds (candied almonds would work too).  In my pantry I had everything for the dressing I planned to make: Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Honey(agave would work too), Dijon Mustard, and Pepper.

Kale

I personally love the tartness from this salad but I can see how it may not be for everyone.  Kale is bitter to begin with and then coupled with a tart green apple, and vinaigrette dressing.  This is where I would recommend playing with the dressing to your liking.

 

Kale Apple Salad with Honey Roasted Almonds (Ingredients from Trader Joes)

The Goods:

Salad:

1 Bag of pre-cut and washed Kale / 1 big bunch

1 Granny Smith Apple

Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)

Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds

 

Dressing: Mix the below together and adjust to your liking.

1/4 C. Olive Oil

1/4 C. Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tbs. Honey

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

Cracked Black Pepper

 

The Process:

  1. Use a mandoline* with the setting that makes thin strips and shred the green apple. Cut the strips in 1/2 or even 1/4 them to make them the same size as the kale.
  2. Finely chop the kale until is is shredded thinly.
  3. Combine Kale and Apple in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the dressing a little bit at a time to the Kale/Apple Mixture and toss until well incorporated.  You may have some dressing left over.
  5. Add the shredded Parmesan Cheese and Almonds and toss again
  6. Top with a bit more Parmesan Cheese and Almonds and serve

*If you do not have a mandoline, I would finely slice the apples lengthwise, then cut thin strips, lastly cut them in 3rds so you have small 1/2 inch pieces.

 

 

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza

I’m sure I am not the only one who pinned this cauliflower pizza crust recipe 6 months ago and just made it yesterday.  What no one said was how dang easy it is to make coupled with it being delicious.  I even fooled a friend into eating it thinking it was just straight pizza crust!

Riced Cauliflower-uncooked

Pre-cooked Cauliflower dough

Baked Cauliflower Crust

If I knew it was this quick and easy to make I would have made it a while back, well maybe.  While it may not be a go-to recipe because it demands having cauliflower in my fridge, I will absolutely make it again.

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

The Goods:

  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic
  • 1 C. Riced Cauliflower, cooked
  • 1. Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasonings (Basil, oregano,etc…)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. Shredded Mozzarella (divided)
  • Pesto
  • Toppings

The Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degree.
  2. Spray a pizza stone or baking sheet well with cooking spray so the crust doesn’t stick.
  3. To rice the cauliflower, cut the florets into chunks and pulse in a food processor until you see rice like bits (you could also use a cheese grater). do not over process.
  4. Microwave the cauliflower for 5-8 minutes.  Use 1 C. of the cooked cauliflower per pizza.
  5. Add the spices and 1/2 C. of cheese together with the riced cauliflower and mix well.
  6. Beat the egg and mix to the rice mixture and incorporate.
  7. Pat out the crust into a 9-inch round making sure not to make it too flat or where you see holes.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and top with pesto/sauce/toppings and bake for another few minutes, keeping an  eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.

 

 

Kale Chips

Kale chips

Instead of driving my hand into another bag or tortilla chips for my mid-day snack, I decided to make some Kale Chips instead.  These fill that salty craving I have around 3pm and I’m not feeling guilty for eating empty carbs.  Instead, I end up eating about 1/2 a bunch of Kale before I even realize it.  These do not require a counterpart like a dip; they are perfectly delicious on their own.  I don’t even think they could hold up to a dip, they are so fragile and melt in your mouth.

I highly suggest eating them when they are freshly out of the oven and divinely crispy.  Even after letting them cool completely, I stored them in an airtight container and they were a bit soggy the next day.

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These are so easy to make that if you’re at all curious about trying them, do it, you won’t be disappointed.  With only 3 ingredients, how can you go wrong?

 

The Goods:

  • 1 Bunch of Kale, rinsed, dried, ripped into small pieces.
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

The Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean, dry and rip the kale into small pieces.
  3. Pour Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar over the kale and use your hands to rub mixture over all the pieces to coat well.
  4. Lay on a coated baking sheet in a single layer (I used two baking sheets).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, flip pieces and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
  6. Pull out smaller pieces if done sooner than the rest.
  7. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Kale Salad

Broccoli salad2It’s getting warmer, or so it seems, and I am shifting my palate from roasted and warm to cool and crisp veggies.  I made this broccoli salad but had to shake it up with adding different ingredients.  I love how recipes are essentially guidelines that you can tweak and modify to make something truly unique.

kaleI found a basic broccoli salad recipe that I decided to spruce up with carrots and kale.  Since I don’t care for raw onions, I simply left out the listed red onions.  Tomatoes were absent from my kitchen so I left them out too.  Kale and Carrots took their place and I loved the substitutions.  The result: deliciously good.

Broccoli salad1I’m even thinking of a southwestern take on this for the summer!  Why am I so doubtful that summer may come?  I am stockpiling summer recipes to give me hope and yet I know i am jinxing myself by doing so.

 

Broccoli and Kale Salad

The Goods:

  • 1 Head of Broccoli (clean and remove the heads of the broccoli)
  • 1 Carrot, grated
  • 2 Leaves of Kale (cleaned, ribbed removed, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 C. Ranch Dressing
  • 1/4 C. Craisins
  • 1/4 C. Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Black pepper to taste

 

The Process:

  1. Mix the raw veggies together.
  2. Add cheese and Craisins to the veggie mix and toss.
  3. Toss with the Ranch Dressing.
  4. Season with cracked black pepper to taste.

 

 

Pad Thai Spaghetti Squash

Pad ThaiWith a spaghetti squash lying around my house destined for yet another pasta dish, coming across this unique recipe for Pad Thai was so exciting.  I am always intrigued with ways to cut fat, carbs, and sugars from dishes without losing the flavor.  Knowing how Pad Thai packs incredible flavors into the dish it felt like a safe bet to try this healthy spin by using Spaghetti Squash instead of noodles.  Furthermore, it was almost too good to be true since I had the majority of ingredients already in my kitchen.

The result was a delicious dish that did not lack flavor.  This will be go-to in my recipe box and I felt it my obligation to share it with you all.

Pad Thai

The few substitutes I made I have noted below.  I also only made 1/2 the recipe so I could use the other half of the Spaghetti Squash in another pasta dish but am posting the full recipe. Enjoy!

Adapted from the blog: A Couple of Cooks

Pad Thai Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4

The Goods:

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions
  • 1/2 C. Chopped Fresh Cilantro  (I didn’t have this so I left it out)
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 1 1/2 C. Bean Sprouts, divided (I substituted with shelled and cooked Edamame)
  • 2 Tbs. Peanut Oil (I used Toasted Sesame Oil)
  • 3 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)
  • 1 Lime
  • Sriracha (optional and to taste)
  • 1/2 C. Roasted Salted Peanuts, Chopped
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

The Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a large sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in 1/2 and scoop out the guts and seeds.
  3. Use olive oil to sprinkle the inside of the squash and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in a baking sheet cut side down and roast for 40-45 minutes; should be easy to pierce.
  5. When done, let cool.
  6. Scrape out the flesh of the squash with a fork and set aside, it should look kind of like noodles.
  7. Prepare the vegetables: peel and shred 3 carrots.
  8. Thinly slice the red bell pepper into long strips.
  9. Mince 4 garlic cloves.
  10. Thinly slice the green onions, reserve some for the garnish.
  11. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
  12. Chop the Cilantro and place with the reserved green onion.
  13. Create the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, peanut oil(toasted sesame oil), juice of 1/2 lime and a bit of Sriracha if desired.
  14. Heat a skillet with 2 Tbs olive oil/peanut oil over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and green onions until fragrant, about 45 secs. Pour in the eggs and scramble until almost cooked.  Add the red pepper, carrots, and 1 C. of the bean sprouts (edamame), and squash noodles.
  15. Add 3 pinches of salt and toss together.
  16. Add the sauce and combine well.
  17. Cook about 2 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through but still crisp.
  18. Remove from heat and garnish with remaining bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
  19. Serve with a slice of lime.