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Grilled Eggplant with Croutons and Fresh Ranch Dressing

Grilled Eggplant with Croutons and Fresh Ranch Dressing

A perfectly light meatless dinner for a summer evening – succulent grilled eggplant and vegetable salad with croutons and freshly made ranch dressing. We added our favorites – cubed pickled yellow beets, cherry tomatoes, microgreens and watercress, but you can select your own ingredients to customize your salad to taste.

 

INGREDIENTS
Grilled Eggplant & Bread Croutons
2 small eggplants, slice into ¼” rings
4 slices of country bread
Olive oil
Kosher salt

 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
½  cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Thinly sliced green onion tops

 

Salad Ingredients
Use these or choose your favorites!
10-12 Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup yellow pickled beets, cubed
3 cups watercress or your favorite salad greens
Microgreens, optional

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Grilled Eggplant & Bread Croutons
Heat a grill to high. Brush the eggplant slices and each side of the bread with olive oil. Light salt both. Place the eggplant on the grill and cook until well marked and the eggplant is cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side. Place the bread on the grill and cook until well-marked. Cool the bread and cube it into crouton sizes. 

 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk in mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice until a smooth dressing forms. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. Add to a bowl and top with more fresh ground pepper and green onions.

 

Assembly
Place the dressing in a bowl on a large platter. Arrange the greens and top with the eggplant, croutons, and vegetables.  Makes 4 servings

Grilled Bread Cheese, Croutons & Corn with Baby Vegetables Salad

Grilled Bread Cheese, Croutons & Corn with Baby Vegetables Salad

Summer’s early bounty in a delicious and beautiful salad. Farm stand scallions, radishes, tomatoes, and fennel are combined with Grilled Bread Cheese, ciabatta bread and corn then topped with sunflower sprouts, mint leaves, fennel fronds, and chive flowers. It’s lightly dressed with simply fresh lemon and olive oil right before serving.

Bread Cheese has a high melting point so it can be grilled. It is traditionally a Finnish cheese made with reindeer milk. The American version uses pasteurized cow’s milk that looks like it’s been toasted because it actually has – baking it is part of it’s cheesemaking process.

INGREDIENTS
2 red scallions, sliced very thinly slice
2 white radishes, very thinly sliced
2 red radishes, slice very thinly
2 tomatoes, sliced thin
2 baby fennel, sliced very thinly sliced
2 slices ciabatta bread
¼ cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
Kosher salt
1 ear of corn, husked
8 ounces Bread cheese
¼ cup sunflower sprouts
Mint leaves for garnish
Fennel fronds for garnish
Chive flowers for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Using a mandoline slicer or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the vegetables. Set aside.

Heat a barbeque grill to high. Brush the  ciabatta bread pieces on both sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and top with a big pinch of salt. Brush the corn with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grill the corn until cooked through and charred in spots, and the bread until just charred in spots; remove and set aside.

Brush one side of the Bread Cheese with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and place oil side down on the grill. Cook for about 2-2 ½ minutes.  Brush the top with oil, turn, and cook until lightly charred in spots, about 2-2 ½ more minutes.

Transfer to the plate with the croutons and corn; let cool.

Arrange the thinly sliced vegetables on salad plates.

Cut kernels from cob, cube the Bread Cheese and cut the bread slice into cubes. Arrange on the plate with the vegetable.  Add the sprouts, mint leaves, fennel fronds, and chive flowers.

Whisk together lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetable plate and serve. Makes 4-5 salads.

Winter Grain Bowls

Winter Grain Bowls

After an indulgent holiday, everyone is looking for a tasty way to get on a healthier track in the new year. Grain bowls are an easy and delicious way to get started. You can make them with your favorite grains or try some new ones using this simple recipe. Be sure to choose lots of veggies in different colors for flavor and nutrition. So select your favorites and assemble your grain bowl – they taste great warm, cold, or room temperature.

Choose a grain such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, barley, millet, or spelt. Following the package directions to prepare your grain, plan on cooking ½ cup per bowl, and replace the water with vegetable or chicken stock to add extra flavor. Place your cooked grains in the bowl and top with your favorites listed below. For our photos, we used brown rice, quinoa, and farro in our sample bowls.

Choose a protein such as 1/3 cup beans, 3 ounces cooked omega 3 fatty fish – like salmon, 4 ounces cooked chicken,  1-1/2 ounces of cheese, an egg, 3 ounces of tofu or 1 ounce of nuts or seeds. In our photo samples, we used salmon, chicken, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, lentils, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and walnuts.

Choose lots of vegetables such as oven-roasted kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower. Add some raw veggies too such as radish, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, cucumber, sprouts, scallions, and salad greens. For our bowls we used roasted kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes; plus, fresh bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and scallions. See our vegetable roasting recipe below.

Choose a fat such as 2 tablespoons nuts or seeds, ¼ cup olives or ¼ avocado. Or add 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or any healthy nut oil, any healthy salad dressing or use our easy lemon dressing.

Top with fresh herbs or spices for additional flavor. Sprinkle your bowl with parsley, thyme, cilantro, basil, dill, mint, or oregano. You can also add minced ginger, lemon zest, or red pepper flakes.

Easy Lemon Dressing Combine 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest with 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss 1 tablespoon with the grains or beans, or pour over the finished bowl. Makes 4 servings

 For oven roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400˚F, toss two cups of vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil, spread evenly over a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. and roast until lightly browned and tender. Thicker veggies will take 20-30 minutes. Thinner or leafy, such as Kale and asparagus, will take only 10 minutes.

Panzanella Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

Panzanella Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

End tomato season on a high note with this amazing combination of tasty garlic bread bites, juicy heirloom tomatoes, garden fresh herbs and tangy lemon. It sings of Summer’s leaving and Fall’s beginning.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 pounds multicolored heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-1/2” pieces

1/2 small shallot, sliced thin

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided

2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1-1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped

Zest of one large lemon

Juice of one large lemon

 

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and garlic powder. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until crisp on the outside, but still slightly soft in the middle, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cut the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, toss well, then rest for 10-15 minutes so the tomatoes release their juices. Add the shallot. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes, add the basil and oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to evenly coat. Add the bread cubes, as much as desired. (Save the rest for another use if you have extra.) Toss everything to coat and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving, tossing occasionally until the liquid is completely absorbed into the bread.