Posts Tagged With: cooking

Fall Apple Salad

The hubby’s side of the family gets together every month for family dinner — usually on Sunday. The cousins run around, play, and argue with each other while the grown ups drink wine and catch up. It’s a pretty nice ritual to have in your life and we’re lucky that the boy (single child that he is) has so many cousins nearby.

What we eat varies but we have started to settle into a routine re: who brings what. My sistah-in-law seems to be staking out desserts and they have been darn good. (Must get on Pinterest.) I started bringing salad awhile back and that is now kind of my thing. I think in a previous post I referred to myself as the salad ninja — which sounds like a game my son would play on his iPhone, come to think of it. The challenge is that twelve salads a year (give or take) means you have to get creative or risk boring everyone. Usually, I just look for whatever is in season at the store and go from there. Right now, my produce obsession is Honeycrisp apples. So that is where I started…

Fall Apple Salad (serves 6-8 as a side)

Ingredients

  • 1 large honeycrisp or other sweet apple
  • 5 oz package pre-washed salad greens (I like half & half)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup very thinly sliced or diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or pecans if you like)

Directions

Fill a small bowl with cold water and squeeze in juice from half a large lemon (or one whole small lemon.)

Lemon bath

Quarter, core and dice your apple and place it in the lemon water. This little bath with keep your apple from getting brown.

Fall Apple Salad

After a few minutes, drain your apples and pat them dry with a paper towel. Layer your salad greens in your bowl and top with sliced onion, crumbled goat cheese, and apples. Grind a little fresh black pepper on top.

Fall Apple Salad

You can also sprinkle the nuts on at this point — I left mine on the side initially due to some nut allergies in the fam. Never good to give someone anaphylactic shock at family dinner. Now, you will want a dressing. You can use a bottled dressing — something light and fruity would be good — but I like to make my own. I used some fancy ingredients from Oil & Vinegar but, recognizing you may not have these on hand, I’ve also given you a foolproof Ina Garten dressing.

Cherry-Lime Vinaigrette 

Whisk together the following ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp lime-flavored grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp cherry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste

Barefoot Contessa Vinaigrette

(adapted slightly from Ina Garten’s Cape Cod Chopped Salad recipe)

Whisk together the following ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil

No pictures of the plated salad, I’m afraid… Too much wine, too little motivation to take out my phone and snap a picture. Given how fast it disappeared, I think it was a hit.

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Categories: Brunch, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Veggie Lasagna

The hubby has been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into his diet and, since I am a veg-lover also, I’m game to give it a shot. This does present some challenges for a BBQ blogger, though. I did some searching around last weekend and decided veggie lasagna might be a good recipe to try on the Green Egg. I could grill the veggies (instead of roast them) and then bake the whole thing over indirect heat on my BGE. And, as long as we were being all healthful, why not eliminate carbs with a noodle-less recipe?

Well, friends, the end result tasted good but I learned a lot along the way. Isn’t it convenient when I make all of the mistakes so you don’t have to? 🙂

No Noodle Veggie Lasagna (serves 8)

adapted from Jennifer Hudson’s No Noodle Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 medium summer squash
  • 3 large zucchini
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one orange pepper)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 15 oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil, fresh, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 jar (26 oz.) marinara sauce (I like Newman’s Own Fra Diavolo)

Veggie Lasagna

Directions

Set your grill up for direct heat and steady out around 400 degrees F. To prepare your veggies for grilling: slice the squash and zucchini vertically into thin planks about 1/2-inch thickness and cut the bell peppers in half, removing stem and seeds. For the squash and zucchini, you want nice flat pieces that are big enough to put on the grill but will also form ‘noodle’ layers in your lasagna. (I tried going with ovals cut on the bias and trust me when I say it was way, way too much work to grill these.) Once you are done cutting, put everything in a big bowl, drizzle with oil (I used garlic olive oil), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Veggie Lasagna

Place all veggies on the grill (or work in two batches if you don’t have enough grate space) and cook until done — about 3-4 minutes per side.

Veggie Lasagna

Remove from heat; place squash and zucchini on a plate and bell pepper in a Ziploc bag. Change your grill over to indirect heat (plate setter legs up on BGE) and reduce to 350 degrees. (Or set oven temperature to 350°F.)

Veggie Lasagna

Allow veggies to cool a bit. Remove peppers from bag, peel off skin, and slice into strips. In a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, basil and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; set aside.

Veggie Lasagna

To assemble lasagna, coat bottom and sides of a 14×8 inch baking dish with olive oil spray.  Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of pan.  Layer half of squash and zucchini over sauce.

Veggie Lasagna

Sprinkle half of bell pepper strips in gaps and over squash. Cover vegetables with half of marinara sauce and then spread half of ricotta mixture on top; sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese. Top mozzarella cheese with remaining vegetables.

Veggie Lasagna

Cover with remaining marinara sauce; spread with remaining ricotta mixture, top with remaining mozzarella, then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Veggie Lasagna

Bake until the bottom starts to bubble, about 35 to 40 minutes. (No picture here because it was dark by the time I got my lasagna on to cook.) Remove lasagna from BGE (or oven) and allow it to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Veggie Lasagna

Don’t skip the resting part. We were mighty hungry and so I served it up almost right away, resulting in runny lasagna. Of course, you could always reduce the veggies here and include lasagna noodles, as well. Either way, a tasty vegetarian dinner for the family. Buon appetito, y’all!

Categories: Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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