With the recent abrupt onset of summer, our grill has been getting some good use lately. Although I love grilling vegetables (asparagus, potatoes, eggplant, and portabellas are among my favorites), I kept my greens off the flames until today. I’m happy to report a new vegetable will now be part of the regular rotation. The parmesan basil crisps on top of the lettuce add the necessary crunch. Also, parmesan cheese might be one of the best foods out there and making these crisps seemed like a fun experiment to try on this quiet Sunday.
The crisps can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container. Hopefully you make a few extra because you’ll want to taste a few right away, just in case.
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 T julienned basil
- 2 large heads of romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, cleaned and patted dry, and sliced lengthwise down the middle
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
For the crisps…
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine cheese and basil.
- Put a heaping tablespoon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten gently.
- Continue to add more tablespoons of the cheese mixture, leaving a bit of space between each one.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Allow to cool, and then remove with a flat spatula.
For the lettuce…
- Once your lettuce is dry, you’re good to go.
- Heat grill to medium-high
- Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside for a few minutes so that the oil gets garlicky.
- Brush both sides of the lettuce with the oil mixture, starting with the rounded side and then doing the flat side of the lettuce.
- Place the romaine heads flat side down on the grill.
- After 2-3 minutes (check for a nice browning), flip the lettuce 1/3 way. Repeat again after 2-3 minutes more. Do it again until the lettuce is nicely browned all over.
- Serve with crisps.
It was one of those perfect-weather weekends in Brooklyn. Even though yesterday included a devastating playoff loss for the Nets, nothing was going to bring me down. We were so inspired by the weather that we grilled for the first time. You can roast this asparagus in the oven if a grill is not nearby. This recipe makes more than enough dressing for 1 bunch of asparagus, and I figure it would taste great on any green salad throughout the week.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 T soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 T honey or brown sugar
- 2 T peeled and minced ginger (I’m a big fan of the ready-to-go minced ginger in glass jars)
- 1 t sesame oil
- sesame seeds, for garnish (optional) (Really, everything is optional…let’s be honest here)
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed
- Heat a grill to high heat.
- Place the first 7 ingredients (through the sesame oil) in a food processor (a mini one works) and blend until smooth. Add water to thin out if necessary. Set aside.
- Lightly coat asparagus with cooking spray or a touch of olive oil, and put in a grill basket. Heat on a grill for 2-4 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice, until spears are slightly tender and starting to brown. Remove from grill.
- Place asparagus in a large bowl, and coat with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.
As a follow-up from yesterday, here is a flavorful and simple asparagus recipe. This makes enough for 4 servings. Thanks to Bev Cooks for this recipe. I discovered that green lentils make for a nice weeknight meal because the whole thing took less than 30 minutes.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. freshly minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs Indian curry powder
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lemon
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the onion and saute until it starts to soften, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook the spices for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add the asparagus and saute until bright green, 2 minutes. Add the kale and continue to saute until wilted, another 2 minutes.
- Drain the lentils and add them to the kale mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with lots of cilantro and a good squeeze of the lemon juice. Add more salt to taste.
- Serve with more cilantro and lemon juice
Today was an exciting day at the Carroll Gardens Farmer’s Market. There were ramps and asparagus! Seeing these signs of spring made me feel better about still wearing my winter coat on April 21st. I was hoping that Grazin’ Angus had some fresh cream so I could make my own butter, but they didn’t. They did have their own butter, which I used for this recipe. Thanks for Birdworms and Buttermilk for this great idea. I think this would be a great base for sautéing some of the asparagus I got this morning. I tasted a little bit of this today, and reluctantly froze the rest.
- 1/2 pound butter, softened (I used unsalted, so I added salt to the recipe)
- 1 bunch ramps, cleaned
- zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- Place butter in medium bowl; set aside.
- Blanch ramps in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Squeeze excess water and then chop the ramps.
- Add the chopped ramps, zest, lemon juice, and salt (if using) to the butter and mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula.
- Form the butter into a log shape on a piece of parchment paper. Tightly roll the parchment paper around the butter, and twist the ends tootsie-roll style. Store in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy.
It’s that time of year again, when it is hard to be inspired by the root vegetables at the farmer’s market. However, you can add a little goat cheese to anything and it solves most problems in the world, including “the winter that refused to end.” I hope you enjoy this recipe, as we (im)patiently wait for more exciting vegetables. This comes from Cooking Light’s April 2013 issue.
- 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups radishes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wedges, with root and 1/2-inch stem left on
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used about 1 teaspoon dried instead)
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Add radishes and oregano; toss to coat. Place 1 cup spinach on each of 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, top each plate with 1/2 cup radishes. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing evenly over salads.
Trade in your green beer for a green smoothie this St. Patrick’s Day!
I was a skeptic of drinking my greens until recently, and now I’m hooked. For the fellow skeptics, start with just a few greens and then slowly add more each time. We’ve been aiming for a ratio of half vegetables and half fruits, with most of the vegetables being leafy greens. Many people ask, “Why smoothies instead of juice?” I have two main related reasons: less waste and easier clean-up. I like knowing that I’m getting all the nutritional benefits of the whole fruit and vegetable. Also, I hate cleaning up. The vitamix blender I use has a clean setting, so all I have to do is rinse out the soap at the end. Any variation of this smoothie makes for a very filling breakfast or snack.
Today’s smoothie included the following ingredients, many of which were available at this morning’s farmer’s market. It’s fun and healthy to vary the ingredients daily, and pretty much any combination is good.
- 1 cup kale (assorted)
- 1/4 cup vitamin greens
- 1 carrot
- 1 green apple, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup frozen peaches
- 1 banana, chopped
- Blend 2 cups of water with the kale and vitamin greens until you have a gorgeous green water.
- Put the rest of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
- Drink right away, or put some in the fridge for later or the next day.
Here’s another vegan winner from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. It was refreshing and well-balanced, with a little bit of heat (especially since we kept all the seeds in the serrano pepper). This salad can be a meal by itself, but we had some edamame with it for a little more protein.
- One 8-ounce package of buckwheat soba noodles
- 1/2 cup thinly shredded Napa cabbage
- 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly julienned
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned
- 1/4 cup thinly julienned snow peas
- 2 carrots, thinly julienned, or shredded
- 1/2 cup buckwheat sprouts, sunflower sprouts, or pea shoots (my choice), plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted (just realized I didn’t toast mine…oops!), plus more for garnish
For the dressing: Whisk the following ingredients in a small bowl and set aside:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave (I used honey, so this recipe is only mostly vegan)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
- a tiny bit of minced chile pepper
- Cook the buckwheat according to the package instructions. Do not overcook; buckwheat is very temperamental and falls apart if cooked too long. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the noodles from cooking further.
- Toss the cooked noodles with cabbage, red and yellow bell pepper, snow peas, carrots, sprouts, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Set aside some sprouts and sesame seeds for a garnish.
- Pour the dressing evenly over the salad, toss gently, and serve.
- Before serving, garnish with leftover sprouts and sesame seeds.