Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GRILLED SALAD and FARMER'S MARKETS

GRILLED ROMAINE SALAD
Summer and grilling go together like peanut and butter. Delicious foods grilled to perfection and served outdoors with loved ones are the beginning of treasured life-long memories. However, meeting everyone’s food requirements or restrictions can be tricky. However, my GRILLED ROMAINE SALAD can rise to the occasion. Freshness need not be synonymous with expensive at local Farmer’s Markets.
One of the things I look forward to while extending my summer by wintering in Rancho Mirage, California is the SWAP MEEET/FARMER’S MARKET held every weekend in the parking lot of the College Of The Desert on the corner of Monterey Avenue and Highway 111. The transformation begins at 5:00am as the lot blooms into a huge, colorful high-end Flea Market that includes an incredible Farmer’s Market. Local exotic, fresh, and dried fruits such as dates, baked breads, prepared foods like sweet corn tamales, and fresh vegetables are unloaded from the back of family and farm trucks and displayed on tented tables that shade them from the intense desert sun. Some venders accept credit cards but most prefer checks or cash. By 2:00 pm the tents begin to be disassembled and the market place once again becomes a parking lot.
I love salads. However, some of my friends have health issues such as Diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease that limits the consumption of raw vegetables or, as my good friend Petronelle says in her strong British accent, “anything with pips.” She describes pips as small seeds or nuts that can cause inflammation in the intestines. Digesting raw salad can also present challenges that cooked salad can alleviate.
My recipe for GRILLED SALAD is one that everyone can enjoy. It can be made “pip” free, prepared ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator or served hot from the grill. If a grill is not available it can be sautéed in a pan with the garlic. It’s quick, simple, healthy and delicious. Change it into a seasonal salad by adding grilled local fruit such as pears, apples or peaches. These can add color and pizzazz. The possibilities for this salad are endless.

GRILLED ROMAINE SALAD
Ingredience: serves 4 Preperation time: 7 minutes
2 heads of Romaine Lettuce, cleaned, dried, and cut length wise.
4 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp chopped garlic 1 small opinion cut into rings
½ cup Crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1.) Brush cut Romaine lettuce on both sides with olive oil (or spray with cooking spray) and place flat side down on hot grill for 30 seconds on each side. Turn once.

2.) Add onions to grill and cook until desired consistency.

3.) While lettuce and onions are grilling sautéed garlic in remaining olive oil. (pine nuts can be added and toasted )

4.) Place grilled lettuce flat side up on plate, cover with cooked onions.
5.) Drizzle with garlic and oil, vinegar, and blue cheese. (and toasted pine nuts)
6.) Serve hot or cold.
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