A friend just returned from Korea armed with photos of his amazing meals. Made me think of how much my fam of five love Korean BBQ where we cook on the table and use the lettuce as shells... Which then inspired me to make a very loose version of what I am going to call Lettuce Shelled BBQ Tacos. A simpleton version of marrying the ol' American summer backyard BBQ with some K-Town. But I wasn't about to leave the house for groceries because I was too lazy. So:
Here, I grilled some organic grass-fed steak and some farm-fresh zucchini, kale and onions I had in the fridge. Using the lettuce for the taco shell, it goes: long leaf romaine lettuce "shell", then one piece of steak, layer on tons of roasted kale, zucchini and onion. Flank the plate with a petit glass of Pinot Grigio one one side, some fresh flowers on the other and you transform it from just throwing food down your throat to a meal experience.
Take a/my yoga class before this meal and a/my dance class after--perhaps tomorrow morning at 8am!-- Share the plate communally and life is better.
Large bunch of kale (fresh or already cut in bag works. In bag easier but less fresh obviously)
1 Large Zucchini
Fresh Leaves of Romaine
Flank Steak (or other protein or not)
Turn grill on so it is hot when food is ready to go on.
Put kale in aluminum pan that can go on grill. Drizzle kale with olive and kosher salt.
Slice zucchini long, put in dish with oil and some salt/pepper and let marinate for 10 minutes ish. Slice onion keeping rings intact and throw in pan with kale or wrap in tin foil and put on grill.
Put steak on grill. Grill to your preference. If you have a top rack, put kale pan on top so that the vegetables do not burn. Zucchini can go directly on grill. Pieces should be long and fat enough that they don't fall through the slats of grill- place diagonally across the grill grates. Pull food off when it is done to your preference.
Serve with long fresh romaine leaves, using the leaves as your taco shell, where all of the vegetable and protein get layered in. Or use leaf as your scooper utensil. Kids think this is pretty cool, until they figure out you duped them into eating lettuce.
And if you are grill-less, you can create same basic meal using your oven. No one will call you out on calling it BBQ. Maybe. Take out your mild or super spicy sauce, sprinkle on taco and then book a field trip to your local Koreatown and realize how not Korean this really is. (I'm getting closer).
Corn season in the Northeast! Paaartaay. Raise the roof. Oh yeah! Uh huh! Exclamation marks!
Or maybe just make a salad. I love fresh corn and a few years ago, I realized, no need to even cook it. We had some friends out from the city yesterday and this was amongst the various dishes I made. And now I am eating it for breakfast post dance class this morn. What? Should I be eating pancakes? And actually just decided right here and now --that's right, you were here for it--to make it again to bring to a pool shindig we are headed to this afternoon.
Anyway, enough about my play by play day. This Kinda Perfect Summer Bowl: You can make any changes, add or subtract what you like and it is bound to be a dish that is clean, filling and a pretty perfect compliment to anything else you eat/ serve/ bring. Equally important, it makes you look healthy even though you might have had a massive double scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream with rainbow sprinkles last night at the beach.
2 Ears of Fresh Corn (Wait for corn season- don't make this with canned corn. For the love of...)
1 Fresh Gorgeous Tomato (Any kind. I used vine ripe Jersey)
1 Handful Kale (or any green like spinach, arugula, collards)
1 Zucchini (I had a behemoth zucchini the size of my 6 yr old's arm so I used half of mine)
1 Can Garbanzos ( Chic Peas). Organic tend to be a bit harder in my experience so I use regular
1 Can Artichokes Hearts in Water
1 Large Scallion Stalk
1 Fresh Cooked Beet (or what I used: Trader Joes Beets in Vinaigrette, which is my new fav thing)
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Cut up zucchini into thin slices and then in quarters. Put in bowl with a bit of drizzled olive oil and kosher salt to soften up the zucchini a bit. Not too much, but a bit. Bring everything else to cutting board and chop away. Cut the corn kernels from the rind and throw in a bowl. Drain and rinse (rinse!) the garbanzos and artichoke hearts. Cut the artichokes hearts into quarters and dump chic peas and hearts into bowl with corn. Add the zucchini. Do not add the beets until the end because they will stain it's vegetable friends. I roughly layer: fresh corn, garbanzos, artichoke hearts, kale, zucchini, tomato and then lay beets on top and sprinkle with thinly chopped scallion. Drizzle all with olive oil, salt (Pink Himalayan, Kosher, Fleur de Sel-- some good salt not blah, diner, lame table salt) and fresh ground pepper. Perhaps a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Perhaps some fresh grated cheese on the side for those who like. This bowl of goodness can sit for awhile because all of the vegetables in here are pretty sturdy. I'm eating it a day later as I type and it's perfect. A different kind of perfect than that ice cream last night.
We love to entertain and host. And I come from the tutelage of too much food is better than too little food when hosting. This combo= an embarrassment of leftovers. And although my low maintenance husband can eat leftovers for weeks and literally cause me to wince in repulsion, I give leftovers the one day and you're out rule. But I do love using last nights leftovers as an inspiration for something else today.
Here, our overly abundant raw vegetable crudite from our party last night makes for a fresh roasted vegetable tapenade with assorted cheese on thick baguettes with fresh garden herbs. I served it aside sliced chicken & steak that we threw on the grill so that the meat could either be layered over the bread with veggies or eaten a la carte. And now we have room in our fridge. I think we get each other here but, this need not be made from leftovers. We get that, right? OK, good.
Raw Vegetables of Your Choice. Here: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Pearl Tomatoes, Broccoli, Asparagus
Sliced Fresh Baguette- larger better so vegetables don't fall off
Cheese of your Choice. Here: Mozzarella, Goat & Parmesan
Fresh Herbs. Here: Chive, Parsley, Basil (from my garden, baby!)
Wash the vegetables, cut into long slices, layer in roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt/pepper. I roast the asparagus separately because it has a different roasting time than the other vegetables.
Roast at 420 degrees (asparagus for about 15 min-- other vegetables for approx 20 min).
Let cool for 5 minutes and then small chop the vegetables and put in bowls like a prep station.
Lay thick baguette slices on a roasting sheet, spoon the chopped vegetables onto each piece of bread and light layer with cheese. I did combos. Some pieces with mixed veggies got the parm, some got the mozzarella, some got the goat cheese. Same for the baguette with the asparagus.
Throw pan of bread, veggies and cheese back in oven for 5 ish min. Keep an eye on it.
Take pan out of oven and sprinkle all with variety of fresh herbs. Maybe drizzle some extra olive oil for those of you who do that kinda thing.
Serve alone or pair with some very thinly sliced chicken or steak.
Serve on your balcony, deck, porch so veggie spills can be kicked away and enjoyed by some insect colony. Invite friends over to enjoy with you to ensure you don't have leftovers from leftovers. Cuz' no one wants that other than my husband.