Poor iceberg lettuce. I mean, it has a terrible reputation, but I can think of many worse things than iceberg lettuce. Nutritional all-star? Hardly. But sometimes a crisp wedge with creamy blue cheese and fresh cracked pepper is just what I want. And just forget the notion that blue cheese dressing is “bad for you”, it happens to be wonderful on iceberg.
The wedge salad was very popular in the 50’s and 60’s when lettuce options were limited and long before there was a wall of greens in the grocery store like we now see.
Today, some 60 years later, it is starting to show up again on menu’s – coming back as the “retro” wedge. So put on your heels, pearls and apron and get to that wedge!
I can’t say that iceberg makes it into my refrigerator on a regular basis, but when it does? I’ve got my blue cheese and french dressing waiting.
Wedge Salad – 4 servings
- 1 head Organic Iceberg Lettuce
- red onion slices
- tomato slices
- blue cheese dressing
- french dressing
- fresh ground pepper
- additional add-ons: bacon crumbles, nuts, cheese
Wash head of lettuce and cut into 4 pieces. Add tomatoes and onions as desired and top with dressings. Don’t forget to serve with a knife, you’ll need it!
Cooking with clams was new to me, but they are so simple, I’m not sure why I was so hesitant! All I needed was the motivation of a recipe and a free night to spend a little time in the kitchen.
The pasta was delicious with a bit of spice from the chiles, smoky flavor from the bacon and briny flavor from the sea. All of the flavors that I so often desire, over some chewy, whole-grain pasta.
Linguine with Clams – 2 servings
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chile (medium heat), sliced
- 1 lb little-neck clams
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 6 oz whole grain linguine (I used fresh)
Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, crumble and set aside.
Add olive oil, garlic, chile, clams and wine to pan used for bacon and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until clams have opened and released juices. Remove clams and set aside.
Meanwhile cook pasta as directed, saving cooking liquid.
Add pasta, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, bacon, 2 Tbsp parsley and toss until sauce has thickened. Divide pasta onto plates and top with clams and additional parsley.
Healthy Hint: Pasta is something that the taster and I can both overeat without even realizing it. An easy solution? Only making the number of servings we need! No leftovers mean no extra or bites or servings!
The trip to Colorado was a wonderful one! The taster and I walked around Denver so much that my legs actually hurt! (Sedentary job much?) The food was fantastic, some interesting drinks were had (a cucumber mojito that will have to be re-created) and I love that flip flops and a fleece are totally acceptable for pretty much everything! I’ll spare you every last detail and get right to my favorites:
Dinner at Rioja was amazing to say the least. It was recommended to us by friends and we would have gone back every night if not for the sake of variety. My favorite was the paella gnocchi: “rice crusted saffron gnocchi, PEI mussels, Hawaiin blue prawn, calamari, orange scented chicken sausage, artichoke hearts, smoked paprika tomato broth.” Could be a strong contender for the best thing I ever ate.
Daily trips to Larimer Square (Mary Beth I thought you would like the anthro-like banners in the street)
Pictures around Denver
Day trip to Estes Park
Fondue & Flowers in Boulder, which I’m convinced is the hippiest city ever, in addition to being the home of many of my favorite food brands: Justin’s Nut Butter, Simply Boulder Sauces, Skinny Crisps, Celestial Seasonings, etc…
Red Rocks Amphitheater and some very necessary stair-climbing.
The Denver Art Museum
Kale is becoming a staple in our house. We’ll have it as a side dish, for breakfast, in salads, as chips and now in pasta but I must say that sauteed is my favorite. Simplicity is key for kale in my book! A bit of olive oil, a touch of sea salt and a hot pan is all it takes.
In addition to the greens, I wanted to add a little extra flavor with the bacon and let’s be real, bacon adds nothing but good things. 😉
Orechiette with Kale & Bacon makes 2-3 servings
Cook bacon until crisp, about 2 minutes per side, in large pan. Set aside and drain oil from pan. Cook pasta as directed and set aside. Add olive oil to pan and add kale, garlic and salt & pepper. Saute kale for about 2 minutes and add pasta to pan. Toss until combined. Top with freshly grated parmesan if desired.
This sandwich is based off my favorite at High Rock Cafe, a restaurant in Wisconsin Dells. I think about this sandwich often, but since I can’t get to High Rock that often I finally decided to try it on my own. Let me preface this by saying that while this sandwich was wonderful, the boys at High Rock really know what they are doing and in a throwdown, my version wouldn’t have a chance.
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, thawed (or pre-cooked shrimp)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 slices swiss cheese
- 4 slices bread of choice
- tomato, lettuce, mayo
Pan fry bacon slices in large pan until crisp. Set aside. Pour off excess grease and add shrimp to pan. Season with minced garlic and cajun seasonings, sautéing until cooked through. Broil cheese and bread until cheese has melted. Layer sandwich with bacon, shrimp, lettuce and tomato.
This sandwich combines all the components you could ever want: crunchy bread, flavorful shrimp, gooey cheese and bacon. Oh, and don’t forget the vegetables to make it a “balanced meal”. 😉
Nothing says Midwest summer night like corn on the cob and a B.L.T. It always brings back memories of swimming at the lake and dinners on the porch. I’ve done an awful job of representing my Midwest culture this summer as this is my first time having corn on the cob. But when I finally saw some organic, local corn I took full advantage.
The taster likes to cook it in some crazy way (a little milk and sugar in the water – anyone else ever heard of that?) I like mine straight up grilled. But what don’t I like grilled
? So we compromised and cooked it in the crazy water mixture and then finished it off on the grill.
It was perfect and totally hit the spot. Fresh organic (albiet white) bread, uncured bacon and local corn from WF’s and tomatoes and lettuce from the farmer’s market.
And instead of dinners on the porch, looking at trees, I now have this:
Beautiful sunsets in Minneapolis
Yes, it’s true. This doesn’t come as a surprise – chocolate covered bacon was the new “it” food of the Minnesota State Fair last year but I had NEVER seen it in stores. Until now.
Now I’m willing to try anything once. (almost anything) This chocolate bar really is a culinary experience and the salty and sweet combo is a great one! I was not expecting to like this because bacon and chocolate?!?!? I mean really? But Vosge’s Haut Chocolat got it right.
Next flavor to try? There really are too many to choose – I would have to say that the Organic Habana Candy Bar (organic deep milk chocolate + crunchy plantains) or the Barcelona Exotic Candy Bar (hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + deep milk chocolate). I’m not sure how I feel about the Enchanted Mushroom Candy Bar (organic dark chocolate + mushrooms) though…
Check out their beautiful website here
. It really is Haut Chocolat and would be the perfect gift for the adventurous eater.