As much as I love grilling in the summer, I also love the bounty of fresh vegetables that come both from my garden and the farmer’s market. It’s the perfect time of year for light meals best enjoyed in the sunshine.
A Greek salad is not exactly unique, you see it on countless restaurant and bistro menus across the country. It typically consists of romaine lettuce, red onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese with the occasional cucumber, chick peas, or whatever else thrown in. But grilling salad? Hmm… That’s a bit different.
Slices of red onion, baby peppers, and artichoke hearts are marinated overnight in an intense lemon based mixture then chargrilled over an open flame.
I start by marinating a red onion, artichoke hearts, and whole baby peppers in an intense lemon mixture overnight. Sometimes I also throw in some slices of zucchini just for fun. The marinade of lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil leaves the vegetables with a fantastic lemon flavor and also helps them grill up well on the barbecue.
Drizzle the leftover marinade over the cut side of the romaine hearts and then grill cut side up for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
While the vegetables are grilling, I then drizzle the leftover marinade over the cut side of 2 hearts of romaine. A heart of romaine is essentially the inner part of a head of romaine lettuce. The leaves are tightly folded into each other making it a perfect grilling lettuce. I like to buy a package of organic hearts of romaine, which usually comes with 3 hearts.
Then grill the romaine hearts cut side down for another 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
Once the vegetables are nicely charred, I throw the romaine hearts on the grill, cut side up first. The lettuce is thin and it cooks quickly so I only let it sit on the grill for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes before flipping it onto the cut side for its final grill.
A perfect, light – and vegetarian – summer meal.
And that’s it. This hearty entree Greek salad is that easy. I simply top the grilled romaine hearts with the vegetables, sprinkle a little feta cheese and freshly chopped oregano over it, and then drizzle it with a simple red wine vinaigrette. I only make a very small amount of the vinaigrette because the vegetables and lettuce are already packed with so much flavor. It is a perfect, light – and vegetarian – summer meal.
The classic Greek Salad is grilled to perfection and topped with a tart red wine vinaigrette and salty feta cheese.
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
¼ tsp coarse sea salt (divided)
6 baby peppers
1 medium red onion, sliced into ¼" thick slices
1 cup artichoke hearts
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, sliced lengthwise through the core
1 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
1 oz. crumbled light feta cheese
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
dash of freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, garlic and ⅛ tsp of the salt.
Pour the marinade over the peppers, onion slices, and artichoke hearts in either a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your propane grill then reduce the flame to low and lightly oil the grill.
Remove the peppers, onion and artichoke hearts from the marinade - save the marinade - and place the vegetables on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the vegetables from the grill and set aside.
Pour the leftover marinade over the cut side of the romaine hearts and place the romaine on the grill cut side up. Grill for 1 - 1½ minutes on each side until the outer leaves are lightly charred.
Remove the lettuce from the grill and place 2 halves on each plate. Top with the grilled vegetables.
Sprinkle each plate with the fresh oregano and feta cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, the red wine vinegar, the remaining ⅛ tsp of sea salt, and the black pepper. Drizzle over the top of each salad and serve immediately.
A big meal needs a bold, full-bodied wine to pair with it. This is particularly true of steak, whose tender, rich flavor is only enhanced by a big red wine.
I recently attended a tasting of Oregon and Washington wines at my favorite wine bar and the second I tasted this Zerba Cellars 2010 Wild Z I knew that it deserved to be served with a rich, meaty meal.
A blend of 61% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Syrah, the wine exudes aromas of dark cherries and cedar. In the mouth, the satiny smooth texture delights the tastebuds with flavors of cherry, blackberry and warm earth, finishing with a hint of dark cocoa.
Founded by Cecil and Marilyn Zerba, Zerba Cellars is a family-owned, estate winery based in Milton-Freewater, in the heart of Oregon’s Walla Walla Valley. Winemaker Doug Nierman has taken the wine to a whole new level, creating elegant, balanced wines that are also food-friendly and approachable for the everyday wine enthusiast. It is no wonder that Zerba’s wines have won award after award, including being named the Wine Press Northwest Winery of the Year in 2011.
To accompany the big bold Wild Z, I grilled up strips of steak marinated in spicy chipotle pepper and sweet orange juice then served it on a slaw of raw, sweet beets and crunchy fennel folded into a soft, warm corn tortilla. The rich meat and combination of sweet and spicy flavors were absolutely perfect with the dark fruits in the wine. A satisfying meal indeed.
I admit it: when it comes to food I love to play with color, texture, and somewhat unusual flavor combinations. Sometimes my ideas work out, sometimes they don’t. These Chipotle Steak Tacos with Fennel Beet Slaw are a perfect example of a crazy idea gone right.
The steak is easy, I simply slice pieces of lean top sirloin steak into thin strips and then marinate them in a simple mixture of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and sweet orange juice. I like to marinate them overnight for maximum flavor. Then a quick grill and the steak is ready for primetime.
The sweet beets and crunchy fennel create a crunchy, delicious dish with the spicy chipotle marinated steak.
The finishing touch is the slaw that I slather on the tacos. I thinly sliced some crunchy fennel which adds a delicious, lightly licorice flavor to the dish. I then peeled and julienned fresh, raw beets.
I know you’re asking, “You can eat raw beets?” Yes! They are delicious shredded in a salad or cut into thin sticks and thrown in a slaw like this.
Beets are naturally sweet and high in sugar and they balance the licorice flavor of the fennel perfectly. I then toss the fennel and beets with some sweet shredded carrots, peppery cilantro and a dressing of orange juice, honey and olive oil to create a sweet, crunchy slaw that is perfect with the spicy chipotle marinated steak.
Wrap the two in a corn tortilla and you have a pretty, perfectly delicious meal.
If you’re doing a tour of wineries in the Columbia Gorge and you haven’t stopped by Domaine Pouillon yet, you absolutely must. Family owned and operated by Alexis and Juliet Pouillon, this independent winery on the Washington side of the Columbia river has made an art out of crafting French Rhône style wines in the Pacific Northwest.
The tasting room is off of a winding road near Lyle, Washington, overlooking forests on one side and bordered by vineyards on the other. True to form, it is dressed in simple French style: homey, bright and welcoming. You will often see Alexis toiling in the grapes, his son toddling behind him, and a dog on watchful alert nearby.
I took the time to stop by Domaine Pouillon over Memorial Day weekend on a friend’s recommendation and I wasn’t disappointed. I wound up taking a bottle of their Rosé and Black Dot home with me. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, the Rosé is very reminiscent of all the wonderful rosés I’ve had from the south of France.
Try the Domaine Pouillon Rose with my Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw for a delicious and flavorful summer meal.
The grapes for the Rosé are sourced from vineyards in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA which is renowned for its big, bold red wines. Situated in south central Washington state along the Columbia River, the grapes benefit from strong winds up the Columbia Gorge.
The Domaine Pouillon Rosé is aged in neutral French oak barrels giving it a clean, crisp taste. Dry and bright with notes of berries and watermelon, it is the perfect summer wine.
For all of these reasons, I love the Domaine Pouillon Rosé with my Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw. The sweet pineapple and dried cherries in the slaw enhanced the berries in the wine, while the crispness of the wine was a perfect foil for the spicy sriracha.
You would think that in this heat wave we’re having in Portland that I would be seeking out cold chilled foods. Instead, I’ve found myself drawn to spicy foods that are easily prepared on the grill in the backyard, out of the heat of my little kitchen.
Jumbo scallops are marinated in lime juice, olive oil and garlic then threaded on skewers with slices of lime and grilled to tender perfection.
Last week I brought you my delicious Chargrilled Chipotle Salmon and Corn Salad, this week it’s a super easy and spicy Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw. I start by marinating the scallops in a simple mixture of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I want to infuse the scallops with a bit of flavor but not overwhelm the tender meat.
A convenient store-bought slaw mix is sweetened with dried cherries and pineapple then livened up with a spicy sriracha dressing.
I like to use jumbo scallops for this recipe because they are perfectly sized for threading on skewers. Alternate them with thin slices of lime for an extra hint of flavor, and make sure to use 2 skewers to keep the scallops stable for even grilling.
When you can beat the heat with a dish this yummy and easy, why wouldn’t you?
The heat of the dish then comes from the slaw. To keep the recipe easy, I simply use a packaged mix of shredded cabbage and carrots from the produce section of the store. I always like to balance spicy with either sweet or sour, so I add sweet dried cherries and canned pineapple tidbits to the mix before tossing it with a simple dressing of sriracha, Greek yogurt, and salt. Add in some freshly chopped cilantro and black sesame seeds (aka nigella) for an additional pop of flavor, texture and color.
And the bonus? This entire recipe is under 300 calories leaving plenty of room for a side of warm, crusty bread or a scrumptious summer dessert afterwards.
Jumbo scallops are grilled and served over an easy spicy-sweet slaw with dried cherries and pineapple in a spicy sriracha dressing recipe.
1 14 oz. bag of classic coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
½ cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained of juice
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
½ tsp coarse sea salt (divided)
1 lb. jumbo sea scallops
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
dash of freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
In a large salad bowl, combine the coleslaw mix with the cherries and pineapple.
Whisk together the yogurt, sriracha, and ¼ tsp of the salt in a small bowl. Pour it over the coleslaw mix and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ¼ tsp of the salt, and pepper.
Place the scallops in a resealable bag and pour the mixture over them. Seal and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Remove the scallops and thread onto skewers, alternating with thin slices of lime.
Preheat your grill then reduce the flames to low and lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewers with the hood closed for about 1½ minutes on each side or until the scallops are cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside.
Give the coleslaw a good toss then stir in the cilantro and black sesame seeds.
Serve a helping of the slaw topped with skewers of the grilled scallops.
1. If using bamboo skewers, always soak them in cold water for at least 20 minutes before threading the scallops on them and placing them on the grill. 2. The scallops can also easily be grilled on an indoor, cast-iron grill pan. Simply heat the grill pan on medium-high and lightly spray with olive oil. Cook the scallops for about 1½-2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
I find that pairing wines with food is all about complementing the flavors between the two, not necessarily mimicking.
Take my Chargrilled Chipotle Salmon and Corn Salad, for example. It has a bit of heat from the spicy chipotle pepper, a smokiness from the grilled veggies and a bit of cumin in the dressing, and also a hint of sweetness from the fresh corn and tender salmon. For this dish, I wanted a wine that is crisp with a hint of citrus notes to play against all of these flavors while also bringing out the bit of lime juice used in the salad.
The Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2013 is delicious with my Chargrilled Chipotle Salmon and Corn Salad
Luckily, the Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2013 fit that description perfectly. Aged in stainless steel tanks, the wine is crisp and light. Notes of lemon and lime are balanced by herbs, apples and a slight grassy quality. The lively brightness of the wine both complements and allows the sweet and spicy flavors of the salad to shine through.
Eola Hills recently refreshed their brand with a new label design
Eola Hills Winery was founded in the 1980′s by Tom Huggins, who is still the general manager today. Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the vineyards are ideally situated in a natural weather shadow of the Coast Range, which protects the grapes from weather extremes. In the warm summer months, though, sea air is drawn down the gorge providing optimal cooling for the ripening grapes.
Best of all, their classic Pinot Gris is very affordable at about $13 a bottle. So why not try a bottle or two this summer?
When it is a hot and scorching day outside, I love to cook on the grill. The clean up is easy, I keep the house cool, and I get to grill under the shade of my apple and pear trees while sipping a glass of wine.
Salmon, corn and a poblano pepper are cooked on the grill until they are lightly charred.
Salmon and corn are in season now so I’ve been playing with these a lot on my grill. For this recipe, I like to marinate the salmon in a simple, spicy chipotle sauce and then place it on the grill with some corn and a poblano pepper. I cook them until they get a nice char on the outside.
The finished product is as pretty as it is delicious!
This salad is meant to be served slightly warm. I let the salmon, corn and pepper sit for about 10 minutes to let it cool a bit before tossing it up with some cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and a light dressing. The result is a delicious entree salad that is hearty enough to fill you up yet light enough for the warmest of summer days.
In my continuing profile of local (to me) wineries, I want to introduce you to Memaloose Wines.
Located on the Washington side of the relatively new Columbia Gorge AVA, Memaloose Wines is owned and operated by the McCormick family and has only been around since 2006. The wines are made in the old European styles of France and Italy, meaning that they are meant to accompany food. This means that their wines are generally lighter in alcohol with a bit more oak influence than most Washington state wines.
Memaloose has a wonderful tasting room in downtown Lyle, Washington, situated on the scenic Columbia River. I visited there recently and loved sitting on their deck overlooking the flowing water, nibbling on some small bites, and tasting the various wines offered.
Their red blend, York’s Reward, is a delightful blend of typical Italian varietals Barbara, Primitivo and Dolcetto. What surprised me the most was that it was served chilled like some of the reds in France and Italy during the hot summer months. I’ve never seen a red wine served chilled in the States, so this boded well for the tasting.
And I was not disappointed. Light and bursting with juicy notes of summer berry fruit, it was crisp and refreshing on a warm summer’s day. As I sat on their deck, feeling the cool rush of wind off the water, nibbling slices of soppressata and various cheeses, the York’s Reward was absolutely perfect. I knew I had to bring some bottles home to enjoy in my own backyard.
The Memaloose York’s Reward 2011 is perfect with my Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli
I love the York’s Reward with my original recipe for Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli. The juicy fruit plays perfectly off the sweet roasted red pepper and tart lime in the burgers, while the crisp coolness that comes from chilling the red blend is a perfect foil for the spicy sriracha in the aioli. This has become one of my favorite pairings.
I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Roasted jalapenos, smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, spicy sriracha sauce — it seems these hotties are literally peppering my recipe development lately. Is it the sunshine that’s been playing peek-a-boo with the rain in my neck of the woods lately? I’m not sure why. But really who needs an excuse to spice up a meal?
Extra lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red pepper and tart lime then formed into patties and grilled on an open flame.
I’ve cleaned off the grill for the summer grilling season, and one of my favorite things to make is a good burger. I rarely use ground beef in my burgers, opting instead for a leaner ground turkey that won’t leave me feeling weighed down. And I especially love to craft burgers into sliders. The nutritional content of 2 sliders is approximately equivalent to that of 1 burger, but somehow I always feel like I’m eating more. I think it’s the visual trick of having 2 sliders on my plate instead of just 1 burger.
Make the aioli in a mason jar for easy prep, serving, and storage!
I elected to use an extra lean (99% fat free) for this recipe. One of the challenges of cooking with extra lean ground turkey is that the lack of fat means the meat can get too dry in the cooking process and also that the burger won’t hold together well on the grill. The trick is to bulk up the meat with additional ingredients that will both keep the meat from drying out on the grill and help to hold it together. In this case I added roasted red pepper, lime zest, and lime juice for moisture and additional flavor. I then added in an egg and a bit of bulgar to help bind the mixture together. It worked like a charm!
These may be the perfect sliders for summer grilling season!
To then offset the sweet red pepper and tart lime in the burger, I created a spicy, low-fat yet creamy aioli using roasted garlic, Greek yogurt, and sriracha. The roasted garlic adds a bit of caramelized sweetness to the aioli while the sriracha brings the heat. Drizzled over the slider patty, it’s a bite of heaven.
Not to be outdone, though, I then love to top each slider with a couple slices of creamy, cool avocado and a sprig of cilantro. Wow! This may be the perfect summer burger!
Check out the instructional video with some super tips on how to make the aioli prep even easier!
Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli
Lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red peppers and tart lime, grilled up and served on a scrumptious slider with a spicy sriracha yogurt aioli. Dee-lish!
1 lb. raw, extra lean (99% fat free) ground turkey
½ cup diced roasted red pepper
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1 lime
¼ cup bulgar
1 whole bulb garlic
1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
⅓ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
juice of 1 lime
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Form the meat mixture into 10 equal-sized balls then press flat into a patty. Use your thumb to press a dimple in the middle of each patty to keep it from over-shrinking on the grill.
Preheat your grill and lightly spray with oil. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the top off of the garlic bulb, exposing the cloves of garlic.
Place the garlic bulb in a small baking dish and drizzle 1 tsp of the olive oil over the exposed cloves. Replace the top of the garlic bulb, cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the bulbs are roasted and gooey. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a mason jar, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, Greek yogurt, sriracha, and lime juice. Use a fork to pop the roasted cloves of garlic from their papery skin and into the yogurt mixture.
Place a blender blade and cap on top of the mason jar and screw it on firmly. Mount the jar on your blender and puree until smooth.
Place a slider patty on the bottom of a slider bun.
Drizzle the patty with a generous tablespoon of the aioli.
Optional: top with 2 slices of avocado and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.
Place the top of the slider bun in place and bite!
Please note that I did not include the nutritional value of the slider buns in this recipe because the availability and type of slider buns varies from store to store. Please make sure to factor those in to your finished product, the nutritional value shown here only includes the patty and aioli.
I love discovering wineries in my neck of the woods. Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of venturing out to the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge to experience some new (to me) wineries.
Jacob Williams was my first stop and a great start to the day. With a fairly new tasting room sitting in a lovely location flanked by a cherry orchard to the north and a stunning view of the river to the south, it was a wonderful find. The lovely lady conducting our tasting happily chatted about the winemaker, their wines, and even the music festival she had attended that weekend when I noticed her Sasquatch t-shirt.
A family affair, Jacob Williams takes its name from owner Brad Gearheart’s two sons: Jacob and William. Together, Brad and John Haw, a local wine-making legend of Pedroncelli, Sokol Blosser, and Maryhill fame, create high-quality wine from locally-sourced Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel grapes.
The 2009 Syrah is a stunning example of their work. Sourced from the Hi-Valley Vineyard just across the river in The Dalles, OR, the 2009 Syrah boasts flavors of plum, pepper, and cocoa. It was a Gold Medal winner at the NW Wine Summit and it’s not hard to see why.
Big, intense, and complex, the 2009 Syrah is perfect with a big meaty barbecue dish. I chose to pair it with my Ribboned Tenderloin Veggie Skewers for that very reason. The big-bodied wine plays well with the hearty steak and intense rosemary on the veggies. Add in a side of grilled red onions, mushrooms and fingerling potatoes and you have an amazing summer meal.