Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

2 07 2014

Tonight we enjoyed this fabulous quinoa salad featuring Fresh Fork Market kale and cucumber. Pick your protein and enjoy it warm, at room temp or even cold – it’s that versatile. Serve it as a side dish, a salad or even an appetizer, making it perfect for summer potlucks too! I’ll be sharing this with friends and fam this holiday weekend! 🙂

Grilled Kale, Quinoa and Cherry Salad

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and A Beautiful Mess):

  • 1 bunch organic kale, large stems cut away, washed and dried
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dark cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 medium organic cucumber, cut in half, seeded and chopped
  • Chopped parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sharp provolone cheese, shaved

Preheat grill to medium.

Drizzle kale with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Grill over medium heat, 1-2 minutes on each side until a little char starts to form. Remove from the grill and cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice or tear into small pieces. Discard stems.

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mine called for 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups water. To add some extra flavor, I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water. I recommend using the pre-rinsed kind of quinoa to save yourself time. Once cooked, allow quinoa to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the grilled kale, cooked quinoa, cherries, cucumber and parsley. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and garnish with sunflower seeds and shaved provolone. You can enjoy this salad warm, at room temperature or even cold.

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Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

20 01 2014

The French have a classic ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel called the croque monsieur….and when they add a fried egg on top, they call it a croque madame. I read somewhere it’s because the fried egg resembles a hat – I love that!

Today’s brunch had more than one muse. First, I was inspired by France because I had leftover pesto-bechamel from a recipe I recently made (see below for link). And secondly by Italy, because I’m taste-testing for an Italian bread company. So this brunch sandwich is a marriage between the two…the idea and sauce is French while the meat, cheese and bread is Italian. 🙂

I’ve been on a blogger review panel for Orlando Baking Company, testing their True Grains breads (see the bottom of this post for other recipes). Their Seed’licious is the final of the three sample breads I received to try, and is my favorite. This bread is coated with millet, as well as flax, sunflower and chia seeds, which not only provides a good source of fiber and protein, it also promotes digestive health. And better yet, this bread offers a nice crunchy texture. A perfect vehicle for a fancy, but healthy grilled ham and cheese! This madame tips her hat to you, Orlando Baking Company!

Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

Italian Style Croque Madame with Leftover Pesto-Bechamel Sauce

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

Preheat oven to 200.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium.

Build your sandwiches…spread a little mustard on a slice of bread and add a slice of cheese and then a layer of ham (I used two pieces of prosciutto per sandwich). Spread a little more mustard on a second piece of bread and top the sandwich (mustard-side on top of the ham). Brush some olive oil on the top of the bread and place the olive-oil coated side down in your warmed skillet. While the sandwich starts to cook, brush the other piece of bread (now facing up in your pan) with  a little more olive oil. Cook until the bottom turns a nice golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to the oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the leftover pesto-bechamel sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often until hot.

Spray a little more non-stick spray in the skillet you just used and heat over medium-high. Add eggs (one egg per sandwich) and season with salt and pepper . Fry (untouched) until egg whites set and yolks are still a little runny.

To serve, place a little arugula on the bottom of a plate, top with one sandwich, drizzle with the hot pesto-bechamel sauce and top with a fried egg.

Additional recipes using Orlando True Grains bread: