Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm Obsessed!

It turns out the Southwest flavors are still a craving of mine!  We had raw tacos again this week along with this beautiful creation:
and now for the topping:

shredded raw goat cheddar!  This thing came out of Kyle's brain!  It's amazing!  All the raw taco fixins' atop organic blue corn and flax tortilla chips!!!  Perfect for watching a movie with your husband!  (or for getting ready to watch a movie and then being too tired to actually watch said movie so you go to sleep at 7:30!) 

I am also obsessed with artichokes and eggplant of late, in case you haven't noticed! haha  I promise there are tons more recipes that do not contain artichokes or eggplant coming soon!  This however, was the recreation of my Carrabbas Insalata Fiorucci!  Basically it was a salad with artichokes, grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers and a hazelnut encrusted (gross word) goat cheese medallion!  It was so delicious that I had to have more, so I recreated it with great results!!!! 
So tasty!  The eggplant at the restaurant was marinated in something with a slightly sweet flavor, my guess is balsamic vinegar, but I found this dressing on closeout at Kroger and wanted to try it!

Ginger Pear dressing from Maple Grove Farms!  The original salad also had Italian Greens but they wanted a fortune for those at the grocery this week so I used a Romaine blend.  I also found this fabulous Honey Goat Cheese and wanted to try it, though at the restaurant they used regular.
It was a really good addition to the salad though and went really well with the flavors of the ginger pear dressing!  I also used pecans rather than hazelnuts because that is what I had!
I wanted to roll the sliced goat cheese in the ground up pecans but that didn't work out so well!  I ended up toasting them and then adding it to the top of the cheese and the salad!  Here is the recipe!

Marinated A&E Salad:
One bag salad greens (Italian blend is optimal but any will work!)
One red pepper, roasted and chopped
Small eggplant
1/2 bag frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's)
1 cup of your marinade (dressing or balsamic vinegar)
Pecans, crumbed and toasted ( I used about a cup)
Olive oil and sea salt for roasting pepper

*Assemble all ingredients.  Turn broiler on HI and quarter red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, place on pan and put in oven to roast.  They are done when the skin starts to pucker, about 10 minutes.  While peppers are roasting, slice eggplant and place in shallow bowl with marinade~ toss.  When peppers are done, transfer them to another surface.  Place marinated eggplant on baking sheet previously used for pepper.  Add 1/2 bag frozen artichokes to pan as well, drizzle with leftover marinade.  Place in oven with broiler still on high.  Heat a small pan on stove over medium heat.  While veggies are in oven and pan is heating up, slice goat cheese.  Crumb pecans.  (I always place them in a bag and hit them with a rolling pin!) Then turn stove off and add crumbed pecans to heated pan with a small drizzle of olive oil, toss in pan until toasted.  Don't overcook pecans, it won't take long at all....maybe a minute or two!  Take veggies out of the oven and add to salad greens along with sliced/chopped roasted pepper.  Add goat cheese medallions and pecans to top of salad and FEAST!  The whole thing took about 20 minutes! 

You can add any kind of dressing you wish.  I added the juice of about half a lemon and Kyle used more of the marinade dressing.  Italian would work well.  You may not need anything extra though!  The marinated veggies give plenty of flavor!

Assembled ingredients!

Roasted red pepper!

Toasted pecan crumbs!

Finished product!  Marinated A&E Salad!  YUM!
This served two with some eggplant and peppers left!  If you want to increase to 4 servings just get another package of goat cheese and double the amount of artichoke, salad greens and pecans!  If you end up with extra veggies, they are good to eat just by themselves or with some goat cheese on top! ;-)  I hear that Trader Joe's has prepackaged, individually wrapped goat cheese if you are going there for your artichokes you could check those out as well!  Sounds yummy!  You can also add a side of grilled or baked salmon or chicken to this dish if you are a meat eater.  If you don't eat meat and want more food, you can always have some pasta (GF would be my choice!) on the side!  So, let me know if you try this dish and what you think!

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