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With this heat we have been having, I am sure it’s just as hard for you as it is for me to decide what to prepare for every meal.
I sometimes just stand in front of the open refrigerator door and try to figure out what sounds good. Then I think about all the fresh foods now coming from our gardens and try to determine the best way to prepare them.
You know, we don’t always have to cook the food. Many times it is even better eaten raw.
A couple of days ago, I decided a cool, refreshing salad was in order for lunch. We had watermelon, fresh tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese and red onions in the refrigerator. I also had frozen shrimp, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
All were terrific ingredients for a salad, and absolutely no cooking was involved because the shrimp was already cooked. All I had to do was to defrost the shrimp under cool running water.
I placed the spinach on a plate, topped it with about five, quarter inch slices of watermelon. On top of the watermelon I placed the chopped tomatoes, sliced onion, feta cheese (about 2 tbsp.), then drizzled on a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The combination of the balsamic vinegar with the tomatoes, onions and watermelon together in one bite makes your tongue want to slap the roof of your mouth. Oh, and it was so refreshing. It was very healthy too.
Many times I am asked, what can I do different with my vegetables? Here is a wonderful meal I prepared that has changed a vegetable in such a way that it makes it even better. I give you:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground black peppercorns
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 tsp. salt, plus extra for the kale
Olive oil cooking spray
Large kale leaves (as many as you like)
3 large heirloom or regular tomatoes, sliced (or try red and yellow tomatoes)
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, onions, chopped basil and pepper. Set aside about 3 tbsp. of the marinade to use later.
Pour the remaining marinade into a large, resealable plastic bag along with the chicken breast. Seal the bag and place in refrigerator for about an hour, turning at least once.
Preheat your gas or charcoal grill, being sure to oil the grill prior to cooking on it. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill rack. Brush with remaining marinade that is in the bag, and salt chicken. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side. When done, transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil.
In the meantime, spray both sides of the kale leaves with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill kale until brown spots appear and the leaves are slightly wilted, this will take about 1-2 minutes per side.
Arrange the kale on a plate with the chicken, spread the sliced tomatoes over the kale, then stir reserved marinade and spoon over tomatoes and lightly on the kale. Sprinkle with a little salt, if you so desire. I also served a side of brown rice, which really topped this meal off perfectly.
Bob and I both loved the flavor of the grilled kale, it gave it a slight nutty taste and took out the bitter taste that sometimes comes with kale.
Lonnie Sunderemeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.