As much as I have always loved olives I have always hated lettuce. Once, when I was maybe 11 my Mom picked me up some Taco Bell, she was headed out for the night and I was very excited that instead of a nice family meal I would get to eat my favorite fast food. When I opened up the package I found that although I had clearly said “no lettuce” my food was covered in nasty bits of shredded lettuce which I particularly detest because it is nearly impossible to remove and in addition to this insult, the main component of my order completely missing. She didn’t have time to go back to Taco Bell so I called and asked to talk to the manager. He apologized and said I could come back and get replacements and I said something like “Hey Mister, I am only 11 and I am not old enough to drive, you are going to have to deliver the food” and somehow, he did! I can’t imagine working at a Taco Bell and delivering some punk ass kid some food but this guy was one and a million and I was thrilled. Anyway, as I grew older I started to eat more greens, Spinach became a favorite thanks to the Zelyanitsa (Serbian Spinach Souffle) and Fettuccine Florentine and later I started to like all the other greens one by one. The key, for me, is that I usually only like them cooked.
I picked up some beautiful Romaine at the Farmer’s market and I was thinking about trying the Ceaser from the Veganomicon but Mr. Smurf adores Ceaser Salad and I was worried he the vegan version wouldn’t work for him and I still don’t really like lettuce so I wasn’t sure what to do. He told me his favorite was at a place he used to work where they grilled the Romaine so I did a search and came upon Susan V’s very similar situation. She has a ridiculously easy recipe for Grilled Romaine that I tried. Basically, you cut the lettuce in half, grill it on a George Forman, and then sprinkle on some balsamic white vinegar and sunflower seeds. I also had some carrots and bread that were on their last leg so I made some croutons and chopped the carrots as well. It was a good thing too because for some reason my grilled romaine wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Susans’. Maybe I didn’t have the heat up high enough because it didn’t really carmelize. I was excited to see that she is part of a event called Tried & Tested where other bloggers can make her recipes and write about how it went. Folks, even though it wasn’t as pretty it tasted great! This was a way for me to actually enjoy lettuce!I also made my first stab at a Muffuletta Pasta recipe that has been invading my mind when I am really hungry. On my first trip ever to New Orleans with Farmer Smurf we went to a pasta place that had this on the menu and it was delcious, smoked meats and olives were heavily involved and I was in love. The version that I made yesterday had onions, lots of garlic, green olives, bacon bits (many brands are somehow vegan), and the parsley sauce I made the other day. It was good but I need to work out the ratios. Mr. Smurf thought it was a weird mix if flavors and then he later went on to make a wrap with hummus, rice, chorizo, salsa, and kale which I thought sounded very strange. To each is own!
May the 4th be with you!