Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grilled Romaine Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette + Weekly Inspirations

The last few days have definitely had summer reveal itself here in the Bay Area.  Personally I love it!  Each day this weekend we enjoyed our backyard with wine, food and friends.  Summer means salads too.  Recently I made what I deem the “Perfect Summer Salad”.  It is a Grilled Romaine Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette.  Found the dressing recipe in the June issue of Food and Wine Magazine and created the rest of this divine salad.

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Simple Recipe:
Grilled Romaine Salad with Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette


2 large heads of Romaine, cut in half lengthwise
1 Large Onion, peeled and sliced into ¼ slices
½ Cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes cut in half

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill.  In the mean time, brush the heads of romaine lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Lay on the grill and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes until char marks show.  Remove and let cool.

Brush each onion slice with olive oil and lay onto the grill to cook until softened and char marks show.  Remove from grill and let sit when warm in a bowl with tin foil covering it until ready to use.  This will continue the cooking and soften the onions.

Baguette, cut into 24 one inch cubes
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sweet Paprika

Mix olive oil and paprika together in a medium bowl.  Lightly cover each cube of bread.  Place onto a large cookie sheet spaced an inch apart.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crunchy and golden brown.  Remove to cool.  Set aside until ready to assemble salad.

Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette

¼ Cup Smoky Barbecue Sauce (I used Stubb's)
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Honey

Place all ingredients into a jar and shake well.  Set aside until ready to use.

Salad Assembly:

On four plates, lay one of the grilled romaine heads in the middle.  Sprinkle the grilled onions and cherry tomatoes around.  Toss a few of the roasted red bell peppers. (I used the ones from the jar from Trader Joe's) Drizzle the dressing and adorn with 6 of the croutons on each plate.  Serves 4.

Weekly Inspirations

Antica Farmacista Prosecco Room Spray

While shopping at Gump's yesterday, I came across the most decadent and divine room freshener I have smelled in a long time.  The scent was Prosecco by Antica Farmacista and was a must have! 

Book Club:
And the Mountains Echoed

I am excited about my book club’s selection this month – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini who is the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  What book are you reading right now?

Café de la Presse

After our restaurant club yesterday, at another lovely French restaurant in San Francisco, we met friends at Café de la Presse.  It is a San Francisco landmark since 1992 and a popular gathering destination for high-quality French bistro dishes, conversation and style.  I still can’t stop thinking about the Poulet Roti -Roasted “All Natural” Chicken French Fries, Watercress Salad, Garlic au Jus.  If you have not had the pleasure of dining here, it is a do not miss destination!

Food Blogger Spotlight:
Gina from SPCookieQueen

I have been a fan of Gina’s blog, SPCookieQueen for a number of years and the bonus is that she lives only about an hour away.  Gina’s blog is full of wonderful handmade cookies and jams plus other mouthwatering delights.  She has a great whit with her writing style and is a true pleasure to hang around with plus she is one heck of a baker and jam maker.  Oh not to mention, she is a whiz at making handmade macaroons.  I have been encouraging her to open a bakery, so her talents can be enjoyed by many.  Perhaps one day she will and I will be waiting in line on her inaugural opening day.  Smile.

Table Décor:
Toast to the Sea

This is one of the most beautiful tables and parties I have seen in a while.  I also learned this week from someone in the business of high end party furniture rentals, that those fun clear chairs are called – “Ghost Chairs”. 


All over Pinterest are fun flavored popsicles and I am so inspired to run down to Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table to pick up some Popsicle molds and make a batch now.  This adult variety was intriguing – Bloody Mary Popsicles!

Forget the calories:

I am not a huge fan of donuts like my hubby is.  In fact hubby has a complete adoration for those large apple fritters among the other donut varieties.  I on the other hand am fascinated by the light and airy texture and taste of the cruller.  Always wanted to learn to make them and NOW I can from here.

Stunning Restaurant:

Our Chicago trip is approaching and I am researching what fabulous restaurants we want to book.  One keeps popping up in my research, Grace and just might have to hit the RSVP button on Open Table.  It is ever inspiring with the option to have 8 or 12 courses – you heard me right – 12 courses.  Albeit small portions, that is mind blowing - should I book it?


  1. I love grilled salads; your vinaigrette sounds fantastic!

    1. Thank you Laura! It is delish, in fact we are having it tonight for dinner again! Have a fantastic week.

  2. Summer is all about salads and grilling and chilled wine and skinny cocktails :) I love grilled romaine salads, but have never made it at home. Hmmm that's going to change real soon! The barbecue vinaigrette is the perfect dressing, too. Love your roundup of finds, Lisa. Gina sent me some of her jams - she is such a sweetheart. Have a great week!

  3. Wow that salad looks incredible, thanks for sharing. Definitely bookmarking and trying this recipe :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  4. YUM, that vinaigrette sounds adorable. Thanks for sharing :)
    Janie x

  5. I have to try your salad-love everything about it! This time of year is my favorite for those relaxing evenings entertaining friends ...we are so lucky to enjoy the weather in our area! Love Gina and her jams ;-) Have a great week Lisa!

  6. This salad is so sophisticated to me but the smoky vinaigrette brings it down home, I love this, it's a must try for sure!

  7. Lisa, you are full of great info today! I have to say I love how your salad screams of summer. What a great recipe.
    And thanks for the book suggestion. I'm trying to compile a list for summer - I have big plans to spend some time sitting on my butt reading. Right now I'm reading Beautiful Ruins and loving it.
    Have a great week, Lisa!

  8. This salad looks fresh, and light, and hearty! Bring on the summer and all it's wonderful grilled dishes! :)

  9. Ok, that vinaigrette sounds amazing!! That might actually get my husband to eat salads!

  10. Love your salad and this whole post Lisa, so much good stuff to share! I love a good grilled Romaine salad and this one sounds amazing!

  11. Have you booked Grace yet? You always make good calls on restaurants so I don't doubt it will be good.

    This salad sounds amazing and ditto what you said about Gina. :)

    1. I am going to book Grace today! It sounds amazing and will have to tell you all about it! :)

  12. I've never thought of grilling Romaine! But why not, right? Grilled anything is awesome!!! Oooh...and I am pining for the room spray!


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