Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Collard Wrap

It appears the world of technology is not on my side these days. For some really irritating reason I can't submit reply comments to you lovelies who are commenting. I'm sorry! I'm working on figuring it out but wanted to let you know that I do see you commenting and I love it... I'll make sure and reply when I can.

I also had a modem problem. Because apparently it decided to head to the great beyond of computer hardware, resulting in multiple phone calls to Comcast and a much (much) dreaded trip to the (shudder) Comcast store. And if you haven't been before, let me lay it out for you plain and simple: it's worse than the DMV. Worse.

But here I am, back again and phew! Because I was going a little crazy. I mean, 36 hours without the internet? Oh. Em. Gee. Quite possibly worse than a day without my cell phone. If not worse, at least on the same level.

But I do have a post for you. Or should I say, boy do I have posts (plural) for you. I had a great plan to get my posts written over the weekend. You know. Be like, proactive or something. That didn't happen. Instead I ended up working almost 40 hours in about three days.

So stay tuned because there is even a beautiful and delicious adult beverage on the board. One I'm sure The Real McCoy will either A: steal borrow, or B: roll eyes in lameness and down one of his own perfectly crafted cocktails to numb the pain.

On the board today though, is much healthier. And tasty. And fairly simple. A collard leaf filled with earthy grilled vegetables, hearty brown rice and 'special sauce', dare I say.

The grilled kale was my favorite part. Remember the kale chips? Well, these were like large versions of those tasty kale chips, lending a little crunch and texture to the whole package.

3 cups water
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups short brown rice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium-ish zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 6ths
8-10 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
10-12 crimini mushrooms
1 bunch fresh kale leaves, washed, ends trimmed and dried
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
Just shy 1 Tablespoon Vegenaise
1 Tablespoon dill
1 bunch fresh collard leaves, washed and stems trimmed off

Preheat oven to 375.

In a pan, combine 3 cups water, Earth Balance and pinch salt. Bring to a boil.

Place brown rice in an oven safe dish. When water mixture comes to a boil, pour over rice, give it a quick stir then cover tightly with tin foil or a lid. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.

When rice is done, remove from oven and fluff with fork.

Heat your grill to medium high heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove.

In a jar, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Seal and shake well.

Spear mushrooms onto two or three skewers. Arrange zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms on a baking tray or other large flat dish and pour dressing on top. Move veggies around to ensure even coverage. Set aside for 10-30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine vegan cream cheese, Vegenaise, dill, 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well, ensuring everything is combined then set aside.

When your pot of water is boiling, gently submerge each collard leaf individually. Let each leaf sit in the water for about 20-30 seconds. Remove and place on a kitchen towel. Repeat for all leaves, piling them on top of one another.

Take your veggies to the grill and cook on med/high. Let them go on one side for about 3-5 minutes, creating those lovely grill marks but not over cooking. Turn veggies and repeat until all sides are grilled. Note: do not over cook your veggies. If possible, keep them slightly al dente.

While your veggies are cooking, put your kale leaves on the baking sheet or plate you had your veggies on, coating them with the left over marinade on both sides. Do not be shy with the marinade. They will need it for grilling.

When your other veg is basically done, place your kale leaves on the grill. Cook on one side for 1-2 minutes until edges are dark, roasty and crunchy. Flip and let cook on the other side for a bit as well.

Remove all veg from the grill. Turn the grill off and prepare to assemble your wraps.

Note: when assembling, you want to arrange everything slightly off centered and toward the top of the leaf (where the stem is). Make sure you leave space on all sides except where the stem is, otherwise you will have a hard time rolling.

Lay a collard wrap sideways, with the stem to your left. Using a knife, evenly spread some cream cheese dill mixture on the leaf, leaving the top part (furthest from you) clean.

Lay a grilled kale leaf on top of that. Place about 3 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup brown rice (depending on leaf size) on top of the kale leaf. Arrange a zucchini spear and one or two asparagus spears on top of the kale leaf. Slice two or three mushrooms and place those on top. Note: the amount of rice and veg depends on the size of the collard leaf.

To wrap it up, first fold the 'clean' bit of collard leaf closest to you on top, rolling your ingredients as you go. Then fold the bottom 'clean' bit of collard leaf inward. Finish by rolling the entire thing toward the 'clean' portion of the leaf farthest away from you. Tighten and/or pack the ingredients as you roll.

Repeat for all leaves.

Cut rolls in half at an angle. Arrange on a large platter if you are serving as an appetizer or place on a plate with a little green salad or more brown rice, if you are serving for an individual course.

The tang of the dill cream cheese mixture is a fun surprise in combination with the veggie marinade and earthy roasty flavor of the grill.

So good and so good for you.


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