After Christmas Pot Luck

On New Years, just remember: if your cup runneth over, you’ve probably reached your limit.
– Melanie White

So it’s the day after Christmas and while I have a few goodies left over from our Christmas Eve dinner we were tired of the celebratory festive foods and wanted something totally different.  So it’s potluck week over at the cooking club, and with such an opportunity to move away from the leftovers and a bright sunny day in store we decided on something on the grill, perfect for a bit of a change in the holiday food fare menu.

I drifted over to Giada’s place and picked over some favorites and ended up with a slightly adapted version of one of her Panzanella recipes and  a takeoff on her  marinated bistecca Fiorentia…the salad is easy enough and I used French bread slices buttered with Ruth Reichl’s garlic butter and toasted in a grill pan, perfect along with the rest of the ingredients.  Since there were no frozen artichokes available, I used canned whole, drained, and patted dry, then again using a lightly oiled grill pan gently grilled.  I also had prepared a zesty Italian dressing to finish off so a drizzle or 3 was perfect for the small salad for 2 that I made.

A little trick for the “tastes like” Giada’s steak was a fantastic salt, rosemary, thyme, and lemon zest blend that I made and can be used for many things.  The burger idea started with a frozen thick ribeye freshly ground as well as well as my favorite ground beef mix, enough for 8 burgers, seasoned with a little of the seasoning salt and pepper, shaped into patties, brushed with EVOO and a sprinkling of seasoning salt on both sides 20-30 minutes before grilling.  Grill to a medium rare or to your preferred temperature.

Panzanella

3 cups 1 1/2-inch-cubed whole-wheat bread or French bread slices
One 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (about 2 cups), or drain 1 can whole artichokes
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
1 cup pitted black olives, halved
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread and artichoke hearts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread and artichokes until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread and artichokes from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Add the tomatoes, olives, and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.