Welcome to the official launch and first installment of The Recipe ReDux. In case you want the full read on what The Recipe ReDux is, click here. Then come back and read a little bit of the back story, before I get to the recipe below.
I had the inspiration to start The Recipe ReDux after being an interested observer and admirer of the many online cooking clubs/challenges/groups in the blogosphere. If you're a regular blog crawler, you're probably familiar with many of them: The Daring Kitchen, Tuesdays with Dorie, Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, etc. I have seen some truly inspiration and delicious looking creations come out of the bloggers who participate in them. And I toyed with notion of participating, even going so far as to sign up for Daring Bakers once.
But then life happened... and I just found myself questioning if I really had the time to devote to (what often seem to be) recipe selections that either don't fit my nutritional standards, my family table or my limited free time. Not to say that I will never participate... but not right now.
That said, I still longed for that networked approach to blogging where a group of like-minded bloggers could derive inspiration from one another's posts and similarly, share with their readers an even broader group of blogs to turn to for both healthy recipe inspiration and nutritional discussion & guidance.
That's when I turned to two of my favorite foodie RD friends - Deanna Segrave-Daly & Serena Ball. We three RDs are cut from the same cloth when it comes to our approach to nutrition and food. We believe in taste-first. It's that simple.
And in the days and weeks that followed, we issued the call for folks to join The Recipe ReDux. And now, here we are!
We took on the theme of Grilling for this first Recipe ReDux for a number of reasons. Most notably the timing for those of us in the States is ideal for heading outside, soaking up some vitamin D and enjoying the extra layer of flavor that grilling provides. (We were thrilled when a few of our colleagues from Australia decided to join us... whoops on our failure to think about the fact that it's a different season down under! Thanks Emma, for entertaining our unfortunate timing.)
After toying with the idea of a grilled pizza, I opted for it's cousin... the piadine (or piadina in the case of a crowd of 'em). Piadina are basically folded, rustic sandwiches. They are traditionally made with an unleavened dough, which is prepared by grilling over hot coals for a few minutes on each side. Then the dough is filled with any number of fillings. Perhaps a sandwich is not the first recipe that comes to mind when you hear the word "grilling"... but hey... isn't that the point of the ReDux?
I, while not a vegetarian, lean toward a more plant-based diet and immediately knew I wanted to provide a completely different grill option than your traditional burger fare (although no offense intended to burger lovers... every once in a while, those find their way to my grill, too).
So I chose to fill mine with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, fresh basil and cheese, rather than a meat filling. Increasing your vegetable consumption is one of THE best things you can do for your health. But let's face it... doubling up on salad just isn't the answer for everyone. I suggest a heartier veggie filling to sandwiches, more diverse veggie toppings to pizzas, etc., as a way to ease into breaking the meat-center-plate mentality.
I've also opted for a thin, whole-wheat dough. Unlike most panini which can be overloaded by bread and skimpy on the veggie fillings, the piadina dough is rolled very thin and let's the veggies reign. While whole-wheat is clearly the more nutritious, fiber-rich choice for a dough preparation, the reality is that even too much whole-wheat dough just sends a dish into starch overload. Remember: heavy on the veggie, lighter on everything else.
One word of note to the purist recipe critic - unlike a traditional piadina dough which is unleaved, this one is basically a pizza dough... leavened with yeast. I like the texture and think most palates are suited to the familiarity of a thin pizza dough. Plus, mastering this dough (which is NOT difficult I might add) gives you instant access to whole wheat pizza without dialing for delivery. Or you may prefer to simply grill up a batch to serve with hummus or dipping in olive oil, fresh herbs and balsamic vineger [see below].
And with that, I thank you for joining in on this first round of The Recipe ReDux. I hope you will visit all our members' blogs listed below the recipe to see what they have in store, too. Happy (and Healthy) Grilling!
Grilled Eggplant & Two-Tomato Whole-Wheat Piadina
Makes 6 sandwiches
1 cup warm water (around 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fast rise yeast
360g (about 2 2/3 cups) white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, basil or thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
12 (3/4-inch slices) baby eggplant (about 2 baby eggplant)
12 slices red ripe tomato
12 basil leaves
12 (3/4-ounce) slices 50% reduced-fat sharp white cheddar
To make the dough:
Pour water into liquid measuring cup; add honey and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Combine flour & salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add yeast water and mix on low speed until combined. Add olive oil and continue mixing until blended. Knead dough on medium-low speed 5 minutes or until dough forms a smooth, elastic ball.
Place ball of dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat (or use cooking spray). Cover bowl with plastic wrap or moist dish cloth. Let rise for 30 minutes in a warm area free from drafts (a barely warm oven, turned off, with a steaming cup of water inside & door closed works great).
To prepare piadina:
Prepare and preheat grill or grill pan.
Combine olive oil, vinegar and oregano in a small bowl; brush over both sides of eggplant and set aside (do not discard any remaining oil mixture).
Punch dough down and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion out onto a lightly floured surface until less than 1/4-inch thick. Stack and cover with a towel to keep from drying out.
Depending on size of grill, begin grilling eggplant and piadina dough for 1 - 2 minutes on each side. (You will know piadina dough is ready to turn when top side is covered with bubbles).
Remove eggplant and dough from grill. Brush 1 side of each piece of dough with any remaining oil mixture; spread each evenly with sundried tomatoes. Layer eggplant, tomatoes, basil leaves and cheese on one half of each piece of dough; fold over and enjoy!
The Recipe ReDuxers
Grilled Summer Fruit Salad
Grilled Romaine Salad
Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa
Grilled Sweet Peppers
Grilled Beet & Onion Salad with Goat Cheese
Grilled Polenta Veggie Stacks with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
Char Siu BBQ Pork
Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers
Grilled Proscuitto Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce
Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney
Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spiced couscous
Succulent Sirloin Kabobs
Portabella Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Corn
Grilled Veggie Bean Burgers
Mushroom Burgers with the Works, Mushroom Cannellini Spread
Italian Grilled Turkey Burgers
Grilled Plantains: A Sweet Summer Side Dish
Grilled Eggplant & Two-Tomato Whole-Wheat Piadina
Grilled Watermelon Salad