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grilled romaine

Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad vegetarian

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

Grilled Romaine Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing // Karista's Kitchen

This summer has proven to be quite a diverse and eclectic season thus far.  My home has been filled to the brim with loveliness and laughter and blonde heads roaming the halls.  

My niece came to stay with us for a college internship and of course my two sassy gals had to be in the thick of things with her.  The girls have grown up together and are separated by two and half to three years each.  I used to call them my stair step kids.  My two girls, six years apart and my niece smack in the middle.  I tell her she’s my middle child.  She laughs her infectious laugh and then we all move on to reminiscing about when the girls were young and watch home movies of dances and plays they performed.

the girls

We spent weekends touring the state and showing our niece the beauty of Oregon and I had the opportunity to try a few new things – like riding the dunes and nearly losing my breakfast on those dunes.  We prepared loads of family meals, barbecues and baked goods and sat around the patio table or living room sofa discussing life, love, dreams, health and nutrition, because one cannot leave the Bennett house without a little discussion on health and nutrition.  We’re just a little weird that way. 😉

Our sweet niece went back to school for her summer quarter and we went back to summer weekends walking the beach (and missing her) and eating seafood to kayaking the alpine lakes in the mountains and stopping for barbecue on the way home.  Time spent together, adventuring, enjoying the outdoors and most importantly, dining together.

Life around my table is never short of interesting conversation, stories of times past or delicious food.  Life – just the way I like it.

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing // Karista's Kitchen

This lovely Grilled Romaine Salad has been on our summer menu for years.  I started grilling romaine years ago, as a way to get my girls to think the salad was a bit more special and therefore needed to be tasted.  I’d make my sisters sweet and spicy dressing (which I love!) and then top it with gorgonzola, bleu cheese or feta.  When my girls decided they loved goats cheese, I’d sub with goat cheese crumbles.  This Grilled Romaine Salad was served with dressing and cheese, or with dressing, sliced summer tomatoes and fresh cucumber with a sprinkling of cheese on top.  Sometimes I’d include grilled shrimp and make this a meal or crumbled bacon and make it just a bit more indulgent.

However, I served this grilled romaine salad, it was always a favorite way to enjoy our summer meals.

I adore sharing my recipes that represent not only precious times past but also lovely times present.  Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

Serving Size: 4-6

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing


  • 2 -3 heads of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise with root end still intact
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup for brushing, 1/2 cup for the dressing)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3-4 ounces bleu cheese, gorgonzola or feta, crumbled (or more if you love cheese)
  • Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • Pre-heat the grill to 350F, or heat a grill pan on medium high. Brush the halved romaine hearts with the 1/4 cup olive oil on both sides and then season with salt and pepper.
  • While the grill is heating, whisk together the garlic, onion, ketchup, mustard, sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil and the water. The dressing should be slightly pink. Add just a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  • When the grill is hot place the halved romaine hearts cut side down on the grill.
  • Let the romaine halves grill for about 1 – 2 minutes and then turn the halves over and grill the other side of the romaine for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  • I like my romaine hearts just a little wilted with a bit of crisp still left in the romaine. Ranger Craig however, likes his romaine hearts a little more grilled and wilted. Feel free to grill them to your tastes.
  • Take the romaine off the grill and place on a platter. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately.
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    Sassy Side dishes Seafood

    My Favorite Steamers

    Spring, summer, fall or winter, these are my favorite steamers!

    On July 4th the sun finally arrived.   It was a glorious day.  We have a joke around these parts, summer begins day after 4th of July because that’s usually when our sunny weather arrives.  This year we got summer one day early.  A happy day. 
    I love spending as much time as possible (without doing yard work) outside in this beautiful weather.  So dinner ends up being served outside on the deck most summer nights.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  Well… it’s also because with the sunshine comes warm weather, and it usually gets to warm to eat in the house.  My little mountain cottage did not come with central AC.  Not that we’d need it.
    Yesterday, I spotted fresh littleneck clams at Gemini Fish Market. That was it, my mind was made up.  We were having steamers for dinner.  What a simple and simply delicious dinner to serve outside on the deck.  I paired the yummy steamers with warm rosemary artisan bread for dunking and then grilled some romaine halves for a little greens with our dinner.  

    Grilled Romaine Salad

    Yep, got to have those greens with dinner or I’ll be sure to hear Ranger Craig say… do we have any greens with dinner?   And you all thought he only asked for sauce. 🙂
    My Favorite Steamers

    Serves 2 (can be doubled)

    Substitution: Wine can be substituted with seafood stock, fish stock or clam juice.


    2-3 lbs Fresh littleneck or manilla clams, washed, scrubbed and rinsed in cool water

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 small onion, small diced or 2 medium leeks chopped

    8-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

    1 sprig fresh oregano

    1 sprig fresh parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

    Pinch of red pepper flakes

    1 cup dry white wine

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Squeeze of fresh lemon


    In a large stock pot heat the butter over medium high heat until melted and frothy.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent and then add the garlic and sauté a minute longer. 

    Toss in the fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and then add the clams.  Coat the clams with the herb mixture and then add the white wine.  Let the wine come to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. 

    Let the clams steam in the broth for about 5 minutes then lift the lid to check the clams.  When all the clams have opened they are done.  It can take 5-10 minutes to cook all the clams, depending on the size of the stock pot.  Toss them around in the broth and check for seasoning.  Pour them into a large serving bowl and top with a squeeze of fresh lemon. 

    Serve with crusty fresh bread for dipping. 

    Options:  Add in 1/2 lb of chorizo with the onions and garlic.  It’ll really kick up the spicy flavors so you won’t need to add the red pepper flakes.

    Add in whatever fresh herbs you like.  Lemongrass would be nice, and maybe rosemary.  But be careful with rosemary as it can be overpowering to the broth. 

    Recipe Idea: Another idea is to serve these clams over a spaghetti or linguini pasta.  My daughter likes to take a few tablespoons of melted butter and pan sear about 1/4 cup bread crumbs in the butter until toasty.  Then she mixes in her cooked spaghetti and pours the clams and broth over the buttered spaghetti!  Divine!!!  Top with grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.

    Grilling Halibut Sassy Side dishes Seafood

    Grilled Halibut with Grilled Romaine and Cherry Tomatoes in a Sherry Vinaigrette

    I love summer grilling!  When the warm weather arrives I typically use the grill for all my summer cooking.  So even the veggies, and sometimes even the salad, gets thrown on the grill. 

    Grilled lettuce & radicchio are actually quite delicious and a great side dish for grilled fish & chicken.  When I make the sherry vinaigrette I throw it on everything… the veggies, lettuce, fish, mushrooms, etc.  It’s also great over grilled summer tomatoes.

    Keep dinner simple… and enjoy the flavors of life!  Happy Cooking!

    Grilled Mixed Veggies and Romaine in a Sherry Vinaigrette

    1 head romaine cut in half or quartered

    1 head radicchio quartered

    Assorted veggies; zucchini halved, Asparagus stemmed, Mushrooms stemmed, Bell peppers seeded & sliced, fennel thick sliced, corn, tomatoes halved or any other veggies you & your family like. You can also use small cherry tomatoes halved and toss in the vinaigrette before serving.

    Sherry Vinaigrette

    2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, rosemary, Italian parsley (or any fresh herb you have on hand)

    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    ¼ cup good quality sherry vinegar

    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

    1 teaspoon salt (I love fine ground sea salt in this recipe)

    ¾ cup olive oil

    Whisk all ingredients together and adjust seasoning as needed.


    Spice it up:  Add crushed red pepper flakes, minced jalapeno or other hot peppers

    Use different vinegar such as balsamic or rice wine vinegar

    Use different herbs: cilantro, tarragon, chervil, chives, marjoram, etc.

    Sweeten it:  add some brown sugar or honey