Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad for #heinensgrill

When Heinen's asked me if I wanted to partner up about grilling, I couldn't help but think of lettuce. Before the Chef and I fell in love I never in my entire life on this beautiful planet have thought of grilling lettuce and I am sure most of you haven't as well. 

But then my fabulous husband put it on the menu at our restaurant The Greenhouse Tavern and I was hooked on grilled lettuce. It sounds weird but the grilled romaine Caesar salad is easily one of the best salads I have ever had and I never ever thought I could make it myself. So when Heinen's asked me to be a part of #heinensgrill I accepted and gave myself a challenge, learn how to make The Greenhouse Tavern's grilled romaine Caesar salad.  

And learn I did! 

What You Need for Grilled Lettuce:

1 Head of Romaine Lettuce

1 Lemon

1 Tbsn Olive Oil

S & P 

How to Grill Lettuce:

  1. Rince and pat romaine dry.
  2. Brush surface with olive oil and s & p mixture.
  3. Grill 4 to 5 minutes, turning throughout.
  4. Remove from grill, slather with Caesar dressing and dried onions.

What you need for Cesar dressing:

12 egg yolks 

½ c Dijon

¾ C Tavern Beer Vinegar (found on your Heinen's shelves or on Tavern Vinegar's website!!)

2 C pecorino

2 T ground black pepper

1 C olive oil

1 C blended oil 

1 T fish sauce

How to make:


  1. Seperate egg yolks and egg whites discard egg whites not necessary for this recipe
  2. In the food processor add egg yolks, dijon, and vinegar turn food processor on and allow eggs to whip for 3 minutes or until they double in size
  3. Slowly incorporate EVO and blended oil creating an emulsion 
  4. Once all olive oil is incorporated, add the pecorino cheese, black pepper, and fish sauce blend until smooth. 
  5. Slather over grilled romaine head of lettuce.
  6. Enjoy!



The Greenhouse Tavern Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

For one fabulous Chef's Widow reader Heinens has offered to giveaway a tote full of grilling supplies. All you have to do is leave a comment here telling me your favorite grilling recipe or tweet/instagram/facebook this:

This grilled romaine caesar salad is the must grill of the season! #heinensgrill

 I will choose a winner on Monday September 1st! Get yo #heinensgrill on!


DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup

I find Maya Weinstein's experiment to figure out how to make High Fructose Corn Syrup quite interesting. I am not sure what she is trying to accomplish as I saw multiple comments on her video requesting to buy the kit. To me, the ingredients alone scream CANCER CANCER CANCER, but that's me.

Nonetheless, she wanted to find out how something was made and she did.

PS High Fructose Corn Syrup is nasty. And bad. And causes all sorts of health issues. Don't eat it. Don't feed it to your kids.


There are No RULES in #Breakfastclub

For our family breakfast is the only time of the day we are all together. The Chef tends to work late so we really try to focus our family time on the morning ritual. For us breakfast can be fast or sit down, it's really all about the timing of that day. The recipes above are a few of #teamsawyer's favorites. 

Chef Sawyer's Parker House Roll

via Food & Wine Magazine

“Old Bay isn’t really a Cleveland thing,” says Jonathon Sawyer about the seasoning on these fluffy, buttery rolls, “but sometimes it’s the right ingredient. I remember my mother’s Parker Houses being laced with salty, savory Old Bay and a mean aged cheddar.”

What You Need:

  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1 large egg, beaten
  5. 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  6. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  8. 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
  9. 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

How to Make:

  1. In a microwave-safe cup, heat the milk until warm but not hot, about 20 seconds. Add the yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the egg and 6 tablespoons of the melted butter and beat at low speed just until combined. Add the 3 1/2 cups of flour and the salt and beat at low speed until the dough is evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and pat it into a 10-inch square. Fold one-third of the dough into the center and the other third on top, like folding a letter. Turn the dough and fold again; you should have a small square. Butter the bowl and return the dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 15-inch square. Working from the bottom, tightly roll the dough into a log. Using a floured knife, cut the log into thirds. Cut each third into 5 slices. Arrange the rolls spiral side up in the baking pan in 3 rows of 5. Cover loosely with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, until billowy.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and bake for 15 minutes longer, until golden and cooked through; cover the rolls with foil for the last 5 minutes to prevent over-browning. Brush the rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle them with the Old Bay seasoning. Transfer the baking pan to a rack to let the rolls cool before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The baked rolls can be kept at room temperature overnight. Rewarm before serving.

    Vitamix Pesto

    It's the end of the summer which means my basil plants are CRAY CRAY:


    Because I am a Vitamix junkie I have been thinking about making pesto in it for awhile. The plants above gave me the excuse to mess around with a recipe. As always this recipe is what I like in a pesto. It's a little more cheesy than most, and it's got some bite due the ridiculous amount of garlic I added. 


    What You Need: 

    3 Cups of Basil (I tend to use smaller leaves as they pack more punch) 

    1/2 c. parmesan cheese

    1/4 c. olive oil (+ more to taste) 

    4 cloves of garlic

    1/4 c. raw pine nuts




    How to Make: 

    1. Add basil leaves to Vitamix. Chop on 1 or 2 setting.
    2. Once chopped, add parmesan. Chop again on 1 or 2 setting.  
    3. Slowly add olive oil and garlic cloves. Increase speed up to 5.  Add pine nuts. Increase speed of Vitamix. 
    4. Continue to increase speed until blended. I usually pop it up to high for a few seconds to finish blend.  
    5. Enjoy on pasta, breads, salads, or whatever you like! 

    Homemade All Natural Bug Spray (that actually works!)

    I have fairy blood.

    Well, at least that's what I tell the minis when I get eaten alive by mosquitos while the Chef sits by enjoying the summer night without one single bite. 

    The boy seems to have inherited my fairy blood. The girl got lucky. 

    Summer months bring many bumps and I am constantly in search of a bug spray that won't give my kids cancer in place of bug bites.  

    This summer I decided to test out a theory. I have often thought that every chemical ridden product that is sold to us nowadays had to start somewhere naturally. So I scoured the internet in search of a bug spray recipe that actually works at keeping bugs away. After testing and combining multiple recipes I finally created one that actually works for my family. I sprayed the minis down for Nature Camp (a six hour camp held only outside in the forest) and the boy came home with ONE bite and the girl NONE, all week long. Cray. Cray. 

    #teamsawyer for the win! 

    What you need: 

    • Citronella Essential Oil
    • Tea Tree Oil
    • Witch Hazel
    • Vinegar
    • Distilled Water
    • Lemon Slice

    How to make: 

    1. Fill a small spray bottle 1/4th full with distilled water. 
    2. Fill the rest with witch hazel. Be sure to leave about an inch at the top for the rest of ingredients. 
    3. Add 40 drops of citronella essential oil. 
    4. Add 20 drops of tea tree oil. 
    5. Squeeze slice of lemon and a splash of vinegar. 
    6. Shake. 
    7. Spray. 


    Seed-A-licious Snack

    Yesterday I made the most delicious snack ever. It literally took me 5 minutes to prep and make and my kids ate them like they were giant sized candy bars.

    Check it.

    What You Need:

    1/4 c Sunflower Seed

    1/4 c Hemp/Chia Seed Mixture

    1/4 tsp cinammon

    pinch of salt

    1.5 tbsn honey

    How to Make:

    1. Mix cinnamon, hemp seed mixture, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 

    2. Roast sunflowers in a pan. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Make sure you move the pan continuously so the seeds don't get burned. They are finished when they are a light brown.

    3. Add hemp seed mixture. Roast for about 1 minute.

    4. Add honey to pan and mix until honey is completely disperse.

    5. Pour onto parchment and flatten with a wooden spoon.

    6. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

    7. Break into bite sized pieces.

    8. Enjoy!

    Buckwheat Gnocchi

    Buckwheat Gnocchi

    What You Need:

    1½ cups water
    12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter
    1 tablespoon salt
    2 cups buckwheat flour, plus 2 cups for piping
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
    ¹∕8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    5 large farm eggs

    How to Make:

    1. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to be sure that the pot does not boil over or too much liquid does not evaporate, as changing the ratio of liquid to flour could make tough gnocchi.

    2. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the flour and stir until the mixture forms a dough and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Add the cheese and nutmeg, then continue to stir until fully incorporated.

    3. Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time while mixing on medium speed, mixing just until each egg is incorporated. At first the dough will look broken, but as you add the eggs it will come back together. Do not overmix.

    4. Once the mixture has become homogeneous again, turn off the mixer. Line two baking sheets with parchment and sift the 2 cups of flour generously onto the parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a piping bag without a tip. The dough should all fit in one bag, or piping it in batches is okay, too.

    5. Pipe the gnocchi onto the floured baking sheets into ¼-inch ropes until all is used. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes (to refrigerator temperature) to firm.

    6. In the meantime, fill a large pot partway with water and bring to a boil over high heat, adding salt until the water tastes like the ocean. In a very large bowl, prepare an ice bath using a ratio of 3 cups of ice to 6 cups of water. Set aside.

    7. Remove the gnocchi from the refrigerator one baking sheet at a time. Use a bench scraper to cut the ropes into 1- to 1½-inch-long segments, depending on your preference. Place the gnocchi in the pot of boiling water and cook until they float to the top, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain them out as they rise and shock them in the ice
    bath. Repeat until all the gnocchi are cut and cooked.

    8. Strain the gnocchi from the ice bath into a large mixing bowl, tossing with 3 tablespoons of blended oil to prevent sticking. Use the gnocchi within 3 to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

    9. Serve with butter, parmesan, and salt.


    recipe property of Chef Jonathon Sawyer

    Homemade Nutella Pop Tarts

    Homemade Poptarts

    What You Need:

    Pie Dough (homemade or refrigerated)

    1/2 c Nutella

    Egg Wash

    1 c Confectioners Sugar

    1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

    2 tbs Milk

    How to Make:


    1. Roll out pie dough on a floured surface.

    2. Cut out rectangles or use a rectangular cookie cutter.

    3. On half of rectangles spread out lots of Nutella. Leave about 1/2" border around the edge.

    4. Place the empty dough halves on top of covered dough.

    5. Pinch sides down. Poke holes in top. Brush tops with egg wash. 

    6. Bake low and slow. 250° for 10-15 minutes. Check frequently and remove when edges start to brown.

    Vanilla Icing

    1. Mix confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla. Spread on cooled pop tarts.


    Ohio Black Walnut Soup

    Last week Anne Burrell of Food Network and bleach blonde spiky hair noterity gave a shout out in USA Today of her favorite soups. The Chef's Ohio Black Walnut soup happened to be one of them so I thought I would share the recipe with you guys. 

    Black Walnut & Sage Soup (Serves 4-6)

    Chef Jonathon Sawyer's Ohio Walnut Soup

    What You Need:

    • 1 yellow onion (diced)
    • 1 stalk of celery (diced)
    • 1/4 c. diced bacon
    • 1 c. ohio walnuts (chopped)
    • 1/2 c. sprigs of sage
    • 1 gal. pork stock
    • 1 c. heavy cream
    • 1 lb. salted butter
    • 25 small duck meatballs

    How to Make:

    1. In a medium sized soup pot melt butter then add bacon, celery, and onion.
    2. Cook until everything begins to brown (about 10 minutes) then add chopped walnuts.
    3. Add sage and pork stock. Simmer and stir. 
    4. After about 20 minuets add heavy cream. 
    5. Simmer for another 5 minutes then add to vitamix (or blender). Combine till smooth.
    6. Add s & p to taste.
    7. Combine finished soup and meatballs. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    8. Serve with toasted walnuts and crispy sage.
    9. Enjoy!