Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette & Wilted Spinach Salad

We have a very favorite restaurant in our area that serves a spinach salad with blue cheese, red onion and hot bacon vinaigrette. The taste of the spinach salad vs. the romaine salad is almost identical except the romaine is grilled and the spinach is wilted by the hot bacon vinaigrette. Both salads are wonderful. If you want to try something really special try one of these salads for a grill out or a special occasion...you won't be disappointed. Of course it's even better served with a "Chocolate martini"! Yummy!!! Recipes for each are below...
Chocolate Martini
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Grilled Romaine Salad
Ingredients:
  • 4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 romaine lettuce heads, cores removed and leafy ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  •  Freshly cracked black pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat a grill to high
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook until bacon is crispy. Remove onion and bacon from pan. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Brush the romaine with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on the grill cut-side down and quickly sear until grill marks are visible. Set aside
  4. For each serving, place a half head of romain cut-side up on a plate and drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese and top with bacon and onion. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
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Wilted Spinach Salad
Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. fresh spinach
  • 3/4 C. finely diced onion (you can also eliminate the dicing and just put red onion rings on               top of the spinach as a finishing touch. Either way is great...
  • 1/2 lb. bacon 1/4" dice
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 C. crumbled blue cheese
  • Freshly cracked pepper
Directions:
  1. Arrange spinach on salad plates.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook until bacon is crispy 
  3. Remove onion and bacon from pan. 
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet and reduce liquid for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Place 1 or 2 rings of red onion on top of salad
  6. Sprinkle with blue cheese
  7. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot bacon reduction over the salad
  8. Season to taste with freshly cracked black pepper
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. . .And the "Grand Finale". . .
A Chocolate Martini!
Chocolate Martini
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
1  oz.  Frangelico

Directions:
  1. Combine vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, and Frangelico and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a chocolate swizzle stick or a Hershey Kiss skewered on a cocktail pick.
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I have spent the last 3 months updating and fixing my website. It's definitely turning into a fulltime job. I have to say though, it's been a labor of love. I'm able to share wonderful recipes that I've tried and think everyone should have the opportunity to try some. I am a very visual person and pictures always seem to help me. I love the videos that people use to show exactly how a recipe should be assembled. But, I don't have that talent or patience to film me in the kitchen. So beautiful pictures will have to do right now. If you are interested in more of Cafe' Hoffy recipes just click on the "More Recipes" or "More Crafts" buttons below. They will take you to the indexes for each category.
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I love incorporating "Pins" from Pinterest in my posts. There are so many wonderful salads out there. You can see a lot more salads by going to my "Salad" Board on Pinterest. With over 15,000 pins to date, I have a pretty good array of many recipes, decorating ideas, crafts and just about anything you can think of. I spent the month of January organizing every board. I know you probably think I'm crazy. But it was getting to a point that I couldn't find the pins that I wanted to use. So now everything is organized and can be reached very quickly. You can also visit my "Other Boards" for more great ideas on just about anything by clicking on my photo or the Pinterest logo. It will redirect you to those boards.
Below are a few "Pins" that relate to this post. You might find another salad recipe that you would like to try...some many salads that look absolutely delightful!
 
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I've added a new section to my posts called "Helpful Tips from Hoffy and Around the Internet". I hope some of these tips help lots of people out...
Cake Flour Substitutes
I don't know about you, but when a cake or other baking item requires cake flour, I always pass on the recipe. Buying cake flour for one item seems to be a little costly for one recipe. So here's a tip. You can use regular flour to make a particular recipe that requires cake flour. For every cup of cake flour that is required in a recipe you can substitute with the following. Measure out 1 cup of flour and remove 2 tablespoons of the flour. Replace those 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. If you require more flour do the same thing. Make sure you sift the flour and cornstarch so it is well incorporated. I love this tip. I've now used it several times and it works great.

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Lots and lots of salad ideas. I hope you try the parmesan chips because they add that crunch to the salad that we all love...until next time...
Always remember..."Life's short, eat dessert first!"....

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