Monday, November 22, 2010

Kale Salad

Kale salads are all over the place these days. There are so many ways to make them, I'm looking forward to trying a few different recipes. Here are a few I've been looking at:

  • 101 Cookbooks has a classic recipe with pecorino and breadcrumbs
  • Not Eating Out In NY  adds honey mustard and pomegranate arils.
  • I don't know about the "tabouli" part but Steamy Kitchen's cauliflower tabouli with kale sounds delish.
  • This version in Saveur has an orange-soy sauce dressing, avocado and hemp seeds.

For my kale salad, I used dinosaur (lacinato) kale, the juice of one lemon, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, a couple handfuls of chopped and toasted almonds, about 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese, and a bit of salt and pepper. It is really fun to massage the kale to get it all coated in lemon juice and olive oil!

I let the salad sit for about 20 minutes before serving it (alongside a simple pan-seared chicken breast), but the leftovers were even better the next day.

Anyone else have a favorite kale salad recipe?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weekly Lunch: Delicata Squash and Barley Salad

Salad on a plate looks so much nicer than salad in a plastic container, don't you think? 

This is another salad with a lot of possibilities for variations. Based on this Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad from 101 Cookbooks, I swapped hazelnuts for walnuts, delicata for butternut squash, hulled barley for farro, feta for goat cheese, added some chickpeas and baby greens and left out the fresh thyme. Yum!

Evidence of my love for this salad: here's another version I made last month.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple-Pear Butter

A couple of weeks ago we went out and picked a bunch of apples and pears. They were at varying stages of ripeness, from rock-hard Flemish Beauty pears to the perfectly ripe Bartletts and Gingergold apples shown below. So, with the ripest fruits, I made Apple-Pear Butter! I looked at a dozen different recipes, considering the equipment I planned to use/not use, and my personal preferences for spices and sugar content. I am too scared of canning for now (I want to try it at some point in the future!) so I divided it into three containers, two of which went into the freezer.

I used a total of about 5lbs of fruit (about 3 lbs of Bartlett pears and 2 lbs Gingergold apples), which yielded about 2 1/2 cups of butter.

Here's what I did: peel and core the fruit, then cut it into 1" chunks. Place in a large pot and add 1 cup of apple cider and 1 cup of water. Liquid will not come above the level of the fruit. Simmer, uncovered, until very tender, about 45 minutes.

Put the mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Pass the fruit puree through a sieve back into the pot, in batches. This step alone took me about half an hour, so if you have a food mill, now is the time to use it!

Add 1 cup of brown sugar (you may need more sugar if you are actually canning, to help discourage bacterial growth - please make sure to consult a recipe for this), a cinnamon stick and a lump of peeled fresh ginger. And some ground cardamom (1/2 tsp) as well.

Cook on low for a very very long time, about 2-3 hours, stirring frequently. Better put on some music and get a tasty beverage for this one. When it tastes and looks right, remove the cinnamon and ginger and pour into as many containers as you wish.

This was a lot of work, but the final product is totally worth it. Thick, sweet, almost honey-like. So far I have just been eating it by the spoonful, or on top of yogurt with some of my favorite homemade granola (yes I will share, soon!). But I kind of want to try making some muffins or scones with little dollops of this apple-pear butter inside or on top... I will have to experiment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autumn's Finest

Aren't these just the most beautiful leaves? I am amazed at all of the colors.
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