Kale Pesto

pesto, kale, kale pesto, parsley pesto, winter, winter pesto, pasta

One of my favorite summertime rituals is to make huge batches of pesto, freeze it into smaller serving-size portions, and enjoy it all winter long. This summer, the basil in my mother’s garden was not nearly as plentiful as usual, and was scarce at the local farmers markets as well. The speculation was extreme heat and not enough rain. When it came time for me to make pesto to stock up for the winter, I panicked when I saw a few measly, sun-burnt basil plants in the garden. No more blissful reminders of summer’s bounty to get me through the dreadful arctic weather we experience in the northeast?!

pesto, kale, kale pesto, parsley pesto, winter, winter pesto, pasta

So, here we are with this wintry version of basil pesto. The kale makes this pesto more robust, which is perfect for the winter months, and parsley is a wonderful herbal variation to basil. I kept the pine nuts and cheese, which are staples in classic pesto. This recipe is so versatile – it can be used with any kind of pasta, swirled into risotto, as a topping for pizza, or used as a condiment on just about anything. pesto, kale, kale pesto, parsley pesto, winter, winter pesto, pasta

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 12 parsley sprigs – tough stems removed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • (Shown here topped with ricotta salata)

Directions:

Remove any large, tough stems from the kale, and chop it into 2-inch pieces. Place it in a food processor, or blender, and add the parsley, garlic, toasted pine nuts, and salt. Pulse everything together a few times, and then with the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it forms a creamy paste. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, and taste for seasoning. pesto, kale, kale pesto, parsley pesto, winter, winter pesto, pasta

Chorizo and Manchego Gougeres

chorizo, cheese puffs, manchego cheese puffs, manchego, gougeres

Gougères, a fancy name for cheese puffs, make a simple, yet elegant and delicious party appetizer. Classic gougères are made with Gruyère cheese, but I love the pairing of chorizo with manchego cheese, so when came across this version on food52 I thought it would be fun to try. If you’ve never had a fresh gougère before you are in for a treat – they are light as you pick them up, and feel almost hollow. The outside shell is slightly crispy while the inside is airy, slightly eggy, and awesomely cheesy.

chorizo, cheese puffs, manchego cheese, gougeres, gougere, chorizo and manchego cheese puffs, appetizers, elegant appetizers, party appetizersIngredients:

  • 3/4 cups chorizo, finely diced
  • 3/4 cups manchego cheese, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°. In a bowl, combine chorizo, cheese, and scallions. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan, bring water, 1/4 tsp. salt, and butter to a boil until butter is melted. Remove from heat and add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Return the saucepan to medium heat and stir with the wooden spoon until a film develops on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat the dough for 5 minutes. Stir in the chorizo mixture. Transfer to a pastry bag (or ziploc bag with a tip cut at the end). Pipe dough into 1-inch balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. While the puffs are cooking, combine paprika and sea salt. Remove puffs from the oven and immediately sprinkle with paprika mixture (there probably will be left-over seasoned salt). Serve warm.

chorizo, cheese puffs, manchego, chorizo and manchego cheese puffs, gougeres

Cauliflower Kale Soup

Cauliflower kale Soup, kale soup, cauliflower soup, cauliflower, kale, kale chips, fall soupsI came across this recipe as I was perusing the latest Williams Sonoma catalog. They gave this recipe as a way to advertise the Vitamix blender, and it looked delicious. I usually don’t follow recipes to a T, but I couldn’t think of a thing I would change so I made it as directed. I was right; this soup recipe is perfection. It is so creamy and velvety, you would not believe there is no cream or butter used. Roasting the cauliflower gives a wonderful depth of flavor, and the kale makes for a beautiful green hue that confirms you are eating right.

IMG_0364

I hate to admit it, but I feel that using the Vitamix makes the difference in the silky texture. You can use a regular or immersion blender, of course, but if you can invest in a Vitamix I guarantee it’s worth every penny. Finished off with crispy kale chips and toasted pine nuts, this soup is one I will be enjoying all fall and winter.

Ingredients:

(Adapted from Williams Sonoma)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn into
      1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat an oven to 450°F.

Toss the cauliflower with 2 Tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is tender and the edges are browned and crisp, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300°. Toss a quarter of the kale bunch with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the kale is crispy, 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 Tbs. olive oil and cook the onion and celery, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and broth, increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining kale, increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a Vitamix blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Top with the crispy kale and pine nuts and serve immediately.

Chili Mango Bok Choy Slaw

bok choy, baby bok choy, bik choy slaw, mango, mango slaw, chili mango What a combination – the heat from the chili sauce, the sweetness from the mango, and the crunch from all the vegetables make for a texture and flavor explosion. The dressing has a hint of nutty sesame oil and tamari adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Baby bok choy is perfect for this slaw, as the larger variety is not as tender when raw and has a more distinct cabbage flavor.

bok choy, baby bok choy, bik choy slaw, mango, mango slaw, chili mangoThis is a great spin on traditional cole slaw; the Asian influences really shine here. Most varieties of bok choy are available year-round in Asian markets and specialty food stores; look for locally grown varieties in season at farmers’ markets.bok choy, baby bok choy, bik choy slaw, mango, mango slaw, chili mango

For the Slaw:

  • 3 cups baby bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

For the Dressing:

    • 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
    • 1 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
    • 1 tbsp. tamari
    • 1 tsp. sesame oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

IMG_3495In a large bowl, combine the bok choy, red cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, and mango. Toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the slaw. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves.IMG_3462

Indian Summer Farro Salad

Farro, farro salad, farro with corn, summer salad, side dishFarro is one of my favorite whole grains. It has a distinct nutty flavor, and looks similar to brown rice but with a delicate chew. Use it in soups, salads, side dishes, or even as a breakfast cereal. Here I cooked it, let it cool, and tossed it together with fresh corn, herbs, crumbled feta, olive oil, and lemon. This farro salad makes a great side dish in late summer when corn is sweetest, but you can use just about vegetable of the season.

farro, farro salad, fresh corn, farro salad wth corn, side dish, summer salad

farro, farro salad, farro with corn, summer salads, side dish Ingredients:

  • Approximately 4 cups cooked farro
  • Fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cobb
  • Fresh parsley, mint, and basil
  • Crumbled feta
  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Salt

Make sure the farro is cool before adding the other ingredients. In a large bowl, mix everything together and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

 farro, farro salad, farro with corn, summer salads, side dish

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Vietmamese Summer Rolls, summer rolls, vietnamese spring rolls, vietnamese foodThere is something about these perfect little packages that make me so happy. They are the epitome of fresh flavor, and guilt-free appetizing. What’s also great about them is you can vary the filling to whatever your taste-buds desire. Any combination of protein, herbs, and vegetables can be stuffed into rice paper and dipped into either a sweet or savory sauce. Vietmamese Summer Rolls, summer rolls, vietnamese spring rolls, vietnamese food

Traditionally, rice vermicelli is the noodle component, but here I made it even easier by using kelp noodles – which are eaten raw. I used pantry staples to mix up a peanut-flavored dipping sauce. I eye-balled the ingredients, so forgive me for not providing the proportions. Again, you can use any combination of vegetables you’d like – I used mango to add a little sweetness which was an unexpected delight!

Vietmamese Summer Rolls, summer rolls, vietnamese spring rolls, vietnamese food

Ingredients:

  • Cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwiseVietmamese Summer Rolls, summer rolls, vietnamese spring rolls, vietnamese food
  • Fresh baby lettuce, or microgreens
  • Persian cucumbers, sliced lengthwise
  • Mango cut into long matchsticks
  • Mint or cilantro
  • Kelp noodles
  • Rice paper sheets

Dipping Sauce:

  • Peanut butter
  • Seasoned rice vinegar
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Fresh ginger, grated
  • Soy sauce

Directions:

Fill a 10-inch pie plate with warm water. Have all of your fillings sliced and ready to go. Place 2 rice paper sheets in the pie plate, and soak in the water for about 20 seconds until soft and pliable. Remove the wrapper from the water and place on a work surface. Arrange 3 pieces of shrimp in the middle of the wrapper, outer-side down. Arrange the herbs, vegetables, and mango sticks on top the shrimp. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper up over the filling, then fold the right and left sides over the center. Carefully roll up to the top edge as tightly as possible. The starch in the rice paper wrapper should seal the roll. Place seam side down on a serving platter and cover with a damp towel to keep moist while you make the remainder of the rolls.

Kale Breakfast Bowl

Kale, breakfst bowl, kale breakfast bowl, vegetable breakfast bowlIf you need to be snapped out of your typical breakfast rut, you’ve come to the right place. Starting the day off with a meal full of fresh vegetables is just about as good as it gets. This summer I am fortunate enough to be living footsteps away from a plentiful vegetable garden, so I am taking full advantage of “farm to table” meals whenever possible. I’ve been making this vegetable bowl for breakfast or lunch almost everyday, as it is loaded with just the right proportion of nutritious and delicious.

Kale, breakfst bowl, kale breakfast bowl, vegetable breakfast bowlKale, breakfst bowl, kale breakfast bowl, vegetable breakfast bowl

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 garlic scape, chopped, or 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbslp olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • chopped herbs for garnish (parsley, chives)

 

 

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400º. In a small cast iron pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic scapes, cook one minute. Add the chopped kale, and cook until softened, about one minute. Add the summer squash, season with salt and pepper. When the vegetables are softened and almost completely cooked, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and make two small wells in the mixture to crack the eggs into. Crack the eggs into the wells, season them with salt and pepper, and place the entire skillet into the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the eggs are just barely set and the yolk is still runny. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley and chives. Eat straight from the skillet or remove with a large spatula.

Kale, breakfst bowl, kale breakfast bowl, vegetable breakfast bowl

Potato and Leek Flatbread

Potato and Leek Flatbread Pizza, flatbread pizza, pizza, potato pizza, potato flatbreadI love a simple, easy weeknight meal. Thanks to store-bought pizza dough, the options are endless. Topped with thinly sliced potatoes, leeks, thyme, and Jarlsberg cheese, this flatbread is bursting with flavor. The potatoes cook on top of the dough in the oven, and become creamy yet crispy on the edges. Potato and Leek Flatbread Pizza, flatbread pizza, pizza, potato pizza, potato flatbreadNutty Jarlsberg cheese adds an earthy, wholesome flavor to round out the sweetness from the leeks. This flatbread is great for dinner with a salad, but also would make an easy appetizer. It works well served at room temperature, but also re-heats nicely in a hot oven.

Potato and Leek Flatbread Pizza, flatbread pizza, pizza, potato pizza, potato flatbread

Ingredients:

(makes 2 large flatbread pizzas)
  • 1-lb store bought pizza doughPotato and Leek Flatbread Pizza, flatbread pizza, pizza, potato pizza, potato flatbread
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • salt, pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 500. Cut the pizza dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough halves out to a large square. Place each half on a separate oiled baking sheet, or a baking sheet topped with parchment paper.

Peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler, and slice as thinly as possible width-wise. Sprinkle with salt, and place in a bowl of very cold water for 30 minutes. Slice the leeks width-wise as well, and separate into rings with your fingers. Place in a bowl of water for a few minutes to let the dirt settle to the bottom. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan, and cook the leeks for just one minute until they are bright green and slightly softened. Season them with a pinch of salt.

Assemble the flatbreads: Top the dough with the potato slices (slightly overlapping), the leeks, and the grated Jarlsberg. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Drizzle the entire flatbread with olive oil, and place on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-17 minutes. Slice and serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Potato and Leek Flatbread Pizza, flatbread pizza, pizza, potato pizza, potato flatbread

Rhubarb Sparkler

rhubarb, rhubarb cocktailIf there is a heaven, it will be catered by me. I will serve the best food and drinks you can possibly imagine, and the freshest fruits and vegetables will be ever abundant. Included on the menu will be this rhubarb cocktail. Rhubarb’s distinctively tart flavor and rosy hue make this the ultimate spring and early summer cocktail. rhubarb, rhubarb cocktailThe rhubarb syrup is easy to make and keeps in the refrigerator about a week, but I bet you it won’t last that long. Since this is a syrup instead of an infused liquor, you can combine it with soda or lemonade to make a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. However, if you are in need of a few adult libations, than vodka is the perfect addition to this sparkling wonder. The bright, grassy tartness of rhubarb really shines in this refreshing cocktail that makes for the happiest of hours.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups rhubarb (or 1 lb), chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • sugar to taste (I used less than 1/4 cup, you want the rhubarb to be a little tart)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • club soda
  • vodka
  • lemon
  • mint

In a saucepan, bring the water, sugar, rhubarb, and vanilla bean to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the rhubarb is very soft. Strain the liquid from the fruit and vanilla bean using a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Return the liquid to the stove to reduce further, about 20 more minutes. Allow the syrup to cool (it won’t be as thick as regular simple syrup because of the small amount of sugar used). Mix with club soda, vodka, lemon wedges, and mint sprigs. Enjoy!rhubarb, rhubarb cocktail

Nordic Flatbread Pizza

smoked salmon, smoked salmon pizza, salmon pizza, flatbread pizza, flatbread, snofriskHow do you like your smoked salmon? With cream cheese on a bagel? With sour cream or crème fraiche on a bilini? With horseradish on a cucumber round? Should I keep going? I’d place a friendly bet you’ve never had it with Snofrisk on a flatbread pizza.smoked salmon, smoked salmon pizza, salmon pizza, flatbread pizza, flatbread, snofriskSnofrisk is a Norwegian spreadable cheese – it is similar to cream cheese but made with goat’s milk. It has a subtle, mild chevre flavor that pairs so nicely with creamy smoked salmon, lemon, and delicate herbs. Snofrisk also comes in a semi-hard form, which I’ve planed and added as contrasting texture to the spreadable cheese. The wonderfully mild goat flavor of the firm cheese works in conjunction with the spreadable Snofrisk to make an elegant, simple, and noteworthy flatbread pizza that is definitely a keeper for the recipe file.

smoked salmon, smoked salmon pizza, salmon pizza, flatbread pizza, flatbread, snofriskIngredients:

(Makes 4 personal-sized flatbreads)
  • 1/3 lb smoked salmon
  • 1 package Snofrisk (4.4oz), softened at room temperature
  • 2 oz hard Snofrisk, planed
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tblsp fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tblsp chives, chopped
  • 1 tblsp capers
  • store-bought pizza dough
  • salt, pepper to taste

Start by making the flatbread. Preheat the oven to 450. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and roll into balls onto a lightly floured surface. One by one,  stretch the dough into a circular shape, leaving a slightly thicker outside edge. Drizzle the flatbread with olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Cook each flatbread on an oiled baking sheet, for about 7-10 minutes until the bottom is browned and the top begins to brown as well. Let cool on a wire cooling rack.

In a small bowl,  mix the softened Snofrisk with the lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, chives, and black pepper. Spread the mixture thinly across the 4 cooled flatbreads. Top with radish slices, planed Snofrisk, and the smoked salmon. Garnish with remaining dill and the capers, serve immediately.

smoked salmon, smoked salmon pizza, salmon pizza, flatbread pizza, flatbread, snofrisk

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