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Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I’m craving spring flavors like those found in this Kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve had too many days of gloomy PNW weather.  I love the rain, but found myself outside yesterday in the morning doing my best to soak up the few sun beams we got.  Our cats were positively ecstatic – two of three parked themselves on the cat tree right in front of the window and basked in the sun.  Even Daisy found a sun spot on the carpet and took a good long time warming her belly.  We are all seriously deprived right now.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche to the rescue.  I love the creamy texture of eggs and cheese in a quiche.  Kale is a versatile vegetable and can be a harbinger of both fall and spring.  While I love having kale in pasta dishes in the fall, there’s nothing better in the spring than a good bunch of kale sauteed and tossed into a quiche.  I used lacinato Kale or dinosaur kale because I love the deep green flavor it brings to dishes.  I sauteed it until it was soft and then drained and pressed out the excess moisture in a colander.  This helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I used a quick olive oil crust for this kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve been known to go crustless for my quiches, but this week just felt like that extra little touch might be in order.  One tip for baking the quiche – put the quiche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  This way, there’s no slopping of egg and milk into your oven.  Yes – I learned this the hard way.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

One advantage of using Gruyere cheese is that it melts so well.  I also tossed in a few red pepper flakes to add some heat.  I could have gone either with red pepper flakes or with nutmeg – either would create a nice flavor, but nutmeg is to autumnal for me.  I also used a bit of fleur de sel this time around.  Really, it’s a perfect early spring dish.  I’ll be eating this throughout the week with a quick spinach salad on the side.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Olive Oil Crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Instructions

  1. To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Combine with your hands until the crust holds together. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the size needed for an 8 inch pie pan. Transfer the crust to the pie pan and refrigerate while you are making the quiche.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Saute the kale in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until it is wilted. Salt to taste. Drain and press out any remaining moisture. Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl until frothy. Add the cheese, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper.
  5. Place the sauteed kale at the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture over the top and redistribute the kale as needed.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the eggs are set. Enjoy!
  7. Makes 4 hearty servings.
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This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out the great posts that Jacqueline posts each week!

This post is also linked up to #CookBlogShare hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Hijacked by Twins.

Hijacked By Twins
White Bean Avocado Wrap

White Bean Avocado Wrap

Whit Bean Avocado Wrap

Sometimes it’s good to have a quick lunch recipe on hand, like this white bean avocado wrap.  Looking at my calendar, I already know it’s going to be a very busy week, with just two days when I’ll have time for lunch at my desk.  As I was thinking about food prep this week, I also thought it might be a good time to do a little cupboard clean out.  We have plenty of rice, several cans of Great Northern White Beans, and a couple of avocados that are just ripe.  Toss in some cilantro and lime and throw it all in a tortilla and lunch comes together in a short period of time.

White Bean Avocado Wrap

I love jasmine rice.  It’s the perfect filler for my white bean avocado wrap.  It’s so light and fluffy and pretty.  You could definitely make these with brown rice as well, though I have to confess brown rice is not my favorite grain.  It’s so…grainy.

White Bean Avocado Wrap

White beans get gently mashed and get spread on the tortilla first.  Avocado goes next and then rice covers it all. then it gets wrapped up and either wrapped in parchment paper or foil and goes into the fridge for the next day’s lunch.

White Bean Avocado Wrap

White Bean Avocado Wrap

The Great Northern White Beans add a great non-meaty, meaty texture to the white bean avocado wrap.  Serve with a spinach salad and a few mandarin oranges and you’ll be set for the day.

White Bean Avocado Wrap

Ingredients

  • 4 white or whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cans Great Northern White Beans or cannellini beans
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the beans. Gently mash with a fork, leaving some beans whole.
  2. Spread 1/4 of the beans on each tortilla in the middle. Split open the avocados and scoop out the avocado, 1/2 of each avocado spread on each tortilla.
  3. Add the chopped cilantro, the juice from the lime, and the salt to the rice and stir to incorporate. Heap 1/2 cup of the rice over the avocado and beans on each tortilla. Fold the top and bottom of the tortilla toward the middle, over the rice/avocado/bean mix. Fold each side in and roll so that you have a tight wrap.
  4. Enjoy! Serves 4 and can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
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This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Monday.  Check it out!

It’s also linked up to Meatless Monday, co-hosted by Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk and Two Wands.

 

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple mushroom and truffle risotto is my contribution to Final FantaFeast February, being hosted by Pixelated Provisions.  This month’s Fandom Foodies theme is all about the Final Fantasy video game.  So full disclosure here – I haven’t actually played Final Fantasy.  However, my husband is hooked on Final Fantasy XV, which is the most recent of the Final Fantasy series.  I watch sometimes as he plays, peeking over my I-Pad as I watch the latest episode of Top Chef, and have thought it looks interesting.  But not interesting enough for me to put down the I-Pad or the latest book I’m reading.

I am, however, fascinated by the role food plays in the game.  One of the characters, Ignis, is the chef for the group and throughout the game, players can unlock various recipes, as well as go to the market, and forage for food.  Uh yeah – that’s an awesome part of the game as far as I’m concerned. When Fandom Foodies put out the schedule of themes for this year and I saw Final FantaFeast February, I immediately started looking for the foods that Ignis cooks in the game.  And when I saw Triple Truffle Risotto, there was no going back.

So the top image is from the game and the bottom is my triple mushroom and truffle recipe.  Since I didn’t have access to funguar, alstrooms, and Saxham rice (all the ingredients to make the dish in the game), I opted to go with a mix of mushrooms for the triple part, as well as some truffle oil and truffle cheese.  I would have gone full out triple truffle, but $21 for truffle salt at Trader Joe’s was a bit out of even my this-food-is-for-my-blog-cost comfort zone.  I love the combination of mushrooms though – some maitakes, some oyster mushrooms, and some creminis.  Feel free to substitute out any combination of mushrooms here – this would be lovely with chanterelles when they are in season, as well as morels, and so on.

Risotto takes a bit of time to make – I usually schedule about an hour from start to finish, as I like to baby it along.  A long slow simmer of the rice and stock is the key to a lush creamy risotto.  I also tossed in a cipollini onion – and honestly, if you can find these in your market, I encourage you to use one to make this dish.  Cipollinis become caramel rich when they are cooked (and even better – when they are cooked in butter), making them a perfect complement to the mushrooms.

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

I think my triple mushroom and truffle recipe would do Ignis proud.

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Ingredients

    For the mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 types of mushrooms, chopped. (About 2 cups of mushrooms, total)
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • For the risotto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup truffle cheese, grated (or Parmesan or Asiago cheese)
  • Truffle oil to finish

Instructions

    For the mushrooms
  1. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for a minute. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and salt, and saute until all the liquid has cooked off. Set aside.
  2. For the risotto
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken stock to a simmer. Leave simmering.
  4. Meanwhile, melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Add the Arborio rice and cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and stir until it is incorporated in the rice/onion mixture.
  5. Add the simmering stock, 1 cup at a time. Cook on a low simmer between each addition until the stock is mostly absorbed. This will take anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes. Continue to do this until all the stock is used and the risotto is al dente. Take off the heat and add the cheese and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add a dash of truffle oil.
  6. Portion into bowls and top each bowl with the mushroom mix. Enjoy!
  7. Serves 4
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This recipe is linked to Meatless Monday, hosted by Deborah (Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Sarah (A Whisk and Two Wands).  Take a look at the great recipes being linked!

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

 

It’s also hanging out with some other really wonderful recipes on #CookBlogShare at EasyPeasieFoodie.

Hijacked By Twins
Baby Kale Salad with Bitter Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Baby Kale Salad with Bitter Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Did I promise no more blood orange recipes?  I hope not – though I really do think this baby kale salad with bitter blood orange vinaigrette is my absolute last recipe with blood oranges until next year.  Maybe.

Regardless, if you happen to have blood oranges on hand that need a purpose, one of the easiest things to do with them is to salt preserve them.  Blood oranges impart the salt brine with a lovely rose hue.  The salted blood oranges themselves are more subtle than a lemon and infuse a salty-citrus flavor to a dish.  Just a quick salted citrus tutorial: take your blood orange (or lemon or other citrus) and make cuts to quarter the orange.  Don’t cut all the way through – you’ll want to leave the orange attached at the bottom.  Fan your orange out and add salt.  Gather the orange up around the salt.  In a pint jar, layer about 1/2 inch of salt at the bottom.  Add your salted orange and push down with the end of a wooden spoon.  Add another layer of salt and then do the same with another orange.  Add another layer of salt and another orange if you can.  Layer with salt at the top.  If you don’t have quite enough salt/juice to cover the top blood orange, you can add a bit of filtered water to top off.   Let the salted blood oranges hang out in the fridge for about a month, shaking occasionally to distribute the salt.

Isn’t it pretty?  Once you have your salted citrus, you can make baby kale salad with bitter blood orange vinaigrette.  The bitter part comes from the use of bitters.  If you happen to have even more blood oranges on hand and have about two weeks to wait, Kelly Bakes has a beautiful recipe for bitter orange bitters.  I used some of the blood oranges from the windfall at the start of January to make these bitters – they aren’t fully infused yet, but I used just a bit of them for baby kale salad with bitter blood orange vinaigrette and it was heavenly!  The vinaigrette is both salty and tangy – a perfect counterpoint for baby kale.  You can most definitely use store bought orange bitters to achieve the same effect.

baby kale salad with bitter blood orange vinaigrette

baby kale salad with bitter blood orange vinaigrette

Baby Kale Salad with Bitter Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped salt preserved blood orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange or blood orange bitters
  • 1 package baby kale

Instructions

  1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt preserved blood orange, and bitters in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Dress the baby kale with the vinaigrette and enjoy!
  3. Serves four - six
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Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato soup is my answer to the in-between time of winter and spring.  The end of January and the start of February are such awkward times of the year.  In the PNW in particular, it’s not quite winter, but it’s not quite spring, either – it’s still raining, but there are those occasional days of sunshine that suggest that maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner.  In terms of seasonal foods, it’s a good time to do some pantry and fridge clearing, as well as explore what root veggies have been hanging out for too long underneath the onions.  It’s definitely the time of year when sweet potatoes and potatoes get some love.

I tend not to cook sweet potatoes around the traditional times of year, like Thanksgiving.  I wait, instead, until I’m back to work post-holiday, and looking for lunches that can be frozen easily.  I never know quite what each week is going to bring, so it’s good to have a guaranteed good lunch waiting for me in the freezer.  This adobo sweet potato soup definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to make, so didn’t consume my entire Sunday to prep.  It freezes beautifully, and I’m already looking forward to eating it at lunch this week.

Canned adobo chilies lend the adobo sweet potato soup a super smokey flavor.  I also used some smoked paprika, which is arguably one of my all time favorite spices.  As part of the fridge/pantry clean up effort, I gathered up all the celery I could find, leaves and all, and tossed those in too.  The end result is a silky, smokey, soup with a bit of sweet and just the slightest kick from the peppers.

If you checked out my post from last week with the black lentil and poached egg bowls, you know that I’m a bit mirepoix obsessed here of late.  The adobo sweet potato soup has a modified mirepoix: adobo chili, celery, and onion.  It’s just so colorful in the pan:

Once the smoked paprika and salt go in, the mirepoix takes on a deep red shade

And then the sweet potatoes go in.

adobo sweet potato soup

All of this beauty becomes a gorgeous adobo sweet potato soup (after the addition of some veggie stock and some pureeing).

adobo sweet potato soup

I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cut the heat a bit.  Greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche would all be a lovely addition to this soup.

adobo sweet potato soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 adobo chili, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, preferably with leaves, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the adobo chili, the celery, and the onion and saute until the celery and onion become soft. Add the sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and stir a few times. Add the veggie stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Use an immersion blender or blender and puree to desired smoothness. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
  3. Serves 4
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This recipe is getting around.  It’s linked up this week to

Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

and at Meatless Monday on Confessions of a Mother Runner (co-hosted by Sarah at A Whisk and Two Wands).

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

and at Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Mondays where it was featured for the week of February 6 (check out the great menu ideas for the week!).

Hijacked By Twins
Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

and at #CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by Twins as well as at #SimplySeasonal hosted by Hijacked by Twins. 

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

I’m at that stage of winter when a black lentil bowl with a poached egg sounds like a perfectly light lunch for the week.  I’m also at the point at which I’m itching to do some spring cleaning, including making an effort to use up what’s been lurking at the back of the pantry.  It helps motivate me that we might be moving and I really don’t want to drag a half-eaten bag of black lentils with me.  As it is, I still have jars of home canned jam and pickles that we moved last year that will need to be packaged and moved again (because I’m not letting those pickles go to waste).

Black lentils just lend themselves to a simple meal.  The black lentil bowl with a poached egg takes just seven ingredients (counting salt and olive oil).  This recipe took so little time to make – I prepped my mirepoix first, cooked that and the lentils and then poached the eggs.  I’ve been obsessing a bit about mirepoix here of late.  The combination of onion, celery, and carrot adds such a deep flavor to dishes and it’s so, so simple.  With this dish, I understood the full complexity of the flavor – initially, I thought that the black lentil bowl with a poached egg would need a dressing of some sort, but when I tasted the lentils, that idea went out the window.

A note on the poached eggs: back in December, I tried my hand at poaching an egg in the traditional way in a saucepan.  It came out a flimsy mess.  Recently, I ran across a video of a chef poaching eggs in the oven, so that’s what I did.  The eggs came out beautifully!  The best part was I didn’t have to swirl the water, baby the eggs, watch the temperature, etc.  Eggs went into muffin cups with a tablespoon of water each, hung out in the oven for 9 minutes, and came out perfectly poached.

The full technique is included in the recipe below.  The best part is that poached eggs can be prepped in advance, so I poached my eggs on Sunday and will have an egg a day each day at lunch with my lentils.  I love super easy lunch prep!

black lentil bowl with poached egg

black lentil bowl with poached egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup black beluga lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion, celery, and carrot mix until the vegetables start to soften (about 10 minutes). Add the salt and the dried lentils. Stir a few times and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
  2. To oven poach the eggs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In each muffin cup, add one tablespoon water. Break each egg directly into the muffin cup. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake for 9 minutes or until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove each poached egg and drain on a paper towel. Eggs can be prepared up to five days in advance.
  3. Recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
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This post is linked to My Legume Love Affair #103, hosted by The Big Sweet Tooth (conceptualized by Susan and hosted by Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen).  I’ll be hosting in April – can’t wait!

It’s also linked up to #CookBlogShare, which is hosted this week by Sneaky Veg.  Check out all the great posts!

Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you can find it linked up on Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Monday.

This recipe is getting around!

 

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts were just what I needed today to cheer myself up.  We had a historic snowstorm here in the Portland area on Wednesday with equally historic low temperatures, so the snow and ice is still on the ground.  I’d already been dreaming, for weeks, about spring.  Four daffodils were already poking out of the ground in the front. Now, they are buried by eight inches of snow that refuses to melt.   I just desperately need to get my hands in dirt and plant something.  I keep wandering around the house, asking Clay if it is asparagus season yet.  January and I are not friends.

When we got back from the grocery store this afternoon, I decided it was time to make a cheery snack.  I still had a ball of burrata left from last week’s pasta dish, so opted to pair it with a very ripe avocado.  If I was a football watcher, avocado burrata toasts are something I would totally go for as an appetizer for the Super Bowl – maybe paired with a ginger cider or an ale.  But since I’m not, I’ll just eat these while curled up on the couch with a good book.

avocado burrata toasts

I opted to use two kinds of salt on the avocado burrata toasts.  My wonderful husband gave me a salt sampler for Christmas (he knows the way to this blogger’s heart).  I used a little bit of fleur de sel and some black lava salt for contrast.  Just a bit goes a long way.  It didn’t hurt anything that I also used a generous amount of unsalted butter to toast the bread.

The avocado burrata toasts did the trick – I felt a little sunnier after I’d snacked on them.  I still resent the snow and would like to push a fast forward button on what’s left of the winter.  I’ll just bury my winter blues in these toasts and know that somewhere under that snow, the daffodils are on their way.

avocado burrata toasts

avocado burrata toasts

Avocado Burrata Toasts

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • 8 - 10 slices of French bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • Fleur de Sel salt
  • Black lava salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Butter each slice of French bread generously and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 - 7 minutes or until toasty brown (time will depend on your oven).
  2. Once the toasts are golden and crisp, mash a little bit of the avocado on each toast. Top with burrata cheese (use a combination of the creamy inside as well as the outer part of the cheese). Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!
  3. Serves 2 as a snack and 4 as an appetizer
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Penne with Burrata, Peas, and Preserved Lemons

Penne with Burrata, Peas, and Preserved Lemons

Sometimes, the only thing that helps is comfort food, like penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemons.  We’ve had another epic cold weekend here in the PNW with snow and ice throughout most of the Oregon and Washington again.  We’ve becoming more accustomed to the concept of snowpocalypse: in other words, it’s best to get all shopping down before the first flakes because there’s no salt on the roads and everyone panics.  On the plus side, there was very little traffic in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  It’s the little things that make life enjoyable.

Penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemon is also a dish I like to make when I start longing for spring.  It’s got all the right spring notes: peas, lemon, and lush burrata cheese.  I have just a very few daffodils poking their first sprouts out already, though I swear every time it gets icy, they retreat.  I can’t say I blame them – I retreat, too.

I used frozen peas for this, though am so eager for fresh peas to be available.  Bookmark or Pinterest this one and make it with fresh peas and pea shoots – trust me, you won’t regret it.  Grind a bit of fresh pepper over the penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemons and dream about the sunshine.  It has to be right around the corner.

penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemons

penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemons

penne with burrata, peas, and preserved lemons

Penne with Burrata, Peas, and Preserved Lemons

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package dried penne pasta or similar pasta
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced into thin slices

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. At the end of cooking time for the pasta, add the frozen peas. Drain the pasta and peas. Distribute among four serving dishes. Garnish each dish with some of the preserved lemon. Tear the buratta cheese into pieces and add 1/4 of the buratta to each dish. Enjoy!
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This recipe is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meatless Monday.  If you are looking for great vegetarian recipes, check it out!

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

The first week back to work after a long break feels like the perfect time for a blood orange, walnut, and bitter greens salad.  I think about food a lot (no surprise from a food blogger).  I thought about food a lot before I started blogging.  One of the things that I’m always curious about is the first time a human being thought to eat something.  This always comes to mind for me, for example, when I eat an artichoke or some other food that seems otherwise inedible until it is transformed into something we eat.  I also think a lot about food trends and how some foods aren’t regularly eaten anymore.

One of those foods features prominently in my blood orange, walnut, and bitter greens salad.  The bitter greens category includes arugula, chard, and endive, but also includes dandelion greens.  When I was growing up, dandelions were a weed.  My grandparents, my mother, neighbors all spent a lot of gardening time trying to eradicate dandelions from the lawn and the garden.  I did the same with my first house, digging them up and tossing them into the trash.  At some point along the way, however, I learned that dandelions are edible.  I would occasionally cultivate a few plants in my garden, harvesting the greens and sautéing them to toss over pasta.  As it turns out, all the parts of a dandelion are edible, but that’s a story for another blog post.

Knowing that dandelions are edible and were, in fact, first brought to the US as a food and that dandelions evolved 30 million years ago (Wikipedia), makes me sad to think that we have relegated them to the status of a noxious weed in our gardens.  Dandelion greens can be eaten raw in salads. The taste is a bit bitter, but also has a hint of taste that reminds me of the smell of a dandelion flower in the sun.  The greens evoke some pretty serious nostalgia for me of lying in the grass as a kid in the summer.  That memory makes this a perfect salad for a frigidly cold January day here in the PNW.  It raises my hope level that spring really is right around the corner.

For now, dandelion greens feature prominently in this blood orange, walnut, and bitter greens salad. I found my dandelion greens at Whole Foods.  Many natural grocers carry these greens in the winter.  You can also substitute other bitter greens for this salad – finely chopped chard would be lovely, as would arugula.  I also threw in a few strips of preserved lemon to brighten the salad and to add a bit of salt to cut the bitterness.

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

I prepared my salads for the week ahead of time.  Instead of drizzling the dressing over the whole salad, I put a couple of tablespoons at the bottom of each jar and then added the salad on top.  All I have to do is pour the salad out into a bowl once I’m at work.

Blood Orange, Walnut, and Bitter Greens Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 peeled and segmented blood oranges
  • 1 bunch bitter greens (dandelion greens, kale, or arugula or some combination of some or all)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 10 thin slices of preserved lemon
  • Blood Orange Dressing
  • Juice of one blood orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar and close tightly. Shake to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy!
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This post is linked up to No Croutons Required.  Check out the hosts’ pages at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa’s Kitchen.

And is also linked to Kahakai Kitchen: Souper Sunday.  Check out all the great soups, sandwiches and salads!

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

I had a lovely and very foodie indulgent vacation, so it’s definitely time to go back to healthy little lunches, including Kale Spinach Saag Paneer.  Saag Paneer is one of my favorite dishes.  I love using a blend of both spinach and kale.  I found a beautiful bunch of Redbor kale, which is a spectacular shade of purple and threw that in with a large handful of spinach.  The result is a spicy, fragrant mixture of greens.  I’m also feeling ahead of the game on the 2017 food trend for purple vegetables, since I cooked this on New Year’s Day.

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer is a fairly quick dish to put together.  The kale and spinach can be cooked while the rice is cooking.

Making Paneer

You can definitely substitute store bought paneer for the home made paneer in this recipe.  Fresh paneer takes just two ingredients, but is best made the day before and refrigerated overnight, so takes a little bit of planning.  That said, how impressive is it to be able to tell your workmates that you made your own cheese?

Homemade Paneer

I love how the paneer takes on the waffled texture of the cheesecloth.  I also am a big fan of the transformation of milk into whey and curds when an acid is added.  In this case, I use white vinegar to make my paneer.  I’ve tried lemon juice, but haven’t had the same success.  I also don’t salt it when I’m making this recipe, as the kale and spinach saag paneer is well salted from the kale and spinach.  I do, however, take the extra time to lightly brown the paneer.

The lightly browned paneer goes right into the kale and spinach.  This recipe freezes really well, so it’s a great candidate for lunch.  Kale spinach saag paneer is also a light meal and pairs well with a salad or some naan bread.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!  Hope everyone is having a great start to 2017!

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

 

Kale Saag Paneer

 

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • Paneer cheese, chopped into squares
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • For the Paneer
  • 1/2 gallon milk - whole milk works best, but you can also make this with 1% or 2%
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar

Instructions

  1. If you are making paneer, start with this first. Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir constantly so that the milk doesn't burn. When the milk reaches a full boil, take it off the heat and pour in the vinegar. Let the milk sit for 10 minutes so that the whey and curds have time to separate.
  2. When the curds and whey have separated, strain out the curds into a cheesecloth lined strainer. You can keep the whey and use it in place of water for other recipes. Let the curds drain for at least an hour, pressing them by putting a bowl over them with a heavy can in the bowl. Refrigerate the paneer overnight.
  3. Making the Kale Spinach Saag Paneer
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick saute pan or a cast iron skillet. Add the onions, and cook until they are soft and fragrant. Add in the kale and cook for 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for another 7 - 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are wilted. Add the spices from the turmeric to the salt and stir well. Add the half and half and simmer for 7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in another non-stick skillet. Add the paneer and cook for a few minute on each side until it is browned.
  6. Serve the kale spinach saag paneer over the rice, with the paneer evenly divided between each serving.
  7. Serves 3 - 4
  8. Enjoy!
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