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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
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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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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This post has been linked to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out each week’s list of great recipes!

Kale Persimmon Salad with Black Garlic Dressing

Kale Persimmon Salad with Black Garlic Dressing

Kale Persimmon Salad with Black Garlic Dressing

After days of indulging in holiday foods for Thanksgiving, it’s time for me to get back to salads for lunch, like this Kale Persimmon Salad with Black Garlic Dressing.  One of the many great things about living in this part of the PNW is that the climate is mild enough a winter garden is possible.  This year, we have a small pot of winter lettuce, some spinach, a few cauliflower, and some lacinato kale growing.  I have to say though, I much prefer lacinato kale’s alternative name: dinosaur kale.  I can completely see this leafy green with its bumpy foliage being munched on by dinosaurs in prehistoric times.

Here’s what mine is looking like right now:

lacinato-kale

I’ll admit that the winter garden veggies don’t grow as fast as their summer counterparts, but there’s still something lovely about going out this close to December and harvesting greens for a salad, which is exactly what I did to make this kale persimmon salad with black garlic dressing.

I’m also still mildly obsessed with black garlic, so couldn’t resist seeing how it would pair with some balsamic vinegar in a dressing.  The combination is absolutely yummy, especially with the sweet counterpart of the persimmon and the crunch of the chopped almonds.

kale-persimmon-salad-with-stacked-persimmons

Kale Persimmon Salad with Black Garlic Dressing

Ingredients

    For the Salad
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 2 fuyu persimmons
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • For the Dressing
  • 1 large black garlic clove (or 3 small ones)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Smash the black garlic into a paste. Add the black garlic paste, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper into a jar and close with a lid. Shake until combined.
  2. Tear or cut the kale into ribbons. Dress with two to three tablespoons of the dressing and work the dressing into the kale with your hands. This softens up the kale considerably. Chop the persimmon into a small dice and add to the kale/dressing mixture. Top with the almonds and enjoy!
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Kale, Walnut, and Prosciutto Flatbread

Kale, Walnut, and Prosciutto Flatbread

I’ve been toying with the idea of making flatbread for lunch for a while now, so when I saw a big bunch of Lacinato Kale at the market this weekend, I decided it pair it with walnuts and prosciutto to make kale walnut, and prosciutto flatbread.  This is a riff on a pasta dish I used to make all the time that included kale, walnuts and feta cheese.  If you wanted to do a vegetarian version of this flatbread, I think feta would make a lovely substitution for the prosciutto.

At the same time that I start to miss tomato season, fall in the PNW responds with an abundant of fall veggies, including kale.  I enjoy the texture of Lacinato Kale (and particularly love the fact that it’s more common name is Dinosaur Kale – I envision large primordial kale plants being munched on by some veggie loving dinosaur).  Walnuts and kale are such natural partners, especially when the walnuts are lightly toasted.

You could use a pre-made flatbread for this, or use my quick no-rise focaccia recipe.  The top of the focaccia was very uneven, so I flipped it over and used the bottom for the top of the flatbread.  I’ve been eating this for lunch this week, along with the last of the figs of the season with some Greek yogurt.  It’s been a good lunch for cooler days, particularly after I’ve taken a little break to walk around the neighborhood where I work and watch the leaves fall.

fall-flatbread-with-kale-and-prosciutto

Kale, Walnut and Prosciutto Flatbread
Serves 4

No Rise Focaccia
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast (or one package)
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Prepare two cake pans by either cutting out parchment paper to fit the bottom and up a bit on the sides or thoroughly oiling them.  Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix.  Flour your hands (the dough is very sticky) and split the dough into two pieces.  Pat each piece into a cake plan until the dough covers the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the bread sounds hollow when gently tapped.  Set aside on a cooling rack to cool.

Kale, Walnut and Prosciutto Flatbread
2 no-rise focaccias or 2 store-bought flatbreads
1 bunch Lacinato kale, de stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
8 pieces of prosciutto
½ cup parmesan cheese

Set your oven to broil.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the kale and salt.  Sauté until the kale is wilted.  Divide the kale between the two flatbreads, spreading it evenly over the surface of each.  Layer the prosciutto on top and sprinkle with the walnuts.  Top with parmesan cheese.  Broil for five minutes or until the cheese is gently browned and melted.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti and Kale

Spaghetti and Kale

This has been one of those weeks where I’m just barely at my desk, which was probably a good thing, since I just barely had time to prepare for this week as it was.  Fortunately, I had some random leftover kitchen supplies from last week, including a bunch of curly kale, some gouda goat cheese, and plenty of dried spaghetti.

I’m not sure when I first encountered the combination of kale and spaghetti.  I just know that this has been an occasional go to meal over the past ten years.  I especially like the kick the red pepper flakes provide, and really wonder what it might be like to add pine nuts to this – I’ll probably try that next.

spaghetti and kale

Spaghetti and Kale
Serves Two

1 bunch curly kale
½ package dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ – ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¼ cup shredded parmesan, asiago, or other hard cheese

Wash and de-stem the kale.  Fill a saucepot about half way with water and put it on high heat.  Bring to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to directions, reducing the cooking time by a minute if you are going to reheat this for lunch.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan.  Add the kale, the white wine, the salt and the dried red pepper flakes and sauté until the kale is wilted.

Drain the spaghetti and combine with the kale.  This hangs out well in the fridge for reheating the next day for lunch.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

The first time I had a massaged kale salad was at a culinary event at a college where I worked.  The theme was farm to fork and the student chefs had prepared a curly kale salad massaged with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette, served with shavings of parmesan.  The kale was raw, but not particularly chewy and definitely not tough.  It piqued my interest in figuring out how to duplicate this salad, and particularly how to go about massaging kale to make it so relaxed and happy.

I’ve played around with the technique here and there over the past year or so.  I’ve used oil and vinegar, a bit of lemon juice, as well as just plain salt.  The technique is what it says it is – you add your oil or acid or salt and just dig in, massaging the kale until it goes a little limp.  It will still maintain some shape and leafiness – this is just the nature of kale.  It’s definitely more robust than a lettuce salad.

radish and kale salad 2

Massaged Kale and Radish Salad
Serves 2

1 bunch curly or lacinato kale, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces
6 sliced radishes
½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
Dressing of your choice (I had ranch on hand, so used it; I can see this being tasty with a vinegar and oil dressing as well)

Combine the kale and the salt and use your hands to knead in the salt and massage the kale.  Add the radishes and toss with dressing.

This Week’s Lunch – March 28

This Week’s Lunch – March 28

We are still recovering from our move.  Slowly, but surely, there is art on the walls, the numbers of boxes in the garage is starting to dwindle, and I can (mostly) find what I’m lookin g for in the kitchen.  We’re building up our condiments again and I even found a Chianti red wine vinegar in our new go-to market.  Part of the challenge to fully settling in is that we are also trying to get our house in the southern PNW ready to go on the market.  I’ll end up with half a weekend the next few weeks, which makes it a bit challenging to do wide-scale food prep, not to mention find the time to really shop.  I decided this would be a good week to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: create my own cheese plate for lunch.  So this week is a picnic-style cheese spread and a kale and radish salad to celebrate spring.

I was unbelievably happy that I was able to find, on the first go, my cherry chutney in the boxes of pickles and preserves that I still haven’t unpacked.  I’m also delighted that where we live has no fewer than four natural foods markets that all sell really good cheese.

Here’s a photo preview of the week.  I’ll post more about the cheeses and the salad later this week.

cheese plate 1radish and kale salad1

 

Massaged Kale Salad with Preserved Meyer Lemons

Massaged Kale Salad with Preserved Meyer Lemons

kalesalad1 kalesalad3 Prior to moving to the PNW, there were a number of vegetables I’d encountered that only ever seemed to be served in cooked form. Kale was one of those vegetables, and though I liked it well enough, I started to really love when I realized it could be eaten raw. To balance the butter-load in this week’s prosciutto and swiss cheese croissants, I thought it might be wise to have a healthy salad on the side. I especially enjoy kale salad with preserved lemon, so this recipe does double-duty, as it showcases kale, but also is the first of several recipes using the preserved Meyer lemon recipe from last week. I also threw in some canned chickpeas, a little parmesan cheese, and a tahini and lemon salad dressing.

This salad holds up well in pint mason jars so can be prepared on Sunday for the entire week.

kalesalad2

Massaged Kale and Preserved Meyer Lemon Salad
Serves 6

Tahini and Lemon Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
1 and ½ tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly until tahini is smoothly distributed.

Massaged Kale and Preserved Meyer Lemon Salad
1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed
2 preserved lemons, rinsed
1 can chickpeas
¼ cup parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, tear the de-stemmed kale into bite sized pieces. Add the tahini and lemon dressing and massage the kale until the dressing is well distributed and the kale starts to soften. Chop the preserved lemons into small strips and add the preserved lemons, chickpeas, and parmesan cheese to the kale. Toss and serve.

 

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