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bunch Russian kale, rinsed and dried
large vidalia onion, quartered and sliced
medium beet, quartered and sliced (or 6-8 small beets quartered)
tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Tear the kale into pieces, removing any bits of rigid stem (discard those). Toss the kale with the salt and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet. Warm over medium heat until the butter is fully melted, then raise the heat to high. Add the vidalia onions and cook for 10 minutes, until just starting to brown. Reduce heat to low. Lightly salt the onions and then simmer for 30-50 minutes, until browned, soft and super sweet. (Time will vary depending on side of onions and type of pan used.)
Rinse the kale in a salad spinning device and spin dry.
To a large mixing bowl, add the kale, caramelized onions, beets, remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well.
Last summer, on a clear August evening, my cousin popped over to my house and dropped off a container of a delicious, refreshing curly kale salad made with whisper-thin red onion slices and a light lemony flavor. I wasn&rsquot expecting to finish it in one sitting, but it was so good that I did.
The salad was amazing. Kale, which is usually rough and bitter, was softer and milder than I&rsquod ever known it to be. The slivers of onion added a nice crunch and hint of sweetness. Altogether, it was delish.
So, when kale appeared in my CSA box last week, I knew I wanted to make a kale salad. But rather than head to the store for ingredients that we didn&rsquot have (read: pretty much everything other than the kale), I used what we had on hand: a Vidalia onion, balsamic vinegar and some little bits of beet.
It was mouthwatering. The kale was softened by the salt, tamed by the balsamic vinegar and given a great lift by the super-sweet caramelized onions. The beets add that perfect bit of crunch &hellip
Oh, it&rsquos good. Very good. I could have eaten the whole bowl (and I wasn&rsquot alone in that sentiment!).
Use healthy oils (like olive and canola oil) for cooking, on salad, and at the table. Limit butter. Avoid trans fat.
Drink water, tea, or coffee (with little or no sugar). Limit milk/dairy (1-2 servings/day) and juice (1 small glass/day). Avoid sugary drinks.
The more veggies &mdash and the greater the variety &mdash the better. Potatoes and French fries don’t count.
Eat plenty of fruits of all colors
Choose fish, poultry, beans, and nuts limit red meat and cheese avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.
Eat a variety of whole grains (like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice). Limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread).
Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
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I have very strong feelings about stuffing, which, for once, I can express succinctly: GIMME. Well, that and a little bit of righteous indignation. Why do we limit our consumption of it to Thanksgiving? Why do we feign interest in all sorts of uninteresting things (dry turkey, thin gravy, occasionally awkward conversations with tipsy distant relatives) just to eat stuffing? Separated into components — croutons, broth, sautéed vegetables — we’d never reject them during all of the months that are not November, but together, for whatever reason, together in a casserole dish, it’s the fourth Thursday of the month or bust. I demand answers.
There are a lot of really excellent stuffing recipes out there, and I would enjoy — possibly with someone else’s metabolism — chomping my way through all of them. But when it actually comes down to picking The One, I get daunted because the best ones have so much going on: homemade cornbread and five herbs, crumbled sausage, plumped dried fruit, toasted nuts — 14 ingredients is totally the norm — plus braising and blanching and frying and simmering, and given that it’s tradition to prepare this along with three other vegetables, dinner rolls, three types of pie and a turkey that’s half the size of a refrigerator, gravy, salad and cocktails, it’s really no wonder that most of us find the prospect of making Thanksgiving dinner overwhelming-slash-excruciating.
My solution this year was to simplify by honing in on the two things I most wanted with my torn-up bread and give them enough flavor that nothing else is needed: onions cooked in butter and olive oil until deeply caramelized, then nudged into the tart-sweet zone with sherry vinegar — these alone would make the meal for me. Then, a heap of kale, slumped in olive oil with salt, pepper flakes and garlic — which are also delicious alone. But together! The onions are sour and a little jammy, the kale is faintly bitter and kicky, the sourdough bread is a crouton dream and they tangle together into something so phenomenal, it would be an undeserved cruelty to keep it from yourself for another 22 days. Not when it’s so good with a crispy egg on top, or a bowl of soup on the side, or even roasted sausages. Not when it’s your right as the cook to pick the best craggy bit off the top before sharing it with anyone else.
More Thanksgiving: Loads of savory recipes here, loads of sweet stuff here, and for those of you just in it for the pumpkin, something for you, too.
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Not Derby Pie Bars
1.5 Years Ago: Blue Sky Bran Muffins
2.5 Years Ago: Essential Raised Waffles
3.5 Years Ago: Bacon Egg and Leek Risotto
4.5 Years Ago: Ribboned Asparagus Salad
Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
Technically, this is dressing. Stuffing is cooked inside the bird, dressing, on the outside.
1 1/4-pound (20 ounce) round of sourdough or dense country-style white bread
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced in half-moons
1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound (large bundle) curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, chopped or torn into large chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey broth, divided
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons sherry
Heat oven to 400°F. Slice crusts off bread (you can save them for breadcrumbs) and tear loaf into rough 1-ish-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once or twice for even color, until golden brown and crisp on the outside but still a little tender inside, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheet, then tip back into that large bowl.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pan and with the stove on the lowest heat possible, let them cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. (The steaming and wilting will help them caramelize much faster, yay.) Remove lid, raise heat to medium/medium-high, add sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and cook onions, stirring frequently, for another 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown. Add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and use to scrape any stuck bits off bottom of pan, then cook off. Taste onions. If desired, add a second tablespoon of sherry vinegar and cook off in the same method. (I prefer them with 2 tablespoons.) Add onions to bowl with croutons.
Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat garlic for half a minute, before adding kale. Get kale coated with garlicky oil, then add 2 tablespoons broth. Cook kale until wilted and somewhat tender, seasoning well with salt and pepper, about 6 minutes. Add sherry to pan and cook until it almost disappears. Add remaining broth and last two tablespoons of butter and bring mixture to a simmer.
Pour kale-broth mixture over croutons and caramelized onions. Toss well to combine. Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil, and bake for another 15 to 20, until golden and crisp on top.
Do ahead: Each part of this (the croutons, the onions and the kale) can prepared up to 3 days in advance, and assembled and baked when needed. Keep the croutons at room temperature in a container or bag. Keep the onions in the fridge, as well as the kale and broth mixture.
Because we’re talking about only three ingredients, it’s important that you source the best possible sweet potatoes, kale and onion.
I highly recommend using the freshest organic sweet potatoes for this dish because the sweet potatoes will be the star of the dish and you want the sweetest, freshest sweet potatoes available. Farmers’ markets are usually the best place to find them but fresh organic at your local market will work perfectly fine.
And while we’re on the topic of fresh, be sure to get the freshest organic kale as well, with sturdy vibrant, green leaves that will hold up well in cooking. You could use red kale or Lacinato kale as well but I do find green kale to hold up best in this dish.
That’s entirely up to you. I lean towards sweet onion often when making this dish but I’ve made it numerous times with yellow onion. The trick is to let the onion cook low and slow until all the natural sugars are released and the onion starts to caramelize. It’s tempting to want to rush it, but you’ll get a distinct melt in your mouth sweet onion in every single bite.
All recipes were from this book, which has a lot of fun bowl meal ideas with creative flavor combinations. The night before last, I had a bowl with homemade seitan satay in a curry coconut peanut sauce, over rice, sauteed garlic/ginger kale, with a side of cucumber salad. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of that one. Another favorite recipe from this book is cabbage roll in a bowl with this amazing pecan/lentil meat. Oh and also the refried bean dip with walnut chorizo. And the white bean beer cheese fondue. omg. It's a good book!
Ranch Dressing: (makes almost 2 cups salad had massaged kale, celery and shredded carrots)
2/3 cup unsweetened plant milk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Blend first 9 ingredients until smooth, then mix in dried herbs and pepper.
Cheddar Sauce: (used with 1/2 lb pasta, had some leftover sauce)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Blend everything until smooth. Add some neutral plant milk to thin, if needed.
Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas:
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus 2 tbsp
Preheat oven to 375F. Toss chickpeas with 1/4 cup sauce, bake on parchment paper for 15 min. Stir, then bake for 10-15 min more. Add extra 2 tbsp buffalo sauce after removing from oven.
I don’t drink kale smoothies. And I’m aware of the bad rep that kale has by some. But honestly. I genuinely LOVE kale salad. For real yo.
I mean, fine. I wouldn’t like a kale salad that was just a bunch of kale ripped up and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice and salt. Nah. That would not do it for me in the slightest. No salad like that would, with any typa greens, for that matter.
But a kale salad with caramelized onion strings and sautéed mushroom slices and creamy avocado chunks and crunchy pepitas and a punchy vinaigrette dressing full of rich olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar and sharp onion and fresh garlic and sweet maple syrup and salt and pepper? YES, THAT IS A KALE SALAD I CAN GET BEHIND, FOLKS.
I’m on a bit of a caramelized onion kick, I’ve just realized. Because the last savory recipe I posted, this lemon dill rice, was also chock-full of paper thin onions, sautéed up until browned and sweet and caramelized.
Luckily for you, this time the onions don’t require as long a cooking time. The onions for this warm kale salad take about 25 minutes total, mushrooms included. Workable? I hope so.
And. While the onions and mushrooms are getting all succulent and browned in that skillet, you can prep the rest of the components for this onion mushroom kale salad.
So. As those onions and mushrooms are sizzling. You chop (or rip, if you’re like me and pretend to be a savage) up the kale into pieces of desired size. You massage your kale, if you’re feeling generous (or you can just let the kale sit in the dressing for a while to soften up). You cube a large, creamy avocado. You measure out your pumpkin seeds.
And you blend together the balsamic vinaigrette. Which takes like a minute, cuz you just blend together all the dressing ingredients until they’re smooth.
Let’s recap on some things: the dressing for this mushroom kale salad gets a whole onion — yes, sharp onion flavor, coming in strong. Blended right along with a big garlic clove and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add then salt and black pepper are added, to taste. And, to balance all that tangy, sharp flavor out, here comes a little sweetener — your choice of honey or maple syrup. Or a combination of both. Or white sugar, for that matter, if that’s all you got in your pantry.
You’ll likely have some extra dressing left over after you toss this kale salad together. Which is fine, no? Use it for pretty much any other salad you plan on making the whole week.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they've released all their liquid and are browned, about 10 minutes total, reducing heat if oil starts to smoke excessively. Lower heat to medium, and stir in butter and shallots. Cook, stirring often, until butter is melted and shallots soften and turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sherry and cook until mostly evaporated. Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil with the sherry vinegar, mustard, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, add dressing ingredients to a jar, cover, and shake until emulsified.
In a large bowl, toss kale with just enough dressing to lightly coat. Add warm mushrooms and toss again. Add more dressing, as needed, to lightly coat all ingredients. Top with goat cheese, if using, and serve. Extra dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for another use.
Combine oil, onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saute pan cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low cook until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
Add vinegar to pan, and raise heat to medium-high. Add kale, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt cook, stirring, until kale begins to soften, about 3 minutes. As the pan becomes dry, add another 1/4 cup water, and cook until the kale is tender, about 3 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 days in the fridge, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.
Keywords: savory galette
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