Kale Tabouli

kaletabouli1 Did you know that kale is such a nutritional rockstar that it has its own day?  Yep, October 7th is National Kale Day! Ok, it’s a bit crazy but hey, everything else seems to have its own “National Day” so why not kale? Kale is really amazing in the nutrition department boasting so many vitamins and antioxidants for your body that it just boggles the mind. Here’s my top 5 good for you facts about kale….

  1. It is only a mere 33 calories per cup.  You can chop it up and add it to your dishes for an almost calorie-free nutritional boost.
  2. It is loaded with antioxidants.  It contains a lot of beta carotene (Vitamin C) which is known to reduce oxidative damage in the body.  Oxidative damage is believed to lead to aging and many diseases including Cancer.
  3. Kale contains substances that bind bile acids to lower cholesterol levels. Steamed kale is particularly effective for this.
  4. It contains Vitamin K which is crucial for blood clotting.  This is good if you’re an accident-prone gal like myself (hello tree-trimming incident this Fall).  So, your cuts heal faster without as much blood loss.
  5. Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin.  People who have diets rich in these two nutrients have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two of the most common eye disorders as we age.

Kale is quite easy to add to your diet.  Try chopping it up small and adding it to your salads like the tabouli salad I’m sharing here.  It is also great in smoothies, its taste disappears and it adds tons of nutrition. chicken.kofta4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Kale Tabouli
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian main course, Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa or couscous - cook according to package directions
  • ½ of an English (seedless) cucumber - diced
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes - diced
  • ½ of a red onion - diced
  • 1 bunch of curly leaf parsley - chopped (flat leaf parsley works also)
  • ½ bunch of kale, stems removed - chopped (see notes below on stem removal)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. To de-stem the kale:
  2. Fold the kale leaf in half length-wise so that the stem runs along one side. Run your knife right next to the stem to remove it in one piece.
  3. Cook the quinoa or couscous according to package directions and place on a plate to cool.
  4. For the dressing:
  5. place the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. For the salad:
  7. Mix all the remaining ingredients into a bowl along with the cooled quinoa/couscous.
  8. Add the dressing and toss it with the salad to combine.
  9. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

So you go kale…..I’m polishing your crown as we speak.

Very Berry Bruschetta

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Once I tell someone that I’m a food blogger and that I love to cook I’m inevitably asked “so, what’s your signature dish?”  This is definitely a valid question and I love that people are interested enough to ask it but, truth be known, I really don’t feel like I have one.  I mean, am I an expert at just one dish?  Do I have one particular dish that I love to make and go to time after time?  Hmmmmm, not really.  It’s honestly a question I dread and have really contemplated just making something up!

All that being said I do think that one of my favorite things to make, if not my most favorite is bruchettas or crostinis.  I have become quite known for them and I serve a different one at each gathering I host.  I don’t believe there’s a more versatile or popular appetizer.  It falls into my #1 guideline that an appetizer has to be a “finger food” and it is probably the most versatile and creative appetizer you can serve.  The ingredients are endless and you can fit those ingredients beautifully into any season or holiday.

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I made this berry bruschetta for a Fourth of July party and I have to say, it was a major hit!  So much so that I’ve been asked to make it regularly this summer.  It came to me because of the colors (red, white and blue) and the fresh in season ingredients (strawberries, blueberries and fresh mint).

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Very Berry Bruschetta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 French baguette loaf - sliced into rounds (approximately ½" thick)
  • 1 tub of honey nut flavored cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or coconut sugar which is what I use)
  • 1 quart of strawberries - chopped
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • bunch of fresh mint - chopped
  • honey for drizzling
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the bread rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the bread rounds and sprinkle them with Kosher salt.
  4. Bake the bread rounds in the oven for approximately 6-7 minutes until slightly browned and a bit hardened.
  5. Let the bread cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  6. Mix the berries and the sugar together in a medium bowl. Allow them to sit for a few minutes.
  7. Spread each bread round with the cream cheese.
  8. Spoon the berry mixture onto the bread rounds.
  9. Drizzle the honey over the tops of the bread rounds.
  10. Sprinkle the chopped mint over the tops of the bread rounds for garnish.

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5 Delicious recipes to help you love kale

Kale Collage I’ve more than made peace with kale; I’m actually enjoying it and not just because its a nutritional powerhouse but because it’s delicious.  It’s delicious in these recipes anyway! I still live by the belief that people who eat kale are beautiful.  The “kale glow” if you will. Click on the photos below for the recipes.  I hope you enjoy them and here’s to you developing a new love……for kale. kale_farro_salad swiss.chard.pasta.3 kale.pesto.crostini1 kale.pesto3 kale 1

Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves

turkey.panini.fig.preserve.3This sandwich is like Thanksgiving dinner contained in a delicious, melty package!

I enjoy finding new and unique food items and then creating recipes using those items.  True story, I was shopping for a rug at Marshalls/TJ Maxx and of course, found myself perusing through the gourmet food aisle.  Typically there’s the usual bottles of BBQ sauce and bags of dry pasta.  But this particular day I happened across a jar of all natural fig preserves.  I love fig products.  Fig balsamic (my favorite flavor of vinegar), fig bars and don’t even get me thinking about fig newtons!  Anyway, I digress…

This delicious sandwich is made with deli turkey, swiss cheese, a chiffonade of fresh sage leaves and fig preserves contained within two thick cut slices of sourdough bread.  Wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I’ve served it here with a garden salad for a complete meal.

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Turkey Panini with fresh sage and fig preserves
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • deli turkey meat (amount to taste) - I use a nitrate-free low sodium honey roasted turkey
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (or more depending on your taste)
  • 3-4 fresh sage leaves - sliced into ribbons, a "chiffonade"
  • 1 Tablespoon fig preserves
  • Butter
Instructions
  1. Butter a slice of bread and lie the butter side down onto a surface to build the sandwich.
  2. Spread the bread with ½ of the fig preserves.
  3. Place one slice of cheese onto the preserves.
  4. Place the sage ribbons onto the cheese.
  5. Next add the turkey, followed by the other slice of cheese.
  6. Butter the second slide of bread.
  7. Spread the non-buttered side of the bread with the fig preserves putting the butter side out.
  8. Place the sandwich onto the Panini press and cook until it becomes nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  9. Alternate cooking method:
  10. If making this sandwich on a skillet:
  11. Cook it over medium low heat until the bread is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.
  12. I put a foil tent over the sandwich, leaving the sides open for the steam to escape. It melts the cheese nicely while letting the steam escape so the sandwich is not too soft and soggy.
  13. Turn the sandwich over and cook the second side.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Corn Fiesta Salad

 

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The first Saturday in August is our friends’ annual corn roast at their cottage.  Corn roast you ask?  The answer is yes and they really do it right.  They grill a ton of ears of corn on a grill made from cement blocks that hold a huge grate with a mound of charcoal underneath.  It’s truly a cool setup.  The corn is shucked by the chef (yes Mark that’s you) and then dunked in a vat of melted butter.  A little salt and wow; it is so sweet and so delicious.  I look forward to it each year!

So what do you do after a corn roast?  You eat leftover corn.  This recipe was put together using the leftover corn that I cut off the cobbs.  You could absolutely use frozen roasted corn and it will still be great.

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I think this would also be great as a salsa; just dice the tomatoes.

Lime pepper seasoning pops up again in this recipe.  Click on the link for info on lime pepper and where to buy it.  Lemon pepper is a fine substitution and still tastes bright and fresh.

Sweet Corn Fiesta Salad
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad, vegetable, side dish
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups of grilled sweet corn cut from the cobb or frozen roasted corn cooked according to package directions.
  • 10 grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise - I used red and yellow
  • 6 large leaves of fresh basil - cut into ribbons (chiffonade)
  • Alternate - small handful of cilantro - chopped
  • juice of ½ of a lime
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lime pepper or lemon pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix the corn, tomatoes and basil (or cilantro) in a bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice and stir to combine.
  3. Add the olive oil and lime pepper and stir to combine.
  4. VARIATION:
  5. Substitute cilantro for the basil.
  6. Add chopped avocado.

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Try this variation substituting cilantro for the basil and adding chopped avocado…delicious as a salad or a salsa!

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Kale Pesto Crostini

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How adorable are these?

We went to an annual picnic at our friends’ cottage this past weekend and these crostinis were a major hit.  I made 40 pieces and they barely made it out to the appetizer table.  Adults and kids just gobbled them up!  I was asked many times “what’s the green stuff?”  You tell them “kale pesto” and you’ll look like a total rockstar for using such a unique ingredient!

They are simple especially if you make the kale pesto ahead of time.  You can prebake the baguette rounds and store them in an airtight container until ready to use them.

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Kale Pesto Crostini
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 French baguette, sliced diagonally into ½ inch thick rounds. (I get 35-40 slices per baguette)
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • kale pesto - see the link to this recipe in the post
  • 20 grape tomatoes - sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 wedge of Romano cheese for grating (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the baguette rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  4. Bake them for approximately 7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  5. Allow the baguette rounds to cool enough for you to handle them.
  6. Spread a layer of kale pesto onto each round.
  7. Top with one grape tomato, seed side up.
  8. Grate the romano cheese over the tops of the rounds (I grate my cheese using the microplane, it works perfectly).
  9. Serve the crostinis on a large platter and watch them disappear!

 

 

 

Kale Pesto

kale.pesto1Pesto can be a whole topic on its own.  It is so versatile in the ingredients you can put in it and the dishes you can put it in.  My favorite uses for pesto are mixing it into pasta as a sauce, a sandwich spread, stirred into soups for added flavor, served on crostini as an appetizer and as a pizza sauce.

This pesto uses kale and it’s flavor is surprisingly bright and fresh with the lemon juice.  It has been very well received by the people I’ve served it to.

I welcome your comments once you’ve tried it.  And please feel free to share your uses for pesto, there’s always room for more!

Kale Pesto
 
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Author:
Recipe type: pesto, sauce
Ingredients
  • 4 cups tightly packed chopped kale (I used already cut bagged kale)
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice of ½ of a lemon (approximately 2-3 Tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Toast the pine nuts in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until they begin to lightly brown (they'll begin to smell like popcorn).
  2. Place kale, pine nuts and garlic and lemon juice in the food processor. Pulse until blended.
  3. Add the salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the food processor and stream in the olive oil. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a bowl. Stir in the cheese. Serve.
  5. Note – if you’re not going to be serving it immediately, wait to put the cheese in until you're ready to serve it.

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Edamame Hummus

edamame.hummus.2Okay, I’ve mentioned before that my food soul is Mediterranean.  That being said, I love hummus.  I love to experiment with it using all kinds of crazy combinations of ingredients.  I’ve varied it by substituting the traditional chick peas for other beans such as white (cannellini) and black.  I love adding roasted red pepper, jalapeno pepper and fresh herbs.

This “hummus” was made by substituting the chick peas not with another bean, but with shelled edamame (soybeans).  I love edamame for its flavor, color, protein and nutritional value.  This edamame hummus really came out delicious. I eat hummus as a dip for veggies, pretzel chips and pita bread.  But it’s also great as a sandwich spread.  It’s often my go-to for packing in my lunch box for work as I tend to make it and have it on hand regularly.  It fills you up and is so good for you.

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Give this one a try, it sounds strange but it’s definitely a keeper!  FYI, you won’t even know that cilantro is in there if you have those that are opposed to its flavor.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Edamame Hummus
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, light meal, Vegetarian, Dip, Spread
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 12 ounce package of frozen shelled edamame
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (large handful)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime pepper (or lemon pepper)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
Instructions
  1. Cook the edamame according to package directions.
  2. Put the garlic cloves into the food processor and pulse until minced.
  3. Add the edamame and all of the other ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Let sit for 20 minutes for flavors to meld.
  5. Serve with veggies, pretzel chips or pita bread.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 full week.

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Salmon Salad, a 20 minute meal

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Yes I’m a food blogger.  Yes I love to cook.  And, yes there are nights that like everybody else I just don’t want to even think about cooking.  Nights when I have no motivation or energy to do so and no idea what to make.

Sometimes I turn to take-out but the question of “what do you want to pick up?” is often worse than “what are you making for dinner?”  I swear sometimes by the time we finally decide on what to order for takeout I could have cooked a four course gourmet meal.

This is where your pantry, freezer and refrigerator really come in handy.  One of my favorite items to keep on hand are salmon burgers.  They are delicious, packed with protein and very versatile.  I serve them with some instant brown rice and a vegetable (frequently a frozen veggie also from the freezer) and a complete meal is on the table in 20 minutes.  They’re great put on a bun with a couple condiments of your choice with a side salad.

This particular salad was thrown together by looking in the refrigerator for miscellaneous produce and items in jars in the refrigerator door.  I started with a bed of arugula (any green would do) and added a handful of broccoli slaw mix from a bag, mild banana pepper rings, some chopped fresh basil from the garden and  some chopped cucumber.  The salmon burger cooks from frozen in the oven in 20 minutes.  Top the salad with the dressing of your choice and the salmon burger and you’ve got a great meal; delicious, nutritious and best of all super quick!

This same no brainer meal can be duplicated with a veggie burger, chicken burger or sirloin burger.  I just really love these salmon burgers though.  They seem a bit more gourmet and they feel like a real treat as they’re so meaty and tasty.

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Broccoli Slaw Salad

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I take a shortcut when I can and one of these shortcuts would be bagged broccoli slaw mix. It’s a mixture of shredded broccoli and carrot.  I’ve used it here with some cucumber and red onion along with some fresh cilantro to create a nice slaw.  The dressing is a sweet; made with seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil and honey.  I really recommend using the sesame oil.  I’ve tried making it with olive oil and it’s just not as good.  The clean crisp sesame oil blends so well with the rice vinegar.  There are 2 types of rice vinegar; seasoned and unseasoned.  This one uses the seasoned which gives a nice sweet flavor.  I like the broccoli slaw mix as an alternate to cabbage for a nice crunchy and flavorful slaw.

I served this with my fresh mex turkey tacos and a guacamole salsa.  A healthy, fresh twist on a Mexican dinner.

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Broccoli Slaw Salad
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Slaw, Salad
Cuisine: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups broccoli slaw mix (comes in a bag and is a combination of shredded broccoli and carrot)
  • 1 small red onion - diced
  • 1 large English cucumber (or regular cucumber, seeds removed) - diced
  • handful of fresh Cilantro - chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. Mix the broccoli slaw mix, cucumber and red onion in a bowl.
  2. Place the seasoned rice vinegar in a small bowl.
  3. With a small wire whisk, gradually whisk in the sesame oil until incorporated.
  4. Add the honey and whisk until combined.
  5. Pour the dressing over the broccoli slaw mixture.
  6. Add the chopped cilantro and toss to combine.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

 

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