I’m sure for most people, the first few weeks after having a baby are hectic. I know for us, we were trying to get our house situated, adjust to the new schedule and figure out everything we still needed to buy for the baby. During this time, many daily activities fell by the wayside: bed making didn’t happen, teeth brushing became sporadic, and reading my Feedly blogs went completely forgotten. I finally got some time a few days ago to catch up on my blogs; as I was reading Smitten Kitchen, Deb made a suggestion for Rosh Hashanah recipes. It occurred to me then and there that I had volunteered to bring a salad to our holiday dinner. Deb’s mention of her Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts sounded like the perfect addition to the meal. I know I’ve posted kale salads before, but I loved the sweetness of the golden raisins and the crunch and texture of the toasted panko breadcrumbs that this version had to offer. The salad was a complete hit at dinner last night, and thanks to multiple people going back for seconds, I went home with an empty bowl! To those of you who observe Rosh Hashanah, I hope you have a Happy New Year!
Kale Salad with Pecorino & Walnuts
What You Need
- 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- Coarse or kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch lacinato/tuscan kale, washed and patted dry
- 2 ounces pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
- Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
What To Do
- Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
- Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
- Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
- Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs by running a knife along side the stem, separating the leaves from the stems. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
- Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.
It seems like Labor Day is an appropriate time to share that our baby boy, Gavin Jacob, was born on August 16th! His entrance into the world partially explains my extended blogging hiatus. That, and the fact that I didn’t do ANY cooking during the last three, er, four weeks of my pregnancy. We’re slowly but surely getting into the swing of things, so I am hoping to return to the kitchen/blog, at least a little more frequently.
As one can imagine, life lately has been all about diapers, feeding, and becoming reacquainted with hours of the night that haven’t been seen since college. Thankfully my mom was in town for two weeks, so she provided an extra set of helping hands; she also acted as our personal chef, preparing delicious home-cooked meals each night. We’re so lucky to have had family travel to St. Louis to meet our son, and we’re looking forward to being able to introduce him to more family and friends in the coming months.
I’m excited to share more glorious recipes with you in the near future, but in the meantime, here are some pics from the past two weeks!
Brothers getting to know each other:
The delicious spread at Gavin’s bris:
Adorable cookie bouquet sent from my friend:
Dinner brought over by a neighbor, which included a faro salad with grapes, goat cheese, celery and radicchio – I must get the recipe!
One of my mom’s desserts – angel food cake with lemon glaze + strawberries & blueberries (she fed us well!):
First sushi dinner in 9 months…also the first time celebrating our wedding anniversary with carry-out:
I’m sure I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll say it again – there’s nothing better than the seasonal fruits and vegetables of summer! Most people look forward to the summer months all year, if not for extended hours of daylight and pool time, but definitely for delicious BBQ fare like juicy watermelon, fresh tomato salad, and luscious fruit desserts. I’ve been trying to take full advantage by eating corn with many meals and using the grill whenever possible. My newest way to enjoy the summer bounty is through this Grilled Peaches with Maple Mascarpone dessert. If you’ve never had grilled peaches before, you must find out what you’re missing. You’ll love the slightly warmed and softened peaches alongside the mascarpone cheese that’s been flavored with maple syrup, cinnamon, and lemon juice. This simple dessert, which takes minutes to assemble, is anything but lackluster.
I hope you’re enjoying all that summer has to offer!
Grilled Peaches with Maple Mascarpone
Source: Daphne Oz via Glamour Magazine
What You Need
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Pinch of fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (or nutmeg)
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large ripe peaches
- 1 tbsp. organic extra-virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 8 mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
What To Do
- Stir together mascarpone, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Brush lightly with coconut oil or butter. Grill on low heat, cut side down, for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes, until soft and heated through.
- Serve 2 halves on each plate with a dollop of mascarpone, a drizzle of syrup (if desired), and cinnamon. Garnish with mint.
Growing up, salmon was the first fish I tried when I began testing the proverbial waters. Once I ventured out and starting eating other types of fish, I had moved on from salmon all together. Over the past year, I’ve completed warmed up to salmon again. Lately, I’ve been seeing the meaty fish making its way back into my kitchen quite frequently. Since salmon is so easy to prepare, has great health benefits, and my husband loves it too…I say, bring it on!
A couple of days ago, the sockeye salmon was looking mighty fine at the Whole Foods counter. So, I decided to try a grilled BBQ Salmon recipe from Cooking Light. The results were seriously phenomenal. The marinade came together in no-time, and the flavors were out of this world. The sweet and spicy combo created a glaze that adhered to the fish, and it left me wanting more. The recipe is great for a week night dinner, and impressive enough to serve for guests.
What You Need
- 1 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste, such as Huy Fong)
- 4 (6-ounce) fresh sustainable salmon fillets
What To Do
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Combine 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice and next 4 ingredients (through chile paste); stir with a whisk until combined.
- Place salmon on a grill rack coated. Brush tops of salmon with half of sauce. Grill 7-10 minutes; brush with remaining sauce. Grill an additional 7-10 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness.
I love a good restaurant recreation as much as the next person… But often times it’s not as good as the real thing, or it takes at least a couple of trials to get it right. Then there are those times when the recreation, although slightly different from the inspiration, turns into something just as good as the real thing, and not disappointing at all. That’s how I felt about my Paul Manno’s Eggplant Caprese Tower with Balsamic Reduction recreation. The original version offers flavorful pieces of fried eggplant layered between tomatoes and fresh mozzarella; I decided to grill my breaded eggplant before stacking it between heirloom tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. This fabulous summer dish is finished with balsamic reduction and basil chiffonade, rounding out a dish that is just as pretty as it is tasty. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy in-season, juicy tomatoes!
(To see my other restaurant recreations, click on the links: Tostada Tower, Black Lentils, with Roasted Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions, Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl)
Eggplant Caprese Tower with Balsamic Reduction
What You Need
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 8 1/2-inch slices
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 red heirloom tomato, cut into 4 1/2-inch slices
- 1 yellow heirloom tomato, cut into 4 1/2-inch slices
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 1/4-inch slices
- 1 cup basil chiffonade
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
What To Do
- In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar to a boil. As soon as the vinegar boils, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until vinegar is to desired thickness. Be sure to stir occasionally. Balsamic reduction should stick to the back of a spoon. It will thicken slightly once it is cooled. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium heat or preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bread the 8 slices of eggplant by dipping first in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dredge eggplant in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Place each piece on a plate until ready to grill/cook. If you're grilling eggplant, grill about 10-12 minutes on each side. To cook in the oven, place eggplant on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 20 minutes on each side.
- When eggplant is cooked, prepare 4 plates, starting with a red tomato slice, a piece of eggplant, followed by a slice of cheese. Repeat with a yellow tomato slice, a piece of eggplant and another piece of cheese. Top tower with cracked pepper and salt, and 1/4 cup of basil chiffonade. Finally, drizzle tower with balsamic reduction.