Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Thought I Didn't Like Kale Salad


OK, if I am being totally honest, I have to admit I did have a kale salad I liked, once, awhile ago, but not enough I was inspired to try making one at home. Until now. I am working on expanding my veggie horizons, and decided to do some research into dressings and things that go well with kale. I am glad I did as not only do I now have a new favorite salad recipe, which will also be a great potluck item I think, but I am in love with the dressing for any salad and might try it out as a sauce for other things as well! This recipe makes alot, and how much you use will depend on how big your salad gets, but you will be happy to have leftovers if you don't use it all!

I Thought I Didn't Like Kale Salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (get Bragg's if you can for the robust flavor!)
3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or wheat free tamari if you do soy)
3 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic , minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
(you could also mix this up with other herbs you like)

Other Stuff:

4 packed cups kale in small pieces with thick ribs removed (or you can use even more if your bowl is big enough! Remember it will shrink after you put the dressing on.)
1 large or 2 small cooked beets, chopped (you could probably use fresh grated as well, but I think the flavor of cooked is better for this recipe)
3 TB pine nuts (or sub another nut if you prefer, but I think the pine nut flavor is killer here)
1 ripe avocado, diced
Handful of sprouts (optional, but I like the extra layer of texture they give)
Other veggies you have on hand if you want - good additions would be finely chopped carrot, cabbage, jicama, peppers...
Fresh ground pepper (optional)

Whatcha Do:

Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender, food processor or immersion blender container and mix 'em up. Put the kale in big bowl and pour over your desired amount of dressing, allowing it to be liberal enough to coat whatever else you plan to add. Massage the dressing in for a few minutes - this will help the kale mellow out its toughness a bit. I usually let it sit for a bit at this point, anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour, depending on what I have going on, but you don't have to. Add everything else except the avocado and give it a good toss. Add the avocado just before serving and toss just enough to mix it in. Top with some fresh ground pepper if you so desire, but I think it has enough zip just the way it is!

Now I challenge you to see how long it lasts! I usually end up eating 2 or 3 bowls a day when it is around!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crockpot Ratatouille

This is the type of recipe I almost never make because Ron dislikes almost everything in it, but I usually make Italian food for Christmas Eve, and figured that was the perfect chance as I make more dishes than usual at the holidays anyway. Plus, it could be started in the morning and gotten out of the way! I am sooooo glad I made it! It was killer delicious, and just got better over the next couple days.

Ratatouille in the Crock Pot

Ingredients:

2 large onions , cut in half and sliced
1 large eggplant , sliced, cut in 2 inch pieces
4 small zucchini , sliced
4 garlic cloves , minced
2 large red bell peppers , de-seeded and cut into thin strips
2 large tomatoes , chopped
1 six ounce can tomato paste
2 ts dried basil
1 ts oregano
2 ts salt
1/2 ts black pepper
2 TB fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
red pepper flakes , to taste, if you want it spicy

Directions:

Layer half the vegetables in a large crock pot in the following order: onion, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, peppers, tomatoes. Next sprinkle half the herbs, salt and pepper on the veggies. Then dot with half of the tomato paste. Repeat layering process with remaining vegetables, spices and tomato paste. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Sauteed Fennel


This recipe is really no rocket science, but I decided to include it because I don't think alot of people think about fennel as a side dish, and it was just so delicious that I figured posting it might encourage folks to include it in their veggie line up. :) You could use many types of oils in this dish. Olive oil, butter, ghee or coconut oil would all be good choices - I used coconut, and it was delicious like that! I have recently gotten into a paleo style of eating and don't recommend canola or other types of vegetable oils. They break down and release free radicals during cooking. Even olive oil has that issue a bit. Butter, ghee and coconut oil are really the best options for sauteing. I am guessing on the amounts here as I just through it together. :)

Sauteed Fennel

Ingredients:

1 fennel bulb, cut in thin slices
1 TB oil of your choice
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil up in a pan and toss in your garlic. Let it spread out a bit and get fragrant, then add the fennel to the pan and sprinkle it with salt to taste. Saute on med heat until there are lots of nice golden brown spots on the fennel. Serve it up! I put this next to a 5spice salmon and thought that worked out nicely.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chicken Marbella

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted something here. I actually thought this recipe was already here, but when I went to look for it, I couldn't find it. I make it for a potluck recently, and everybody loved it, so I figured it was about time I get it posted!

Chicken Marbella

2 lbs chicken thigh pieces, skinless and boneless, cut each piece into 4
1/2 head garlic, peeled and finely pureed (this works out to about 6-8 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
12 pitted prunes, cut in half
6 dried apricots, cut in half (I have also used canned for a friend watching her sulfur intake)
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/3 cup capers, with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup Italian parsley or 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish (I am usually lazy and leave this off, and it is still great)

Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, apricots, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, brown sugar and white wine.
2. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight, or for as long as you can. (I almost always forget to do it the night before, and it is still great) .
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a large, shallow baking pan and spoon marinade over it evenly.
5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices, until chicken is done.
6. With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.
7. I am thinking this would make an awesome dump recipe as well, although I haven't actually tried it that way.