my newest love – kale salad

I must share this recipe, because I am totally addicted to this salad. Given my last post on Absolut addiction, people are going to think that I have addiction problems. Perhaps I do. Regardless, you must try this salad, or some sort of variation. It is tasty, satisfying and high on the fairly healthy list. The trick to eating the kale raw and having a great taste is to massage the kale thoroughly. I’ll explain in the recipe.

lunch saladMy recipe is based on one I found on Cookie and Kate, which is based on a recipe from in Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Feel free to add whatever fresh goodness you have in your kitchen. The possibilities are almost endless!

Kale Salad with Cherries, Pecans and Goat Cheese

  • 1/2 cup candied pecans (remember I said fairly healthy) (or toasted pecans)
  • 8 ounces kale (I used regular curly green kale)
  • 1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
  • optional: hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

how about a bite to eat?

With the fabulous hot weather we’ve enjoyed this summer, I’ve come to rely on great salad suppers. Perfect for using leftovers and keeping the heat off in the kitchen. Here are a couple I’ve put together lately, along with the recipe for an interesting dressing. I don’t think you need a recipe for salad. Basically any green base (romaine, spinach, arugula etc. or a mixture), assorted raw veggies (peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, snap peas etc.), possibly leftover cooked veggies (broccoli, carrots, beans, corn etc.), and a protein (beef steak, pork, shrimp, chicken, eggs, tofu, bacon). Sometimes I’ll throw in some nuts (pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or almonds) and a smattering of crumbled goat cheese. I think most things improve with a little goat cheese. Almost forgot, sometimes I add a little fruit – fresh or dried, and sometimes the nuts are candied. When I candy nuts I do a bunch and keep them in the freezer for just such occasions. This first salad has romaine, red peppers, pear and barbecued pork tenderloin with broccoli on the side. That actually looks a bit boring to me, but I remember it being tasty. Doesn’t look like the dressing had been added at this point – a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

salad with pork tenderloin

This dressing recipe comes from the “Cooking Fresh” magazine by Fine Cooking . You can see the full recipe  for Asian steak, watercress and spinach salad with hoisin vinaigrette here. I altered the recipe slightly since I wasn’t going shopping before dinner. We didn’t have any watercress or spinach in the house, and I refuse to use canned water chestnuts. I replaced half of the sesame oil with canola oil as I was afraid it would be too strong and thick. It was delicious.

Hoisin Vinaigrette

4 scallions (white and light green parts), minced

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. hoisin sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger

2 tbsp. Asian sesame oil (I used one plus 1 of canola oil)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

salad with beefI love dinning on the deck. Calgary has short summers that must be taken advantage of!

quinoa salad with currants and pine nuts

I just realized that I haven’t posted a recipe for quite some time. It’s good to be back in the kitchen. This was part of the lunch I prepared for friends visiting from Turkey. It was the first time I tried the recipe, but it won’t be the last. It was delicious! It’s a perfect gluten-free recipe that unfortunately won’t work for my whole family. One of my daughters (formerly a quinoa enthusiast) has developed an allergy to quinoa. Who knew? This salad can be served warm or at room temperature – perfect for warm weather dining.

Quinoa Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts

1 1/2 c. pre-washed quinoa

1/3 c. finely chopped shallot

3 tbsp. red-wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 c. currants, plumped in hot water for 5 minutes and drained

3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4″ dice

1/2 c. thinly sliced scallions

1/2 c. pine nuts or sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Add quinoa to a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water and cook 10 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve in a saucepan with 1 1/2” water. Steam quinoa, covered, over medium heat, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, stir shallot in a large bowl with vinegar and 1/2 tsp. salt and marinate 15 minutes. Whisk in mustard, then oil. Add hot quinoa, currants, celery, scallions and nuts to dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

quinoa saladI substituted red onion for the shallots because I missed them on my grocery list. With either one I think they pickle slightly while marinating in the vinegar. This salad was a hit and the best part is that we didn’t eat it all. Guess what I had for lunch the next day! This recipe is from Gourmet Easy Dinners magazine.

nuts to you!

I mean that in the nicest way – sort of like “Cheers” or “Here’s to You!” but I have nuts on my brain – specifically, candied walnuts. I spent several hours making 6 pounds of candied walnuts and that was all I could think about. Doing just a few would have been simple, but then how could I share them with my friends? The nuts wouldn’t have taken so long except that I had to make dinner at the same time. Multi-tasking? I feel like I’m ready for a juggling gig with Cirque du Soleil. I  tried a new recipe for Butter Toffee Nuts with Sea Salt that I found on I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it didn’t work out well. The nuts were super coated with candy and they wouldn’t brown. I had to add more water, mix them up and finish them in the oven (not in the recipe) and they were still strange-looking. The taste was okay, but appearance-wise they didn’t cut it. I decided to fall back on my numero uno, delicious, dependable recipe for candied nuts. This recipe comes from the “Fusion Foods Cookbook” by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Even though this was published in 1994, it remains one of my favorites. The recipes are fabulous, the book is beautiful to look at and Hugh has a great sense of humor that makes him a delight to spend time with. His recipe for “Candied Walnut Salad with Goat Cheese” is a keeper. I have customized and