Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

~ Salad with substance: Kale, Carrots, Shallot, Pecans, Dried Cranberries ~

Fall and winter salads differ from their light and cooling summer cousin. Cold weather salads should be filling and comforting, hardy with fruit and nuts, cheese and dried meat. While served fresh, these salads should give warmth in substance. The base of this bright fall salad is kale. In it’s raw form kale is tough and bitter, best shredded in a slaw or sautéed in olive oil. For this salad I’ve softened the kale  by quickly blanching it just to soften its edges without wilting. The other ingredients fall willingly into formation, adding sweetness, crunch and a vibrancy of color pretty enough to decorate any holiday table.

Winter Kale and Carrot Salad with Pecans and Cranberries
Sliced persimmons would also be a nice addition to this salad.
Serves 4 as a side.

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch curly green kale, tough vein removed, torn in large pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pecans, halved
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add kale and blanch just until the color brightens and the leaves still hold their shape, 20 seconds. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Spin dry in a salad spinner or blot dry with a kitchen towel. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Toss with half of the dressing and taste for seasoning. Serve with additional dressing to taste.

Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt-Sriracha Sauce

Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt-Sriracha Sauce

If this recipe sounds vaguely familiar to you, then it might be because these croquettes have a similar method to my favorite Smoked Salmon Fish Cakes.  Say, what? – you may ask.  It’s true – this is a great example of a recipe that works. Over many renditions I finally arrived at a pan-fried cake/patty/croquette recipe which I love. It’s light, crispy and packed with the main ingredient. It’s a winner, and I’m sticking to it.

In this version, the star ingredient is carrot. Its sweetness is nicely balanced by the spice and heat of chile, coriander and cumin. Flecked with green onion and cilantro, the croquettes are light and airy with a satisfying bite. A coating of panko crumbs ensures a crisp exterior, begging for a dip in the sriracha laced yogurt sauce, which is a perfect cooling foil to the warm croquettes.

Spiced Carrot Croquettes with Yogurt Sriracha Sauce
Makes 16 – 1 1/2 inch croquettes

Carrot croquettes:
8 large carrots, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
2 green onions, ends trimmed, white and green parts minced
1 small red jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Vegetable oil for frying

Yogurt-Sriracha Sauce:
1 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt, to taste

Steam carrots until very soft, 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mash. (There should be about 2 cups.)
Place 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl; set aside. Add 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, green onion, chile pepper, cilantro, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper to the carrots. Stir to combine, and then stir in the yogurt and lemon juice. Using a soup spoon, scoop out a spoonful of the carrots. Lightly form into a 1 1/2 inch patty. Gently roll in reserved breadcrumbs to coat. Place on a platter. Repeat with remaining carrots. (Croquettes may be prepared to this point up to 3 hours before cooking. Loosely cover with plastic and refrigerate.)
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add croquettes in batches. Fry until golden brown, turning once, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining carrots.
To make the sauce, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer croquettes to a serving plate. Serve with the yogurt sauce and lemon wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Kale Slaw

Kale Slaw

Yep, that’s kale slaw – not cole slaw. The star of this little bowl of goodness is healthy, nutrient-rich kale. Not only is kale considered a “superfood” it’s delicious and versatile to use. Try it raw in salads, braised with garlic and olive oil, blanched in soups, or crisp-roasted in the oven. Whichever method you choose, kale is a keeper. In this version of a slaw, sturdy lacinato kale replaces the usual cabbage. Accompanied by carrot shavings, sweet red pepper and chile, the kale is tossed with a cumin-infused Dijon vinaigrette. This a satisfying side dish which tastes great and looks pretty, too.

Kale Slaw
Makes 4 servings

I like the flavor of lacinato kale, an heirloom kale variety from Tuscany. It’s dark blue-green leaves retain their firmness in this slaw recipe. Feel free to substitute or combine other kinds of kale for a variety of color and texture.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch lacinato or Tuscan kale, tough ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, membranes removed, cut in 1/2 inch slivers
1-2 red fresno or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, membranes removed, minced
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill sprigs
1/4 cup cilantro or Italian parsley leaves

Combine lemon juice, mustard, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream to emulsify. Set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to thoroughly coat. Add additional vinaigrette to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 4 hours. Serve with additional dill, cilantro or parsley sprigs as garnish.

Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad

Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad

Bulgur Kale Carrot

Lately, kale has been irresistable at the market. I usually like to sauté kale with garlic and olive oil or wilt it in warm soups. But in warm weather, the firm toothsome leaves beckon me when making salads. And what better way to highlight the nutrient-rich kale than in a salad?  A member of the brassica family of vegetables, Kale is high in beta-carotene and fiber and rich in vitamins K, A and C. Not only that, it contains sufloraphane, an anti-cancer chemical which forms when kale and other cruciferous vegetables are chopped, minced or chewed. Combine all that goodness in a scrumptious salad, and we are extremely happy, well-fed campers.

This salad is a riff on tabbouleh, one of my favorite summer salads. Usually I add copious handfuls of mint, parsley and coriander to my tabbouleh, but this time I wanted a milder salad to accompany grilled salmon. I had a bunch of Tuscan kale on hand, so I finely chopped the leaves and added them to the bulgur. The dark sturdy greens rippled throughout the salad. Shredded sweet carrot and flecks of red chile rounded out the flavors and added to the confetti of colors. In place of the usual aromatics, I tossed in a handful of dill sprigs, adding subtle grassy sweetness. The result was a delicious, satisfying and healthy salad. Serve as a simple salad or an accompaniment to grilled meat and fish.


Bulgur Kale

Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish

2 cups bulgur
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
juice from one lemon
juice from one lime
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup finely grated carrots
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large Tuscan or curly kale leaves, ribs removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill sprigs (or mint, parsley)

Pour 2 cups boiling water over bulgur in a non-reactive bowl. Let sit, covered, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Add olive oil, lemon and lime juice. Let sit until liquid is absorbed. Mix in cumin, salt, pepper and tabasco. Stir in carrots, onion, chile, garlic and kale. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Before serving, taste to adjust seasoning. Stir in dill. Serve.

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro

Carrot Cilantro Soup

Carrots share a love affair with coriander in this rich yet light soup. Carrots are cooked with onion and dried coriander, then blitzed with fresh cilantro leaves. The sweetness of the carrot is tempered by the spice of coriander and cayenne, while the strength of fresh cilantro is mellowed as it mingles with the sweet and savory flavors of the stock. All in all, a lovely match.

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3 minutes. Add carrots, ground coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until carrots are very soft, about 45 minutes. Carefully transfer soup to bowl of food processor or blender. Add cilantro sprigs. Purée until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in brown sugar, salt and pepper. Gently rewarm over medium heat. Serve soup warm garnished with fresh cilantro sprigs.