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Posts Tagged ‘pine nuts’

Has this ever happened to you: you hear about something for the first time and then you keep hearing about it again and again? It’s happened to me recently and it’s the absolute, lip smacking, deliciously tantalizing Kale Salad by renowned chef and restauranteur of Gusto 101, Daniel Mezzolo. My friend Kim (old boss, neighbour) mentioned this salad a while back and I’ve seen it come up more and more often which has made me want to taste said salad, however, that is much more difficult than one would think. You see, Gusto 101 takes reservations only until 6pm and then it’s a free for all. We’ve driven by many times around 7 or 8 and there is always quite the line-up outside, waiting for a table. Now, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just don’t like to line up. I figure if I am about to spend upwards of $80 for a meal, I shouldn’t have to wait in line to do so. But this is the reality if one needs to try this salad, and I really, really needed to try it.

I searched the net and found this helpful video on making this healthy salad, but alas there was no recipe for the dressing…so I looked further and found several versions all based on similar ingredients. My friend Celi from The kitchen’s garden just competed her September Home Grown challenge during which time she only allowed herself to eat what she grew on her little farmie! By the end of the challenge she mentioned that she was quite tired of eating the same old things. So when I finally hunkered down and made a decent effort to make the Kale Salad, I immediately thought of Celi. I know I’m a little late for the challenge, but it’s definitely a good recipe and I hope you have a chance to try it before the snow falls.

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It’s a melt in your mouth salad

What makes this salad unique is the finely cut curly kale and how the lemon juice in the dressing acts to ‘cook’ the kale as it sits (like a ceviche would cook the seafood!). It’s a wonderful balance of sour, sweet and salty. I added a couple of slices of crispy cooked Serrano ham, but that is easily omitted if you wish to make it vegetarian.

Cavolo Nero (Kale Salad)

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 tbsp raisins or dried cranberries or dried sour cherries
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts or toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 slices of Serrano ham, baked or fried until crisp and crumbled (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. About 20-30 minutes before serving, combine the lemon juice, honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and mix well in a large unreactive bowl (not metal).  Add the finely cut kale and toss to coat evenly. Set aside for a minimum of 20 minutes (I did 30 minutes) tossing a few times over the 30 minutes. (an update October 16: I made this salad at my brother’s cottage last weekend and I suspect the kale was older and tougher so 30 minutes wasn’t enough time to macerate, please keep this in mind when making the salad. Just as baby kale will take less time than the 30 minutes because it is not has tough).
  2. Muddle the fresh basil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, with a pinch of salt. Set aside. I’ve made this lovely salad without the basil oil without missing it.
  3. Just before serving, add the raisins, pine nuts, crispy serano ham and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese to the dressed kale and toss well. Divide the kale between two plates.
  4. Drizzle the basil olive oil on the plate and garnish with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese over each plate. Serve immediately.
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Perfectly balanced sweet, sour and salty

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A perfect salad for a hot summer’s day. Where did it go, anyway?

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The fall colours were just starting when I took these photos in late September.

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The cottage colours happen a bit earlier than the city colours.

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The sun also moves to the far left during the fall. We see more of the sunset during the summer months.

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We’ve all made pesto, right? Well, maybe not everyone, so here I will share my favourite recipe. You can use this mix as a dip, on toasts, as a base for pizza, a sandwich or even a dollop in the middle of a lovely creamed soup. It’s quite flavourful so you don’t need a lot of it. I usually just eyeball this recipe, but this time I got out the scale and measuring cups so I could have tangible measurements.

A delicious combo of flavours

A delicious combo of flavours

Traditional Pesto

Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 30 g fresh basil, leaves removed, washed and dried
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) toasted pine nuts
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 cloves of garlic (about 10 g) or to taste
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a food processor with metal blades combine the basil, pine nuts (make sure they are cool), Parmesan and garlic. Pulse adding a slow stream of EVOO to the consistency desired (I like my Pesto a little chunky and not too wet).
  2. Add salt to taste, but remember that the Parmesan is rather salty.
  3. Serve mixed into warm pasta with quartered grape tomatoes and shaved parmesan.
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Quartered Grape Tomatoes add a lovely acidity to the dish.

 

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You know I’m always trying to jazz up our fish and this was no exception. It was a Tuesday night and I was riding home ‘the better way‘ and trying to figure out what the heck to do with the fish we pulled out of the deep freeze and then it hit me — Grilled Tilapia with Basil Pesto. The pesto would also allow the opportunity to utilize the gorgeous basil growing like weeds on the back deck (I may have planted a few too many plants!).

Tilapia is a firm white fish that is great grilled as long as you don’t over cook it, then it falls apart! I added a bit of hot chili pepper flakes to the top for colour and a bit of punch. It depends if you like heat, like I do. Plus it’s a nice bite with the creamy pesto. I make a classic pesto, but I’m sure you’ve made yours a gazillion times so feel free to improvise, this is, after all for inspiration. Reserve the left over pesto for the dressing for the greens and you’ll notice that I’ve added a little something to make it more like dressing (make sure the spoon you use to spread the pesto on the fish is never put back into the reserved pesto).

This fish is green with pesto, not envy!

Grilled Tilapia with Basil Pesto

Serves 4,

Ingredients:

  • 400 g Tilapia
  • 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) packed fresh, washed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) EVOO
  • 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • arugula greens

Directions:

  1. Add basil leaves, Parmesan, pine nuts, salt and garlic to your food processor or immersion blender and blend until you achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Dry the tilapia and spoon 1-2 tbsp of the pesto per side per fish and spread evenly.
  3. Heat your grill to 177°C (350°F), spray with non-stick spray. Lay the thickest parts down first as they will take the longest to cook. Cook until the fish is firm to the touch. Repeat with the thinner bits.
  4. For the dressing, add the white balsamic to the left-over pesto and stir well.
  5. Serve over arugula greens and garnish with the dressing and red pepper flakes
  6. Enjoy!

I’ve also made different types of pesto here and here. My friends who are making pesto:

;

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As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my brother and his family came for brunch this past weekend and I wanted a slightly healthier salad to go with a slightly less healthy savoury bread pudding (you can see a similar recipe at Bits and Breadcrumbs, but my version had ham and cheddar cheese, you get where I’m going with this?). This spinach salad comes from an old recipe book that I bought for my MIL about 15 years ago. She had talked about Oprah and her chef and that they were coming out with a cookbook, In the Kitchen with Rosie; she loved Oprah, so I made a mental note and put it on her Christmas list. Well, I should have known because she went out and got it for herself, so then I was stuck with the book.

There are some darn good ‘low fat’ recipes in this little book and some great tricks as well. But the one recipe that keeps making an appearance in my kitchen is the warm orange dressing on a spinach salad (this one is for you, Lisa). Now you can add what-ever you wish to create your very own spinach salad, but this is what our’s had on Sunday: baby spinach, hard-boiled egg whites, grape tomatoes (I like the colour), a little crispy fried pancetta (I know, not healthy but there was not very much of it), thinly sliced mushrooms, orange sections and toasted pine nuts. When you toss this lovely salad with the warm dressing a symphony of flavours start playing in your mouth. So delicious.

A slightly healthier alternative to Spinach Salad

Warm Orange Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Navel orange
  • 1⁄3 c Shallot, minced finely
  • 2 Cl Garlic, peeled and minced finely
  • 5 T White Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t Sherry vinegar
  • 1/24 cup of orange juice with pulp
Directions:
  1. Peel the orange and remove the white pith, and separate the segments (do this over a bowl in order to reserve the juice). Squeeze the residual juice from the membranes into the bowl and reserve; add the additional OJ to this mix.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the shallots, garlic, vinegars, and reserved orange juice, and bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Just before you wish to serve, combine all the salad ingredients, add the warm dressing and toss to coat.

I know it's just salad, but doesn't it look yummy?

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I’ve got Christmas music playing in my head; you know that ever so irritating, stupid song about the shoes (there I said it!)…make it stop! Sorry if I offended you, I just really hate that song.
We’ve just finished a marathon Christmas project that spanned over the last two weeks and someone thought it would be a good idea to listen to Christmas music while we worked! Who’s idea was it anyway?
The project just winding down and I feel like I can breathe again since we’ve returned from Morocco. I love being busy and these little spurts of business keeps things exciting.

It snowed heavily yesterday for about an hour; fortunately it was too warm outside to stick! One of the photographers I follow on Twitter (Edward Pond) tweeted: “Nice try snow. Don’t let the door bump your ass on the way out.” I like it to snow on December 23, a light dusting of new snow on the evening of the 24rth (my family celebrates Christmas Eve and JT’s family does Christmas Day) and a little fresh snow on the 25th. It should all melt on Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Roasted Beets, Arugula, Goats Cheese and Pine Nuts

And to the recipe. We were finally able to find golden beets, we have such a hard time finding them in Toronto. So we took advantage of the gorgeous golden and red beets, we roasted and made a salad of them. It’s so simple, yet so delicious too! You really don’t need a recipe: oven roasted beets, toasted pine nuts, crispy prosciutto (vegetarians, pls omit the prosciutto), goats cheese on a bed of arugula. We dressed it with a little balsamic reduction and olive oil (truth be known, it was left overs from the shrimp birouat dip we made on the weekend). Such bright colours made me happy on such a dreary wintery day.

Have a great weekend.

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