Tag Archives: lemon

Dreaming of Kale

My daughter had a dream. About kale. I’m not even kidding. She dreamed about a kale salad with a lemony dressing, dried cranberries and toasted nuts. She woke up craving kale and asked if we could have it for dinner. How often does that happen? Not often.

Another time she had a dream where she was a piece of celery and she was so sad because no one wanted to eat her. I couldn’t do much about that one. But this…this I can do. What can I say? I make dreams reality. I can also say this is probably the best kale salad I’ve ever made. The lemony vinaigrette is positively drool-worthy.

The other thing she’s been requesting lately is steak. I love steak but I really don’t make it much. It paired nicely with the bright salad and the wonderful, wonderful, warm crunchy/squishy croutons. Mmmm.

Want to go vegetarian? Just skip the steak.

 

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Seared Steak

For Steak:
1 pound flank steak
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Salt & pepper

For Salad:
2 bunches lacinato kale (dinosaur kale) – remove ribs and slice into thin ribbons, you want about 8-10 cups or so.
Zest and juice from 1 big lemon or 1 1/2 small lemons
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 oz. feta, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
Salt & pepper

For Polenta Croutons:
1 tube of prepared polenta, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt

In a shallow bowl or ziplock bag, place steak and rub both sides with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Let sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the salad and croutons.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Let it heat up for a minute and then add the polenta cubes. Let them cook, turning the cubes every couple of minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To make the salad, in a large bowl whisk together lemon juice and zest, rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon, shallot and a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Add kale, cranberries, feta and almonds. Gently toss until all of the kale is lightly coated (I find this easiest to do with my hands).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add steak. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice against the grain.

Serve a mound of salad topped with sliced steak and polenta croutons.

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CSA Week 5: A Kale Salad I Actually Like

Kale is not my favorite. Unfortunately, it has shown up every week so far in my CSA box. But the good news is we’ve been talking a lot lately, and we’re starting to build a rapport. I’ve found I really like it sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil and scrambled eggs for breakfast. It’s not bad sliced into ribbons and mixed with salads or pasta or thrown into a veggie medley. I have hidden it here and there in various fritters and patties and smoothies. It’s a good one to hide since other people in the household are even less enamored with it than I am.

But this salad. Kale is the star and lo, and behold! I actually really liked it. No, really! Bright, chewy, salty and sour and creamy. Good stuff. I’m not even kidding. I topped mine with a little parmesan, but if you leave that off this salad is not only tasty, it’s dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free. The creamy texture all comes from the lovely marriage of avocado with lemon and olive oil, scrunched through the crunchy kale with your hands to coat every little ribbon.

I paired this with a couple of pan-fried slices of polenta, left over from the previous night’s herbed polenta. A little fresh tomato rounded out the plate nicely.

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

4 cups of kale, sliced into ribbons
A drizzle of olive oil, about a tablespoon
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

Put kale in a large bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, add the avocado, lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste. Using your hands, scrunch everything together until all leaves are evenly coated. Top with cheese if desired.

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CSA Week 4: Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

I’m still working my way through my week four basket, although I picked up week five this morning. I’m in the weeds…literally. For dinner last night I whipped up this quick and bright bean salad. Perfect for a summer evening. I’ve had so much lettuce and kale on hand lately that I was really craving a salad that had no greens.

If you don’t have fava beans, substitute another bean of your choice or just use all green beans. This one is even better after it sits a while.

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

2 cups fresh green beans
1 cup shelled fava beans
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. chives
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. dijon
Parmesan or feta (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Shell fava beans and add them to the water. Cook 2-3 minutes. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and rinse in cold water to cool. Pinch off outer skins and set the beans aside.

Add green beans to water and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest, olive oil, dijon, herbs and seasonings. Add beans and toss. If desired, top with parmesan or feta.

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Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

Lentils are misunderstood.  They get such a bad rap for being boring, or mushy, or tasteless.  But I love them .  The wonderful thing about lentils is they are so versatile.  Beautiful in soup, but light and small enough to work well in salads as well.  I think part of the problem is that people tend to overcook them.  When boiled to mush, lentils can be underwhelming.  But I cook them just long enough to soften (usually about 25 minutes), leaving them tender but firm.  They have a nice delicate flavor that is enhanced by pretty much anything you combine with it, and they work well with a variety of spices and flavors.  Add to that the health benefits of this high-fiber, high-protein, gluten-free, low cal, zero fat food and in my mind, you’ve got a winner.

You can use any kind of lentils for this salad (I went with the typical greenish brown French lentils).  If you are in a hurry and you are lucky enough to live by a Trader Joe’s, they even sell steamed lentils in their refrigerated section that are delicious and ready to toss into whatever soup, salad or other creation you have in mind.  It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

Rustic spinach lentil salad

Rustic spinach lentil salad

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

1 cup lentils
4 cups water
Olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms (I used half baby bellas and half button mushrooms), cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt & pepper
2 cups baby spinach

Bring the water to a boil, add lentils.  Turn down to medium low and cook 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.  Drain and transfer to a salad bowl. Set aside to cool a bit.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.  Add half the mushrooms (don’t crowd the pan).  Allow to cook a couple of minutes without stirring to get some good color on them.  Stir and cook another couple of minutes.  Remove from pan and repeat with the other half of the mushrooms.  Add first batch of mushrooms back in, add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook an additional minute.  Add to lentils.  Add lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt & pepper, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Stir to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  Add spinach, toss and serve.

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

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Zingy Purple Potato Salad

One of the things I love best about farmer’s markets are finding things you don’t ever see in the grocery store.  This week I found bright purple potatoes!

Aren't they pretty?  I'm told they are called Purple Vikings

Aren’t they pretty? I’m told they are called Purple Vikings.

Now, I thought these were just too pretty to waste on something normal.  Some time ago I came across an idea for a lighter potato salad that used greek yogurt and lemon so I decided to incorporate those flavors with my lovely potatoes.  Roasting the potatoes added another dimension with a firmer texture and deeper flavor.  You can make this more or less lemony depending on how much zing you want.  As much as we love traditional potato salad, this fresh and summery take on an old favorite was a real winner at my house!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad.  Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad. Perfect for summer!

Zingy Purple Potato Salad
(adapted from bevcooks.com)

2 pounds purple potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil for roasting
Salt & pepper
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. greek yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. fresh mint, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Toss potatoes with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring halfway through.

Zingy Dressing

Normally I would just eat them like this.

In a large bowl whisk together 2 tbsp. olive oil, greek yogurt, lemon juice, zest, and dill.

Zingy dressing!

Zingy dressing!

Add potatoes and celery to bowl.  Toss to combine with dressing.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Sprinkle fresh mint over the top.

Mmmmm!  You need some of this.

Mmmmm! You need some of this.

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Project Veggie: Day 22 – Steelhead with Hazelnut Pesto and Lemon Potatoes

I love hazelnuts.  When I lived in the midwest I could never find them, and it was always a treat to come home to Oregon, where they are available everywhere.  Turns out in the U.S. they are only grown in Washington and Oregon, so that explains that mystery.

Pesto is one of my favorite condiments.  Basil is one of the only things I can grow well, so in the summer I grow a lot of it and fill my freezer with pesto for the winter.  Sadly, last summer was a little (a lot!) rainy here and my basil crop was too wimpy to get me through to summertime.  So I bought some yesterday so I could make pesto.  Which just gave me the opportunity to change it up a bit and see how it tasted with roasted hazelnuts.  Mmmmm.

I was in the mood for salmon.  We hadn’t had fish all week and it sounded good.  At the fish counter the salmon looked a little sad, but next to it…lovely fresh steelhead was calling out to me, and it was on sale too!  Steelhead always reminds me of salmon.  It looks a lot alike, cooks up the same way, and tastes sort of similar too, but steelhead is actually a kind of trout.  In any case, I’ve made this recipe with both fish and it’s terrific either way.

My name is April, and I’m a potatoholic. I know I’ve said this before but this is one of the best potato recipes EVER!  I always make a big batch of lemon potatoes because they are so good left over the next day, either by themselves, or scrambled with eggs, or mixed with a little mayo for a potato salad.  And they go perfectly with fish.  Or anything else for that matter.

Broiled Steelhead with Hazelnut Pesto

Broiled Steelhead with Hazelnut Pesto

1 pound steelhead (or salmon) fillet
1/2 cup basil pesto (see below for hazelnut pesto recipe or you can use store bought pesto)
salt & pepper
lemon slices
olive oil

Heat broiler on oven.  Mash pesto on top of the fish, spreading over the entire top surface of the filet.  Sprinkle with sea salt & fresh ground pepper.  Top with lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil.   Put under the broiler for 10-12 minutes, until fish easily pulls apart with a fork in the middle.

Hazelnut Pesto

Hazelnut Pesto

1 big bunch fresh basil (I used about 2 cups)
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup fresh parmesan
salt & pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whirl everything up in a food processor except olive oil.  Scrape down the sides.  Drizzle olive oil in with the motor running until it’s the consistency you prefer.

Lemon Potatoes - Yum!!!

Lemon Potatoes
(adapted from Moosewood Restaurant, Simple Suppers)

1-2 pounds red or yukon gold potatoes, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Salt & pepper
1-2 tbsp. capers
1/4 cup chopped black olives (optional)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add the potatoes.  Cook 10-15 minutes until fork tender.  Meanwhile, zest and juice lemon into a large bowl.  Add capers and olives if using.  Drain potatoes and add to bowl.  Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

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