Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kale Salad with Glazed Onions and Cheddar

I’ve been holding onto this Kale Salad with Glazed Onions and Cheddar recipe for a while. But the length of time doesn’t compare with how long we’ve been friends with the lovely people we shared it with.

This past weekend, we were invited to go morel hunting at our friends’ property located a few hours from the Lou. Last year, a ton of morels were found in a certain patch of their many hundred acre woods. I happen to know a thing or two about common edible mushrooms so we were hoping this knowledge might be of benefit in finding these coveted ‘shrooms this year.

The weekend weather was warm and sunny, quite lovely for us humans but not ideal for morels- they prefer wet and coolish. It did not take long to realize the morel hunting aspect of our trip would be a bust, but that wasn’t going to stop us from having a magnificent time.

We dipped our toes in the spring-fed streams. 
We perused the property in golf-carts-on-steroids. 
We hung out around a huge bonfire when the sun went down. 

And we ate like royalty. This crew really knows how to turn out a feast! The spread included contributions from each of us: Jerk chicken, mango salsa, coconut rice and beans and fresh sliced pineapple. My contribution was this Kale Salad with Glazed Onions and Cheddar. The colors, flavors and textures all play so nicely together, just like all of our children do when together.

We came away from the weekend empty handed in the morel department but full hearted after spending precious time with priceless people.
until next time...

Kale Salad with Glazed Onions and Cheddar
Recipe inspired by Cooking Light's Big Book of Salads and adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine, Sept '12

  • 1 bunch kale (or bag), rough chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Cooking Directions
  1. Toss kale with lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. With clean hands, give the kale a good massage to tenderize the kale.
  2. In a skillet, combine onions, butter, water, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Cook on medium allowing onions to become tender and caramelized, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar, cook about 3-4 minutes more until onions are nice and coated and browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool (can be stored in refrigerator until next day).
  4. When ready to serve salad, add cooled onions, cherries, pine nuts and cheese.
  5. Prepare your mouth for a flavor explosion!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fig Butter, Goat Cheese and Arugula Flatbread

This Fig Butter, Goat Cheese and Arugula Flatbread recipe found its way onto my plate and into my mouth a bit randomly. A couple of days ago, it was lunchtime and I found myself standing in the kitchen, with refrigerator doors open wide, staring at random leftover items.  The words that echoed in my mind are those I so often hear my boys say: “There is nothing to eat”.

Rather than giving up, I used it as a perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and turn a few ordinary left-overs into something extraordinary. At times, when ingredients are seemingly spare, some of the best creations are borne.

So onto a piece of flatbread I spread a few knife-fuls of the fig butter left over after making these Fig and Spice Yogurt Muffins
I then added a couple of slices of goat cheese that remained after making Black Bean, Mango and Goat Cheese Salad
I topped it with a few sliced of a tart green apple, and piled on some arugula for a peppery punch. What transpired was a satisfyingly sweet, tangy and tart, left-over worth duplicating lunch!

 until next time...

Fig Butter, Goat Cheese and Arugula Flatbread
1 slice of naan or other type flatbread
2 Tbsp. fig butter (or other fruit butter)
2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chevre)- we used Heartland Creamery, Newark MO
1/3 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
¼ cup arugula
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Spread fig butter onto flatbread.
2. Top with goat cheese, apple slices and arugula.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrating Spring with Black Bean, Mango and Goat Cheese Salad

Spring has sprung, so it’s simply time for some salad! This Black Bean, Mango and Goat Cheese Salad could NOT be any simpler to make. The recipe inspiration comes from a Mango and Black Bean Salad in Cooking Light’s "Big Book of Salads" which has been hibernating in my house over the winter.

Black beans provide a rich source of plant protein and fiber, and the red pepper and jalepeno add color and crunch. The mango provides just the right amount of sweetness that’s balanced quite nicely with the white balsamic vinegar. If you do not have white balsamic on hand, no worries…white wine or rice vinegar will work well too. 

Using canned black beans will help hasten the assembly of this salad, just be sure to thoroughly rinse the canned beans to lessen the indigestible sugars that can sometimes cause “embarrassing moments”. To cut prep time, I used frozen cubes of mango from Trader Joe’s. Chopping the mango into bite sized-portions while frozen was much easier than when thawed.

I enjoyed this salad as a meatless main course, but the rest of the Cowie Clan had it as a substantial side.

Question: what are you making to celebrate Spring?  
until next time...

Black Bean, Mango and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (we used dried beans from Bellew's Creek Farm, Hillsboro, MO)
  • 1 mango, chopped 
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 fresh jalepeno, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar 
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh goat cheese (we used Heartland Creamery, Newark, MO)
Cooking Directions
  1. If using dried beans, rinse, allow to soak in cold water then simmer for about 2 hours until tender. Drain and rinse. If using canned beans, also drain and rinse well.
  2. Combine beans, mango, red pepper, jalepeno, parsley, olive oil, vinegar and pepper. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes for flavors to marry.
  3. Add goat cheese just before serving.
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