Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

October 14, 2021

I first saw this salad on How Sweet Eats and it is just so pretty I had to try it. And it was so good I had to blog it! It is the perfect fall celebration and since we just went apple picking last weekend we have lots of apples to make more. Its the smokey pepita clusters that do it for me. If you are having any trouble finding the pepitas try the bulk section of your local grocery store.

The smokey-sweet-salty combo is so good I’m thinking of trying it on everything. And the pecans are good enough to make for the holidays.

And I love getting my kale already washed and sliced. It made this salad come together so quickly.

The earthy kale, sweet apple, cinnamon vinaigrette all come together with a delightful crunch from the toppings. It feels amazingly healthy and a symphony of fall flavor at the same time.

This fall has been totally glorious, and after the fresh, easy cooking of summer I am craving having time to cook cozy cold weather meals. But it has been so warm this salad works perfectly. This is definitely happening again soon at my house, and I might even mix it up with some goat cheese or sliced chicken breast on top. I hope you get to try this one because it is going into our annual fall recipe pile.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

SALAD

    • 4 to 6 cups chopped tuscan kale
    • 2 honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
    • 3 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the coconut oil and honey together until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the pepitas in a large bowl with the honey mixture, salt and smoked paprika. Place them on the baking sheet and smooth them out with a spatula – you still want them clustered so you can break them apart after baking!
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and toss slightly. Let cool completely before breaking apart.

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • Heat the pecans in a nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasty. Stir in the honey, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Let the honey bubble and stir for a few minutes, then transfer the pecans to parchment paper and let them cool completely.

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallot, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge for a few days!

SALAD

  • Massage the kale with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to season the kale at this point with salt and pepper too. Slice the apples and combine the apples, cheese, pecans and pepita clusters with the kale and toss well. Serve with the vinaigrette!

Recipe reposted from How Sweet Eats 

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

October 6, 2021

 

Recently someone asked me what my food philosophy is, or my POV. And I thought about it and realized it is somewhere between that romantic rustic country kitchen – one with a fire going, with some dogs and a bowl of rising bread nearby – and ‘I have 20 minutes in between getting home from the grocery store and leaving for football practice to make dinner’. What do we call that POV? Old world meets new world? Classic meets modern? Anyone else feel that way?

Either way, this dinner perfectly fits this food philosophy. The feel of a slow cooked french onion soup with the stick to your ribs in a healthy way chicken meatballs? Yes please. I actually wanted to make this recipe because it combined my husbands two favorite things and let me tell you, he was thrilled with the leftovers.

But the best is that it is a pretty quick recipe since it has you bake the meatballs while the the onions are cooking, cutting your cook time in half. Multitasking is the middle name of whatever we’re calling my food perspective. Can I get an amen?

Our crew was split down the middle for a carb vehicle for these meatballs – team egg noodle vs. team mashed potatoes. I was part of the later and loved how the gravy soaked into the potatoes, but both teams pretty much won since everyone loved this dish. This would also be AH-mazing in between some crusty bread for a twist on a meatball sub.

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If you haven’t already memorized your favorite meatball recipe, may I suggest that it is a huge help when you are rushing and you just need to get food on the table? We put meatballs into our favorite simmer tomato sauce, into soups, and into the oven to bake so frequently that it helps to memorize certain ratios – for every 1 pound of the meat of your choice, it is 1 tsp. salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4-1/2 cup cheese, 2 cloves of garlic (use that garlic press and it is so easy) and a handful of chopped parsley. This is also pretty close to how I make mini-meatloaves too. So whether you are making chicken, turkey, beef or other meatballs, it is always the same format, and once you have it down it goes really fast. Also, stale bread in the Ninja blender makes the best breadcrumbs.

This is the perfect busy night, crowd pleasing dish. We’re so excited to add this to our dinner rotation, hope you get to try it soon!

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MEATBALLS

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, for baking sheet

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

1/4 c. bread crumbs

2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

1 large egg, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

FOR THE SAUCE

4 tbsp. butter

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. low-sodium beef broth

2 tsp. freshly chopped thyme, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and rub with oil.
  2. Make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Gruyère, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 16 meatballs, then place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until very soft and golden, 25 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add broth and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs to skillet and sprinkle with Gruyère. Cover and cook until meatballs are warmed through and cheese is melty, 5 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with thyme.

Recipe from delish.com

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

September 28, 2021

Happy Fall, friends! It is peak apple season here in New Hampshire and like the rest of New England we can’t get enough.  I keep buying huge bags from my favorite local farmer (where I get my eggs, vegetables and flowers all summer) and I have to go back and get more because we’ve eaten them all.

I have some healthy recipes for you coming, but I thought I would just start with this Apple Cake that originated in the NY Times Cooking section and found its way to Alexandra Cooks, and then into my kitchen with our twins. They love to cook! We make a lot of muffins and cookies, but they got very excited when I asked if they wanted to make Apple Cake. We have no idea who Teddie is though.

I really wanted to try it because it sounded similar to the blueberry cake I posted about last summer that was a recipe my mother in law makes often for family get togethers. I have really grown to love how a fruit cake is just as good with coffee in the morning as it is with ice cream for desert. And that is just what Alexander said she loved about this cake too.

Turns out it is fall in a slice of cake.

So moist, sweet, and filled with the warm spices of cinnamon. And I added a twist from what what we love about the blueberry cake which is to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. It makes it slightly crunchy with a sugary cinnamon crust. I highly recommend.

As I was making this I thought of a ton of variations – it would be so easy to triple this recipe and put it on a big sheet pan to feed a crowd. It would also be great with a drizzle of a maple frosting, but it is so simple and moist on its own and really lets the apples shine.

This recipe made me want to invite neighbors over and sit down and chat and drink coffee. It is the perfect thing to make for a neighbor or a get together (still so glad we have those now! I don’t take them for granted!).  Or just make it for your crew for dessert.

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups(384 g) flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cupsvegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar (+2 Tablespoons for topping)
  • 3eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (+ 1/2 teaspoon for topping)
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples, I used Cortland & they were great*
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I omit)
  • 1 cup raisins (I omit)
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

*Alexandra used a mix of Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, York and Cameo with success — use whatever you have on hand or whatever variety you prefer to bake with.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins (if using) and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.  Mix together the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons sugar and sprinkle it over the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Recipe from NY Times via Alexandra Cooks.

Smokey Croque Monsieur

September 15, 2021

Last week I took out the last of our cheese bread from Riley’s Market that I bought on our last trip to Pemaquid. This bread is legendary. It is the perfect combination of fluffy white bread that is almost like challah or brioche, and it gets craggy (is that a word?) when you cut into it, and when the little craggy bits sticking out get toasted they yield the perfect crunchy bite with the softness of the doughy bread. On top of that, there is sharp cheddar cheese swirled throughout the bread. The little spots melt a bit when they are toasted, and well you all know how good melted cheese is. I might just have to work on a recipe for this bread. In the mean time, I thought about what I could do with this beauty.

One of my favorite things to do with challah is to make french toast (especially with egg nog at the holidays – my husbands favorite breakfast!) so I thought about making a savory french toast which led to croque monsieurs.

I wanted to put a twist on it, and when I saw smoked gruyere at the store, I knew it would match so well with smokey ham.

Guess what?

It really did. These were delicious – I know all croque monsieurs are, with their wonderful mix of textures and creaminess and toasted bread and you can’t go wrong with the original. But these had their own character and made me think this would also be delicious with smoked gouda or any smoked cheese, and those might even be easier to find, so don’t hesitate if you go that route.

These sandwiches are very easy to make, with a basic béchamel sauce the only ‘cooking’ necessary. It comes together so easily, and the melted cheese in it just adds to the smokey creaminess.

It is just basic assembly after that, and it is one of those dishes that is very simple but the combination makes something magical. The hit from the Dijon mustard is also the best kick and makes these mouthwatering.

Don’t worry if you can’t find cheese bread – these ingredients will be delicious with any white bread. And there will be plenty of cheese either way.

This hot and gooey sandwich came out of the oven and my family was hovering around it, waiting to dive in. It is easy enough for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special meal too. They are great for parties with tiny bread or cut into fourths.

I hope you try these and love them! Or put your own spin on it – use smoked turkey, or add your favorite veg like spinach or kimchi so that it feels like a reuben. Or just stick with the classic which is classic for a reason.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

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Smokey Croque Monsieur

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch nutmeg

12 ounces Smoked Gruyere or Smoked Gouda, grated (5 cups)

(Note: the original calls for ½ cup parmesan but I omitted to keep it smoked)

16 slices white sandwich bread

Dijon mustard

8 ounces baked or black forest ham, sliced but not paper thin

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter/flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated smoked Gruyere. (Note: if making the original add the ½ cup parmesan).
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

 

 

Gazpacho with Crab + Avocado

August 28, 2021

imageIs there anything more refreshing on a hot day then Gazpacho? It is one of my all time favorite summer dishes. It is like drinking your salad – so filling and delicious, and I love it with the tang of vinegar and kick from jalapeño. I was reading about this easy version this morning from Cup of Jo and I know I’ll be making it soon, but I love this recipe.

When we visited Paris a few years ago, it was a 100 degrees, and we ate lunch at a bistro where I saw it on a chalk board menu served with vegetable tartar on top. It was so refreshing – ice cold, and the tartar made of just cucumbers, onions and zucchini was so different (and so precisely chopped! The woman who waited on us came up and asked how I liked it and I am guessing she made it herself).

Her dish made me think about adding something on top, and I wanted to add a protein to make it a meal. I adore the combination of crab and avocado, and I was craving them tossed in lemon. So I made a mixture tossed in a quick vinaigrette out of lemon, olive oil, and mustard. The result was…amazing! Perfect for lunch or as an appetizer. (You could even put them in little glasses for a party).

To make the gazpacho: imageChop all the veggies and put them in a food processor. Then tear up the bread and add it along with all the liquids (water, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil). That is it!

imageimagePulse it to the desired consistency (fine, but not liquified). So easy. And it makes a huge batch, great for a party or for luxurious lunches the whole week.

For the crab and avocado (which would be good on anything, right?):

imageimageCube two avocados, and squeeze half of a lemon over it. Then add half of the 1 lb. can of lump crab – I really love Heron Point’s brand, and you can freeze the other half, though we ate ours as an appetizer with easy remoulade the next night. But you could also use shrimp as well, chopped if they are large. In a bowl, mix together 3 T. olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon, and the other half of a lemon, a dash of tabasco sauce along with salt and pepper. Then pour that over the lump crab-avacado mixture, and stir. Add 2-3 T. scallions.

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To serve, pour chilled gazpacho into bowl. Spoon crab mixture on top and enjoy.

imageThis is just the most luxurious dish, the crab goes so well with the tomatoes and spicy jalapeño.  Simple flavors, simple ingredients. So stock up at your next farmer’s market or with your garden bounty and whip this up – I promise you will thank me!

Gazpacho with Crab and Avocado (printer version here)

For Gazpacho:

4-5 very ripe beefsteak tomatoes

2 large English cucumbers, halved and seeded

2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed

1 small (or ½ of one large) red onion

2 slices day old white bread

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 cup ice plus ½ cup water

4 T. red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle

 

Directions:

Core and seed tomatoes. Peel and seed cucumbers. Stem and seed the peppers. Tear two slices of bread into pieces. Combine vegetables, bread and liquids in food processor and process until almost smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Pour soup into pitcher, cover and refrigerate until very cold. (You can serve with croutons if making without the crab mixture.)

 

For the Crab and Avocado Topping:

2 ripe avocados

½ lb. lump crab

1 lemon

3 T. olive oil

dash of tabasco

salt and pepper

2 T. scallions, sliced

Directions:

Cube avocados and spoon out. Sprinkle with half the lemon juice. Add crabmeat and toss lightly so ingredients stay chunky. Make vinaigrette out of next 5 ingredients, and gently toss to combine. Add one large spoonful on top of each bowl of soup.

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Salad with Radishes and Arugula

August 12, 2021

imageI know I already wrote about my summer salad love in my last post. But it is still going strong. We’ve been growing fresh romaine and red leaf lettuce in our back yard, and I’ve been making big batches of this homemade Panara Greek Dressing.

But this salad is AH-mazing. Get ready for a flavor blast of lemon, garlic, and feta along with a texture explosion of crunchy radishes and nuts, creamy avocado, and meaty shrimp. You can make this for a party, or you can make it for yourself and halve the recipe. Either way, you’re going to wanna make it. Because it’s change-your-life good.

I think I was laying by a pool while my kids swam when I dreamed it up. Most likely it was the lingering effects of Tamara Adler and her urge that a salad have something crunchy, creamy, acidic, and oily. Plus I totally crave shrimp in the summer for some reason – it cooks so fast so the kitchen doesn’t get hot and the lighter protein is my jam.  If your people don’t love shrimp you can totally substitute two cubed chicken breasts. 

I was having lunch with my mom and sister the next day, and had a bottle of my favorite Sancerre and wanted to bring something to go with it.

The garlick-y lemony dressing, and the crunch, not to mention how pretty it is, made us so happy.

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I used some of the flavors from the dressing to marinate the shrimp. (A garlic spicy kick on shrimp makes me swoon). I made a marinade from the juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. I put the raw shrimp in a zip lock bag with this and let it sit for a half hour. (You can do longer).

I started the dressing right after since it is very similar, and the longer the garlic hangs out with the lemon the more flavorful it will be so you want to give it some time to mingle. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced shallot, 1 small grated (or minced) garlic clove. Let it hang. Go listen to some music. 

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When you are ready to start the salad, put some sliced almonds (or whole almonds or another favorite nut) in a pan and toast them. For some reason, I feel compelled to toast nuts in my cast iron skillet. It heats them so evenly.

Here is where you can choose your own adventure: I kept feeling like couscous would be a great texture to this salad. But when I assembled it, it looked too pretty to add it! So I served it in a bowl with a bed of couscous underneath and it was amazing. So experiment! Maybe put it under the arugula in a big bowl if you were taking it to a party. Or leave it out. The couscous does such a great job of soaking up the yummy dressing so it is a thumbs up, but the salad is great on its own too.

While everything is marinating and toasting and couscous is (optionally) fluffing up, start slicing your radishes. I can’t get enough radishes these days, so in they went. And I wanted a creamy element, so in went avocados too.
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This dish comes together fast, because although there are a lot of steps you can do them at the same time. The only thing that this salad requires one you get past cooking the shrimp is assembly. Yay for some easiness.

Whether you are headed to a big Labor Day bash, or some relaxed get togethers with friends and family, delight everyone and make this. (But even if you eat it at home with Netflix, it’s still pretty great.)

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You will thank me when you make this! I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Salad with Radishes and Arugula (Printer Version Here):

For the Marinaded Shrimp:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled

For the Salad:

2 cups arugula, thinly sliced

1 avocado, sliced lengthwise

1 cup radishes, sliced

½ cup toasted almonds

½ cup crumbled feta (I used low fat)

For the Dressing:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

2 teaspoons chopped parsely

½ teaspoon salt, pinch of black ground pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

If shrimp is frozen, soak in warm water until it is thawed (about 5-10 minutes.) Peel and removed tails. Mix marinade ingredients together, then pour over peeled raw shrimp in a ziplock bag. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes-4 hours.

Start the dressing by mixing all the ingredients except the olive oil. Let sit to allow flavors to blend.

If serving with couscous, prepare according to package directions.

Toast almonds by pouring into skillet or pan, shaking to evenly distribute in one even layer in pan so they toast evenly. Checking for doneness every few minutes (set a timer if needed) shaking pan to toss and redistribute nuts. Repeat as necessary until toasted. (Note: you can tell when they are done by noticing when there is a toasted nut smell, but the timer is more reliable, which is helpful since they burn easily). Remove from heat when done and let rest until use.

When shrimp is done marinating, heat large pan on medium-high heat. Pour shrimp in pan, give one small sprinkle of salt and pepper, turning after cooking 1-2 minutes or when pink. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, then transfer to a plate to cool.

Meanwhile, place arugula in large bowl. Slice radishes and scatter around the top. Slice avocado, squeezing with lemon juice to prevent browning, then lay on top of salad. Scatter evenly the feta, nuts, and shrimp around top.

When read to eat, pour dressing evenly over top. Serve immediately.