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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

RECIPE: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

sweet-potato-chips-reclaimingprovincial-via-vtcreamery-230

This roasted potato dish is similar to a
Provençal tian. Even if you’re serving a
traditional sweet potato dish, make these,
too! Photo courtesy Reclaiming Provincial |
Vermont Creamery.

 

During the holiday season, one of America’s great producers of artisan butters, Vermont Creamery, creates a variation of their award winning Cultured Butter: Cultured Butter with Maple & Sea Salt.

The contrast of salty crunch with the sweetness of maple is delicious on pancakes and waffles, stirred into hot oatmeal, baked into cookies, melted over roasted squash or other veggies, potatoes and rice, or simply spread over a warm piece of crusty bread or toast. The combination of sweet and savory is a hit.

WHAT IS CULTURED BUTTER?

In France and other parts of Europe, butter is cultured by adding live bacteria to the cream before churning. The fat content of the butter has to be a minimum of 82% (in the U.S. it can be as low as 80%). The culturing process enhances the sweetness of the butter and brings out a subtle tanginess.

In the U.S, most butter isn’t cultured; the cream goes straight to the butter churn without added bacteria. This is known as sweet cream butter.

 

Vermont Creamery’s cultured butter has an 86% butterfat content—the highest fat content you can obtain when making butter. Higher fat content means less moisture, and it provides a higher smoke point when pan searing, a more tender crumb or crust for baking and a much more flavorful table butter.

RECIPE: CRISPY SWEET POTATO ROAST WITH HERBED COCONUT CRÈME FRAÎCHE

This recipe comes to us Carey Nershi of the blog Reclaiming Provincial via Vermont Creamery. The combination of coconut milk, crème fraîche and sriracha add an unexpected twist. Find more exciting recipes at ReclaimingProvincial.com.

For a related dish, check out the French Provençal dish, tian.

This looks so great in the pan that we made ours in a casserole dish that could go straight from oven to table.

Note that you can substitute quality unsalted butter (like Cabot’s) for the Vermont Creamery cultured butter. Add 1/8 teaspoon of maple sugar (or to taste) and a pinch of sea salt as a substitute.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (approximately 2.5 inches in
    diameter)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea
    Salt & Maple
  • A few pinches of coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Heaping 1/2 cup crème fraîche (purchased or homemade)
  • 4 teaspoons sriracha* or other hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  •  

    cultured-butter-maple-2-230sq

    So delicious, and well worth the splurge. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Melt the butters over low heat on the stove top, then mix together with olive oil and set aside.

    2. PEEL the sweet potatoes, then slice crosswise as thinly and evenly as possible (between 1/8” and 1/16” is ideal). A mandoline will make the task far easier.

    3. BRUSH a healthy coating of the butter and oil mixture over the inside of an 8” or 9” baking dish or skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Arrange the potatoes in the dish, brush with the remaining butter and oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt.

    4. ROAST the potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the middle of the potatoes are tender and the tops begin to brown and crisp. (The exact time will depend on your oven and on how thinly you’ve sliced the potatoes. Test them with a fork to make sure they’re tender in the middle.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. While the potatoes are resting…

    5. WHISK together the coconut milk, crème fraîche, and sriracha in a saucepan over medium heat, until just warmed.

    6. POUR half of the sauce over top of the potatoes and sprinkle with half of the minced cilantro. Combine the remaining sauce and cilantro and serve alongside the potatoes, for guests to use as desired.
     
    *Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It is made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer. Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce. The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

    butternut-squash-mashed-potatoes-potatogoodness-230r-rev

    Combine butternut squash with mashed
    potatoes. Photo © United States Potato
    Board.

     

    What do you get when you combine Roughly mash potatoes with mellow butternut squash and finish with fresh sage leaves crisped in brown butter? A hit!

    This combination will be a crowd pleaser at the Thanksgiving table, as well as for family dinners throughout the fall and winter.

    RECIPE: SMASHED POTATOES & BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BROWN BUTTER & SAGE

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound (3 medium) yellow-flesh potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves (2 to 3 inches long), stacked and cut across into ¼-inch strips
  • ½ cup or so milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COOK potatoes and squash: In 3-quart saucepan, cover the vegetable chunks with water; add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. COMBINE 2 tablespoons of the butter and all the sage in small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until the butter foams and begins to brown. Keep warm.

    3. DRAIN the cooked potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake 1 to 2 minutes over low heat. Roughly mash with a hand masher, leaving the mixture chunky. Over low heat, gently mix in the remaining tablespoon of butter and enough milk for consistency desired.

    4. SEASON with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with the brown butter and sage.

     

    butternut-duo-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy The Good Eggs.

     

    MASHED POTATOES VS. SMASHED POTATOES

    What’s the difference? Unlike mashed potatoes, which ideally are almost as smooth as a purée, smashed potatoes are a rough mash. More rustic (chunky) in appearance, they taste the same and require less labor to mash. A win!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Potato Nachos

    Today is National Nachos Day. Here’s a twist on nachos from the United States Potato Board, which uses potatoes instead of tortilla chips.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: BAKED POTATO NACHOS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican seasoning blend (recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Toppings

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Mexican-flavored cheese (jalapeño, habanero) or pepper jack
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons canned diced green chiles
  •  

    SHORTEN-01

    Nachos with a twist: baked potatoes replace tortilla chips. Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.

     
    Garnishes

  • Chopped avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Guacamole
  • Enchilada sauce for drizzling
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F.

    2. WASH the potatoes, peel and slice into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss and coat with olive oil, garlic salt and Mexican seasoning.

    3. PLACE potato wedges in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, stirring several times, until crisp and golden brown.

    4. REMOVE sheet from oven. Top potatoes with cheese, beans, tomatoes, olives, onions and chiles. Bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese melts.

    5. SERVE with optional guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.
     
    MEXICAN SEASONING BLEND

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bread Salad With Butternut Squash

    butternut-squash-bread-salad-goboldwithbutter-230r

    Bread salad with butternut squash. Photo
    courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com.

     

    Bread salad is often thought of as a summer dish, marrying lush tomatoes in season with day-old bread, vinaigrette and other seasonings.

    But you can turn it into a fall favorite by substituting the tomatoes, now out of season, with butternut squash (or other winter squash), as blogger Karen, from the blog FamilyStyle Food, did in this recipe for GoBoldWithButter.com.

    RECIPE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 4 pounds squash)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and leaves torn into strips
  • 5 cups ciabatta or other Italian bread (from a 1 pound loaf), crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Flavored Butter or plain butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio
  • Parmesan cheese for shaving
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the squash with the onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add ¼ cup water. Roast until squash is tender and golden in color, 25 to 30 minutes.

    3. POUR the vinegar over the roasted squash and gently toss. Sprinkle the kale leaves over the hot squash and toss again to slightly wilt.

    4. PLACE the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with butter. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted.

    5. SCRAPE the squash mixture into a large serving bowl. Add the bread and radicchio and toss. Serve with curls of Parmesan.

    Find more delicious recipes at GoBoldWithButter.com.

     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF SQUASH HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out our delicious Squash Glossary.

     

    WHAT IS BREAD SALAD

    Bread salad, like French toast and croutons, is one of those recipes invented by necessity: Poor people needed to get another meal from leftover bread that had gone stale.

    Panzanella is a Tuscan-style bread salad made with a loaf of day-old (or older) Italian bread, cubed into large croutons and soaked in vinaigrette to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are added. The translation we have found for “panzanella” is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the water or vinaigrette in which it was soaked.

    While today’s recipes are rich in ingredients, the original preparers foraged to pull together vegetables from the garden—cucumber, onion and tomato—and possibly purslane, a salad green that grows wild. Early recipes were heavy on the onions, the cheapest ingredient to pair with the bread. When there wasn’t enough oil to spare, the bread was moistened in water.

    Today, this peasant dish is a popular first course in Italy. It doesn’t appear often on menus of U.S.-based Italian restaurants. That’s too bad, because it’s a dish worth having often.

     

    butternut-squash-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    As long as you have vinaigrette-soaked bread, you can create the salad with almost anything from the pantry or fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftovers—including beans, cheese, fish, meat and rice—and aging produce.
     
    MORE BREAD SALAD RECIPES

    • Bread Salad With Fruit Recipe
    • Greek Bread Salad Recipe
    • Grilled Chicken Bread Salad Recipe
    • Layered Mexican Corn Bread Salad Recipe
    • Mixed Vegetables Bread Salad Recipe

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Serrated Peeler

    Every kitchen has a standard vegetable peeler to slice the skin from carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and other veggies.

    But there’s also a serrated peeler, which works better on softer produce like mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums and that toughest of peeling challenges, tomatoes.

    Most home cooks who have both use the word “love,” as in, “I love the serrated peeler!”

    Of course, you can use a serrated peeler where you’d use a conventional peeler, on anything from asparagus to zucchini. But we use both, so we don’t dull the serrated blade on potatoes when we want to keep it sharp for those pesky tomatoes.

    The standard technique to peel thin-skinned produce is to blanch the item in boiling water, then chill it in ice water, then remove the skin with a sharp knife or fingers. A serrated peeler is the better way.

     

    serrated-peeler-hands-crisp-230

    Peeling tomatoes, bell peppers and mangoes is easy with a serrated peeler. Photo courtesy Crisp.

     

    And instead of charring bell peppers over a flame to remove the skin, just use a serrated peeler.

    How can you resist?

    • The angled-head serrated peeler from Crisp is $8.99 at CrispCooking.com. It also has an “eyer” at the top.
    • The highly regarded Messermeister serrated swivel peeler is $7.95 at Amazon.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Burger

    Pumpkin is the not-so-secret ingredient in these veggie burgers, which have real nutritional heft thanks to the addition of chickpeas and pumpkin seed protein powder.

    Whether you’re determined to keep the spirit of summer alive or looking to transition into more autumnal foods, these pumpkin burgers span both worlds. You can make a double batch: The finished patties freeze beautifully.

    The recipe was developed by Hannah Kaminsky.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN PROTEIN BURGERS

    Ingredients For 6-8 Burgers

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 14-ounce can (1-3/4 cups cooked) chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seed protein powder
  • Salt and pepper
  •    

    pumpkin-burger-kaminsky-230

    Make your veggie burger a pumpkin burger. Recipe and photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

  • Optional condiment: pumpkin hummus (mix pumpkin purée into plain hummus)
  •  

    organic-pumpkin-puree-can-farmersmarket-230

    We like this organic pumpkin purée. Photo
    courtesy Farmer’s Market Foods.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly grease and set aside.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When it is shimmering, add the garlic and onions, sautéing until aromatic and lightly golden brown. This should take no more than 6 to 8 minutes; be careful not to overdo it or you could burn the garlic.

    3. DEGLAZE the pan with the balsamic vinegar, turn off the heat and let the mix cool for 10 minutes.

    4. ROUGHLY MASH the chickpeas in a separate bowl, with a fork or potato masher. Keep the texture fairly coarse so that the burger maintains a satisfying bite. Add in the pumpkin purée, mustard, spices and herbs, mixing well to incorporate. When cool enough to handle…

    5. ADD the sautéed vegetables and pumpkin seed protein powder; stir to combine. Mix thoroughly, making sure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients. The mixture should be soft but manageable—something you can fairly easily mold into patties that will hold their shape. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With slightly moistened hands…

     
    6. MEASURE between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of the burger mixture for each patty, and form into round, flat pucks. Space them out evenly on the sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the sheet.

    7. SERVE while still hot, or cool completely before freezing and storing (for up to 6 months).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Veggies More Flavorful

    Vegetable lovers tend to love their veggies cooked in any way: grilled roasted, steamed, stir-fried, however. Others need more convincing to eat their minimum three servings of veggies a day. (Serving recommendations vary by age group. Here’s the latest government Food Pyramid.)

    One way to get people to eat more vegetables is to combine them with popular flavors. That doesn’t mean fried zucchini and ketchup, however. Here are several better-for-you ways to amp up the flavors and make veggies sexy. They come from Flavor & The Menu, a magazine that delivers ideas and trends to professional chefs.

    FOR GREEN SALADS & SLAWS

    Here are four ideas to that add appeal to your salads:

  • Garnish or toss a green salad with shredded cheese or toasted nuts/seeds and fresh or dried berries. If you don’t have time to make a salad from scratch, buy a ready to eat salad or slaw mix.
  • Caramelize your lettuce. Grill romaine hearts as a base for your salad. You can lightly grill other salad ingredients (bell peppers, tomatoes) or simply add croutons, shredded cheese or any other ingredients. Here’s a recipe for Grilled Caesar Salad.
  •    

    masala-cauliflower-paperchef-230

    Yummy caramelized cauliflower. Photo courtesy PaperChef.com.

  • Serve crudités as a first course—baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets, snow peas and other favorites—with hummus, a simple aïoli (garlic mayonnaise—here’s the recipe) or balsamic vinaigrette dip*.
  • Make wilted salads: Add a warm dressing to spinach, kale or a baby braising greens mix. It will slightly wilt the greens. Here’s a recipe hot bacon vinaigrette that you can use with lettuce, kale or other greens.
  •  

    *Easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe: Blend together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 3/4 cup olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper (or to taste). Optional: Add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and/or fresh parsley or other herb.

     

    pancetta-hazelnut-green-beans-goboldwithbutter-230

    Some bits of bacon and sautéed onions add
    great flavor to green beans. Photo courtesy
    Go Bold With Butter.

     

    FOR COOKED VEGGIES

  • Add umami elements to roasted, steamed or sautéed vegetables: bacon, Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, sautéed onions or soy sauce (flavor it with minced ginger, garlic and chives/green onions). Fish-friendly families should try chopped anchovies, anchovy paste or Asian fish sauce*.
  • Caramelize your veggies. Caramelization is what happens when the natural sugar in a food break down under heat and forms new compounds. The food turns brown and becomes caramel—a broad term that extends to more than just candy and sauce. Roasting, grilling and pan-searing add flavorful caramelization and soften the bite of vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. You can even cramelize a slaw mix. Here’s how to caramelize.
  • Please the spice-lovers with Asian flavors like sweet chile sauce, Sriracha and kimchi. Use chili and Sriracha sauces in your recipes or as condiments. Mix kimchi—Korean pickled vegetables—with grains, potatoes and vegetable medleys.
  • Stir-fry sturdy greens (those which have tough ribs and leaves, such as bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach) to create an easy side dish or a bed for proteins.
  • Create a colorful warm “salad” using on-trend healthy vegetables such as sliced or diced sweet potatoes or butternut squash, beets and kale.
  • Pan-sear sliced mushrooms with shallots, then add cream and cheese for an elegant à la carte addition to steaks and chops.
  •  
    Read more about food, glorious food at GetFlavor.com.

    †Fish sauce was the favorite condiment of the ancient Romans (read all about it). Today, it remains a favorite condiment in Asia, with each country varying the recipe: Vietnamese nuoc nam, Thai nam pla and Cambodian tuk trey, Burma’s ngan-pya-yem, Korea’s jeotgal, Laos’s nam pa and The Philippines’ patis and bagoong. Related products include the Malaysian shrimp paste belachan and a similar product in Myanmar called nga-pi.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Scorpion Chile, The World’s Hottest?

    How hot do you like it?

    Chile heads—people who can’t get enough heat in their foods—are always looking for hotter and hotter varieties, so breeders keep creating hotter breeds.

    What’s the world’s hottest chile? Whatever it is today, it can change tomorrow.

    In 2007, the Bhut Jolokia also known as the ghost pepper, was rated the hottest. In 2013, the Guinness Book Of World Records rated the Carolina Reaper the world’s hottest pepper, moving the Bhut Jolokia to third place.

    The Carolina Reaper scored 1,569,300 on the Scoville Scale, which measures the heat level. A habanero, by contrast, measures up to 350,000 Scoville units.

     

    jamaican-scorpion-230-melissas

    Scorpion chiles are available from Melissas.com.

     
    Is there a new contender? According to fine produce purveyor Melissas.com, the hottest chile pepper in the world now cited bythe Guinness Book of Records is the Trinidad Scorpion. Melissa’s has them in stock right now.

    Buy them for yourself or as a gift for your favorite chile head at Melissas.com.

    They’ll stay fresh in the vegetable crisper for about 2 weeks.

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Handle all hot chiles with gloved hands and discard the gloves without getting any capsaicin on your hands. Because accidentally touching your eyes with the minutest amount of capsaicin will be an experience you’ll never forget.

    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHILES.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY & FOOD HOLIDAY: National Kale Day

    kale-varieties-nationalkaleday.org-230r

    Three stems of curly kale with one of red
    Russian kale. Photo courtesy
    NationalKaleDay.org.

     

    Yesterday we focused on kale’s cousin, kohlrabi. But today is National Kale Day. If you’re one of the few better-eating-oriented food enthusiasts who hasn’t yet tried kale, today’s the day.

    This is the second annual National Kale Day, established as the first Wednesday in October. The holiday was established by Drew Ramsey, M.D. and chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of 50 Shades of Kale.

    Their objective was to draw attention to the superfood, which continues to grow in popularity in both the retail and foodservice (restaurants, schools and other institutions, etc.) markets.

    The kale trend has driven up sales 20%-30% in the last year alone. As an illustration of how popular kale has become, mainstream producer Dole Fresh Vegetables recently rolled out new six salad mixes, all with kale, including a Kale Caesar salad kit.

    Kale is grown around the world, and has been cultivated for some 6,000 years. It’s easy to grow and hearty: A kale plant continues to produce late into winter, and after a frost, kale becomes even sweeter.
     
    TYPES OF KALE

    If you’re already a fan of green kale, visit farmers markets for specialty varieties. There are more than 50 varieties of kale, but in the U.S. you’re most likely to find:

     

  • Curly kale, the variety typically found in grocery stores. It can be bright green, dark green or purple in color with tight ruffled leaves. The fibrous stalks can be difficult to chop, but they’re easy to tear if fresh. The flavor is pungent, peppery and bitter. Seek out younger looking leaves for less bitterness.
  • Lacinato kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale and other names*. It’s an Italian heirloom with blue-green leaves. Slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor than curly kale, it has nutty, earthy notes.
  • Redbor kale, best known as ornamental kale, dark red or purple in color. It is certainly edible. You can grow it as a garden decoration and pick leaves as you need them, for cooking or garnishing.
  • Red Russian kale with flat leaves that resemble arugula leaves. It gets its name because the stems can have a red or reddish-purple tinge. It is considered one of the more flavorful kales, sweet and mild with just a bit of pepperiness. The stems, however, are too tough to digest and should be removed before cooking.
  •  
    *Lacinto kale is also called black kale, black Tuscan palm, cavolo nero (which means black cabbage in Italian), dinosaur kale, flat back cabbage, Italian kale, palm tree kale, Tuscan cabbage and Tuscan kale.

     

    To celebrate National Kale Day, make your favorite kale dish. Have you ever tried colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of kale (or cabbage) and mashed potatoes? We’re making it for dinner tonight, along with this kale salad:

    RECIPE: SHREDDED KALE WITH DATE PURÉE & PINE NUTS

    This recipe is from Svitana of ArtDeFete.com. She enhances a conventional vinaigrette with date purée for an exciting new flavor combination.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Date Purée

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  •  

    shredded-kale-salad-with-date-puree-artdefete-230r

    Shredded kale salad with date purée. Photo courtesy ArtDeFete.com.

     
    For The Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, center ribs removed, leaves finely shredded
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Optional garnish: ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, toasted
  •  
    For the Dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon date purée
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the date purée: In a food processor, combine dates, water, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and lemon juice. Blend until it resembles a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can keep date purée refrigerated up to two weeks or freeze for three months. Use the rest in smoothies or stir into yogurt.

    2. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and date purée until well combined. Season to taste.

    3. COMBINE the dressing and shredded kale in a large bowl; toss until well coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad: Spread a thin layer (1 tablespoon) of date purée on each plate and top it with kale salad. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kohlrabi

    kohlrabi-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Violet kohlrabi. There’s also a light green variety. Photo courtesy The Good Eggs.

     

    You’ve just gotten used to kale. Are you ready for another cruciferous vegetable, kohlrabi?

    A member of the powerful anti-carcinogenic Brassica family (formerly Crucifera), which also includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnips and others) to emerge on mainstream menus in a big way.

    Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea), also called German turnip or turnip cabbage. It tastes like cabbage but is sweeter. The flavor has been described as a cross between apples and mild turnips, to broccoli stems with a hint of radish and cucumber. What look like bulbs, beet-shaped, are actually swollen stems that grow just above the ground.

    Kohlrabi typically is served cooked in Europe. But American chefs and recipe developers, understanding how much we enjoy crunchy foods, have taken to serving it raw:

     

  • Shaved, julienned or cut into disks or matchsticks as a salad garnish.
  • Shredded or julienned and dressed as “kohl slaw,” mixed purple and green kohlrabi, mixed with shredded cabbage and carrots, etc.
  • Cut into cubes or wedges, marinate in vinaigrette and served with toothpicks instead of crudites.
  • Cut into batons, cubes or wedges and pickled in your favorite pickling recipe, and served instead of cucumber pickles or other pickled vegetables.
  •  

    Flavor & The Menu, which covers food trends for chefs, encourages the preparation of hot kohlrabi dishes as well. Their recommendations:

  • Add cubes or wedges to meat-based soups and stews.
  • Braise the mild green tops using your favorite greens recipe. The leaves are a milder version of collards.
  • Julienne and stir fry.
  • Quarter, oven roast and toss with butter and herbs.
  • Shave and deep fry or bake for kohlrabi chips.
  •  

    kohlrabi-sweet-vienna-burpee-green-230

    Green kohlrabi. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     
    KOHLRABI HISTORY

    Although it has been cultivated for several thousand years, the first written record of the domesticated plant dates to Greek and Roman times, when it was a popular garden vegetable.

    According to Wikipedia, kohlrabi was bred into other Brassica cultivars, including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

    The name derives from the German words kohl, cabbage and rabi, turnip. This unusual looking vegetable originated in northern Europe and was not known 500 years ago. Kohlrabi did not become known in the United States until 1800. Kohlrabi tastes like cabbage but is sweeter.
     
    FINDING KOHLRABI: If your regular grocer doesn’t carry it, head for the nearest farmers market.

      

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