“Magical” Kale Salad

29 May

Mei Mei is a food truck in Boston and they have a kale salad that is rumored to be awesomely delicious. I’ve never had it, but Andrew can’t stop raving about it. So when we were planning a picnic on a recent lovely day, we decided to try to replicate the “magical” kale salad, with a few tweaks, and take it along for our picnic. This awesome blog wrote a great post on how to recreate the Mei Mei kale salad, so we used that as a guide.

It was delicious and lovely and we can’t stop massaging kale. Check it out:

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh kale, washed of course

1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

3 tsp olive oil

2 eggs

Canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup panko

1/3 cup grated feta cheese

Sea salt

Directions:

Start by washing the kale then ripping it apart. You don’t have to rip it too small because it’ll shrink a ton on its own.

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In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Slowly add just a bit of that mixture to the kale while massaging the liquid into the kale with your hands. Your hands with get all gross and oily, but it’ll be fun. Add a bit more of the liquid mixture to the kale while massaging until you have enough to cover all the kale but not so much that it’s pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Add a bit of sea salt. Massage the bologna out of that kale because – fun fact – apparently massaging kale takes some of its bitter taste away.

Let your massaged kale hang out for a bit while you make the panko. Pour a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a skillet and add the minced garlic. Slowly add in the cup of panko, making sure that it’s mixing well with the canola and garlic. Add a bit more canola oil if you need to.

Make two eggs however you like – the original recipe says poached but since I don’t like poached eggs we did ours over hard. I think the poached thing would add a whole other element to the salad, with the runny yolk and all, but since I hate runny yolk, I was ok with our version.

Pile the kale into a bowl, add the panko and egg and some feta cheese on top. Take along on a picnic and enjoy!

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Carrot-y Veggie Burgers

14 May

We got a juicer not too long ago and I LOVE it. We usually compost the pulp that remains after you make juice but a friend told me that there are tons of recipes that use the pulp. She said that carrot pulp can be used to make carrot muffins, so I originally set out to find a muffin recipe. I found these burgers instead and they were delicious.

Carrot-y Veggie Burgers

Ingredients
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup carrot pulp
2 cups crushed cornflakes
2-3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
Butter or olive oil (just to grease the skillet)
Burger Buns

Directions
I put the carrot, onion and celery in a food processor and the fine chopping was quick and easy. Combine the chopped carrots, onion and celery with the carrot pulp, crushed cornflakes, and eggs in a bowl. The recipe originally called for two eggs but we thought the burgers weren’t sticky enough so we added a third egg. Add a little salt and pepper and mix well.

Form the mixture into patties – once this recipe made four patties and once it made five. Who knows what you’ll end up with.

Melt a bit of butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook patties for a few minutes on each side or until browned.

Patties on the griddle

I think we’ll also try cooking these on foil on the grill this summer.

Top with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles – whatever you like! Serve on your favorite buns.

Burger

Chickpea Salad

21 Apr

Whole Foods has a delicious “Mediterranean Crunch Salad” at the cold bar. We wanted to recreate it at home, but a google search for the recipe didn’t exactly match the ingredient list that had been included with the salad at the bar. So we kind of used the recipe online as a guide and added some other ingredients to make it more fabulous.

Ingredients:

2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cucumber, chopped small
1/2 head broccoli, chopped small
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 carrot, chopped small
3 leaves kale, tough stems removed, chopped small
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Directions:

Combine the chickpeas, cucumber, carrot, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, onion, parsley and thyme in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk well. Poor the liquid mixture into the vegetable/bean mixture and stir well. Chill at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!

chickpea salad

The Best Crepe I’ve Ever Had (and a trip to Iceland)

11 Mar

This post is going to serve as a shameless promotion of gorgeous pictures we took while in Iceland recently, while also highlighting the most delicious dessert I’ve ever eaten.

While in Iceland we did so many amazing things – we walked on a glacier!

Glacier3

We saw Geysir!

Geysir

We hung out at the most enormous waterfall – Gullfoss, “Golden Waterfall”
Gullfoss Golden Waterfall

We walked between the American and Euroasian plates!

Thingvellir

It was just so amazingly wonderful and I cannot wait to go back.

We also spend some time walking around Reykjavik and eating some incredibly delicious food. One night after dinner while walking along the cobblestoned streets of Reykjavik,  we saw a small ice cream shop. While pondering our ice cream options, I saw their special – a dessert crepe.

Crepes are very popular in Iceland. Traditionally, they are made in a special crepe pan and then often filled with jam and whipped cream and folded in quarters or sprinkled with sugar and rolled into tight cylinders. They are often served with coffee or tea.

Our dessert crepe was a little different – it was filled with vanilla ice cream, nutella and strawberries, then rolled tight. The ends were then dipped in caramel chocolate sauce and rolled in salted nuts.

Crepe

 

I think it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

Herbed Polenta with Tomato Bean Sauce

17 Feb

We’re not doing so great on our one recipe a week challenge, but we are trying some new recipes, just not nearly one a week. Oh well. Here’s our latest new adventure: Herbed polenta with an amazing tomato sauce topping.

We wanted to make polenta and I found this recipe on Care2, a website which aims to “make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most.” We made a few small changes to the recipe and, while it was pretty easy to make and the sauce was incredibly delicious, the polenta was kind of bland and not nearly as creamy and fluffy as the polenta at our favorite restaurant down the street. I know we’ll make the sauce again, but we’ll be on the lookout for a recipe that promises creamier polenta.

Ingredients

For the polenta:
1½ cups polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parsley
4 cups hot water
Olive oil for greasing
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

For the tomato sauce topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chopped onion
3 cups chopped Swiss chard, kale, or spinach, or a combination (we used kale)
1 28-ounce can of chopped or diced tomatoes with basil
1 15-ounce can navy beans
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a 3-quart pot, combine the polenta, salt, parsley, and water, making sure there are no lumps. Bring to a boil and lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, 30 minutes or until the polenta is thick and comes away easily from the sides of the pot.

Next grease a large sheet of aluminum foil with the oil and place it on a baking sheet. With a rubber spatula or with wet hands, slide the polenta onto the baking sheet, guiding it into a rectangle measuring approximately 8 inches by 12 inches. Make the corners as square as possible. Lay a second sheet of aluminum foil of top and allow the polenta to set for at least 30 minutes.

While the polenta is setting, you can begin the sauce topping. In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute until it turns golden. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add the greens and stir until wilted. Add in the can of tomatoes with their juice, then add the beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Cut the polenta in to four equal rectangles and then cut each rectangle into four triangles. Place the triangles on oiled aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip over the triangles and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until they start to become brown.

Polenta

Put two triangles on a plate and add some shredded parmesan cheese on top. Ladle the bean mixture on top and add a bit more cheese if you’d like. Enjoy!

Herbed Polenta with tomato and bean topping

Quinoa Collard Wraps

20 Jan

Andrew thought it’d be fun if this year we tried to make one new recipe each week. This was our first attempt and it’s three weeks into the new year, so we’ll see how this goes…

The original recipe is called “Quinoa and Collard Leaf Dolmas” and is from The Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health, which has all vegetarian and vegan recipes. We made a few small changes and although the finished product was tasty, the recipe was a little cumbersome to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped small

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pepper (any color you want, but I like red or yellow), chopped small

3 stalks celery, chopped small

1 small zucchini, chopped small

1 tsp dried oregano

3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

3 tbsp lemon juice

8 large collard leaves

1 cup pasta sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chopped onion. Cook until the onions become translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, peppers, celery, zucchini, oregano, and mint.

Veggies on stove

Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked quinoa and lemon juice to the vegetables and stir well.

Quinoa on stove

Cut the large part of the stem out of each collard leaf. Steam the leaves until they soften enough to manipulate easily. Let them cool and then lay them, one by one, on a cutting board and slightly overlap the leaf where the stem was removed. Add 1/2 cup of the quinoa/vegetable mixture on top.

Quinoa on Leaf

Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling and then roll it up, making a neat package. Place the little package, seam down, in an 8×8 pan. Repeat with the rest of the leaves, using the rest of the quinoa/vegetable mixture. All eight leaves will fit perfectly in the pan.

Wrapped in Pan

Top the 8 leaves with your favorite pasta sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until hot. We ate these with a salad topped with feta and they were delicious!

Finished with Salad

Zucchini and Chickpea Soup

5 Jan

One day while driving back from visiting my family in Rhode Island, we caught an interview on NPR with a cookbook author about her new book, Bean by Bean. She sounded awesome and had the most random name – Crescent Dragonwagon. (Of course we googled and read a really good story as to how she got that name.) We went to Porter Square Books soon after and bought Bean by Bean and this was the first recipe we tried. We used some of her suggestions and variations and came up with something that we love and have already made a few times. Give it a try!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut and sliced thin
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • juice of 2 lemons

Instructions:

  • If using dried chickpeas, after soaking them overnight, put them in a large soup pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer, covered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 and 1/2 hours (but cooking time can be as long as 3 or more hours). If using canned chickpeas, add them, with their liquid, plus 2 cans of water to a soup pan and begin to simmer.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrot and saute, until the onions are soft, 6-8 minutes.
  • Lower heat and add garlic and cayenne, letting that cook for a few minutes, until the garlic becomes really fragrant.
  • Add the onion mixture from the skillet into the chickpeas in the soup pot. Then add in the cumin, allspice, tomato paste, zucchini and rice.
  • Cover and cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the parsley and cook for another 15 minutes.

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Add in the juice of 2 lemons, stir well and serve. We ate the soup with toasted pitas, which were crunchy and delicious.

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