kale salad!

I never thought I would come around to this! But I did! I was resistant to putting sweetened stuff in it but the driedcranberries make it especially fun.

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, cut into ribbons
dressing: 1 lemon worth of juice, neutral oil like canola, salt, pepper, garlic powder, *toasted sesame oil*
pine nuts
grape tomatoes, sliced in half
dried sweetened cranberries
avocado

grated Parmesan (add just before eating)

Mix well, let it sit with the dressing on it for half an hour at least to sort of "cook" the kale, i.e. break it down a bit with the acid from the lemon. Don't put too much salt in the dressing. Also be sparing with the canola oil.

Brussels sprouts

About 5 years after vowing to conquer my last remaining food vegetable fears (brussels sprouts and beets*), I finally cooked brussels sprouts yesterday (I'd eaten them at other people's tables in the interim, but not cooked them myself.)

I trimmed the ends a bit, then did the classic "coat a pound of them in ~1.5 TBS olive oil, scant 1/2 tsp sea salt,and ground pepper" and baked at 400 on an (ungreased) baking sheet for 20-30 minutes" deal.

I cut some of them in half and left others whole. Most recipes didn't say to cut them in half,
which seemed odd.

Conclusions:
1) cutting them in half is better, generally speaking.
2) they are in some ways just a  vehicle for salt and oil (and pepper), and I am just fine with that. Honestly - if you eat a lot of vegetables, if they make up a good portion of your diet, it can be hard to get enough fat to keep you full. Or not quite HARD, really, so much as it can sometimes be easy (at least for me) to be so enthusiastic about the soup or vegetable chili or whatever you made that you eat a bunch of bowls of it for a meal or two meals - and, while filling and nutritious and tasty, that stuff doesn't have much fat in it. And then you get hungry an hour later.So I am making a point of not shying away from vegetable recipes that incorporate more oils and fats.
3) yes, they are sort of just cuter, more expensive mini-cabbages, but the fun of roasted cabbages that make convenient finger food is worth it sometimes.

*I have given myself permission to give up on beets. I don't like really like sweet vegetables. (I am also OK with never learning to like fennel bulb and asparagus. Brussels sprouts and some other green vegetables just have a bad rap, and it made sense to work through my prejudices about them, but fennel and asparagus have strong unique flavors that I can't get into.)

Collard greens (vegetarian)

This is only to remind myself what I've done and liked, not because I think it's some amazing recipe..

1 lb precut collard greens (stems included)
3/4 of a medium onion
~3 cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes (several good shakes, maybe half a teaspoon? more than I'd use for a head of bok choy)
oil
pinch of salt
water

Saute the garlic for  maybe half a minute in the oil on medium heat,then add the red pepper flakes and the onion. Saute for a bit.I did not let the onion brown, mostly because my heat level was off and it was looking like it was going to burn. Add the collard greens, stir to coat with some of the oil. You may have to wait a second for some of it to wilt/compress before adding more,but you should be able to fit a whole pound in a 4.5 quart pot. Keep stirring a bit to coat all leaves with the oil.  Sprinkle a little salt.  Add a few splashes of water so that you can braise rather than continuing to saute.

Turn the heat down to pretty low and cover the pot.  Stir every so often and let it cook for maybe..half an hour? Til the stems are soft enough and mild enough to be pleasant.

Nectarine...thingies

I've been making this for breakfast:

Pizza dough (flour, salt, yeast, a little sugar, olive oil, water) rolled out very very thin (this seems easiest if the dough has actually risen and had the air knocked out of it and sat for a while, even though this recipe doesn't really need the dough to be airy or rise significantly.)

Covered with thinly-sliced nectarines

folded over, scored on top so that you can see the nectarines through little windows in the dough

baked for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees

It's pretty good.

It's easiest if you roll the dough out on parchment paper, and it's important to make sure the edges are sealed--the little windows on top are OK, but you don't want nectarine juice leaking out the sides or  bottom because a) it burns and b) that juice staying on the dough helps make a nice sweet moist dough-y situation.

Today I tried it with a mixture of ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract spread on the dough before the nectarines.Also pretty tasty, roughly same amount of cooking needed.

ricotta almond cake

I want to make this some day soon:
http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2014/04/ricotta-almond-cake/

Black Beluga Lentil Salad

(Loosely based on the packaged lentil salad they sell at Peet's.)

1 cup black beluga lentils
4 cups water
1 small shallot, diced
~1 tbs chopped parsley
1 carrot, grated fine
~2 oz feta cheese
half a lemon's worth of juice
red wine vinegar to taste
olive oil to taste/preference
salt to taste
pepper

Put lentils and water in a pot, bring to a faint boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots and cook for 10 more minutes, til cooked but still firm. (You can also just add the shallots after cooking, but raw onion is a bit sharp for me.)
Drain. I did not rinse.

Put into bowl. Add remaining ingredients (Some recipes say to let the lentils cool first but I did this while still warm.) Stir, eat.

Half of this recipe (which feels about like a portion if it's all you're eating) contains ~370 cal 6g fat, 29g protein, 51g carbohydrate and 20g fiber.I did not include olive oil in this so probably slightly more fat.  Going forward I'd be inclined to use more olive oil to make it a bit more balanced/less carbohydrate-dense, though I didn't measure how much olive oil I used, so...

Farinata

This looks amazing:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/235473/how-to-make-farinata/

As soon as I get some garbanzo flour, I'm gonna try it.

  • 1 1/2 cups garbanzo flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine garbanzo flour and water in a bowl; whisk until batter is smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Skim as much foam as possible from top of batter. Whisk salt, rosemary, and 3 tablespoons olive oil into batter.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
  3. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat and heat until smoking hot. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet and swirl to coat bottom of skillet with oil. Continue to heat until oil shimmers and a wisp of smoke rises from oil.
  4. Quickly pour batter into hot oil; carefully transfer skillet to preheated oven.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until cake is browned and crusty, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer immediately to a plate, cut into wedges, and serve hot. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.
Post-mortem: finally made this! It was too salty--I used a scant 1.5 tsp of the sea salt (seemed to be large-flake) we had. I'd do 3/4 tsp next time. Also - it was easy to let the batter splash up the sides of the pan,which then burned a bit, so I will avoid that next time. Overall I was surprised that it didn't stick to the pan more, or damage/burn onto my old, not super clean cast-iron skillet. I was tempted to take it out early but I'm glad I left it in for a full 27ish minutes.