As you may have gathered from my instagram I am thoroughly enjoying Genius Recipe’s Kale Salad this fall. The recipe originates from Northern Spy Food Co., a little NYC cafe that is now closed, and is the perfect thing to make at the beginning of the week, stored in the fridge for last minute lunches or snacks.
I’ve eaten this salad warm, at room temperatures, topped with a friend egg, and pressed onto avocado slathered toast – all are good.
Here is the salad’s recipe introduction in Genius Recipes “Raw kale is like any other green we’ve ever put to dressing-just a little more resilient. And that’s a very helpful trait, making it an ideal leafy salad to make ahead for company or tomorrow’s lunch. This particular kale salad is at once substantial and spry. It’s dressed with just lemon and olive oil, making it a bit like a raw version at a health store salad bar-but filled out with roasted kabocha squash, almonds, and two kinds of cheese. Depending on the season, Northern Spy trades out the kabocha for fresh apricots, kohlrabi, or pattypan squash. I sometimes go with slices of apple or persimmon. Kale’s amendable.”
Kale Salad from Genius Recipes
1/2 cup peeled, cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale (preferably laminator or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and leaves finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar-if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
Fresh lemon juice
Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss the squash cubes in just enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet, leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 to 15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar, and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (using about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved Pecorino cheese and serve.
Living on an island is strange sometimes. It is a bubble and the vast, diverse, real world often feels far away and out of touch. Last Wednesday, The New York Times published an article about our island cookbook club. The whole process of talking with the writer, Erin Ryerson, to meeting the photographer, Tony Luong, and sharing our club’s story was thrilling.
I sent Nick out early Wednesday morning to grab a few copies of the paper and then read the story while standing at our kitchen island in my pajamas. I was both giddy with excitement and felt it impossible to understand the reach of this newspaper. Here I was in my old college sweatshirt, wrangling two energetic young boys, packing the car full of special stuffed animals and pie plates for our Thanksgiving trip, and trying really hard to take a moment to think about who may also be reading this story, where they are, and what is on their mind.
I hope our story encourages groups around the state/country/world to grab a bunch of friends, a few great books, and get together. Cheers to cookbook club!
LINK TO ARTICLE BELOW
by Erin Ryerson
WEST TISBURY, Mass. — The November meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook Club offered saffron-infused gin cocktails, a table of food, a tray of something called “strong ginger cookies” — and a few strong opinions.
“This book just didn’t speak to me,” said one member, Zoe Thompson. “I’m more of a utilitarian cookbook user.” Then she added, as if it were a bad thing, “I’m a recipe follower!”
The book under discussion was “Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel” by Heidi Swanson. And Ms. Thompson, who had baked the book’s strong ginger cookies, was just as critical of her own handiwork, introducing the cookies as “inedible.”
Though dutifully warned, nearly all the dozen women in attendance sampled them and agreed that while definitely very gingery, they were by no means unpalatable.
I was honored to be interviewed by Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves about how island life forced our family to simplify our lives, working from home, and on how food and feeding a family enters the conversation about simple living. Erin is the queen of slow, sustainable living and always inspires me to think practically and purposefully.
In the November issue of Bon Appetite, Anna Jones shares a few “healthy-ish holiday survival” recipes. If you’re not familiar with Anna Jones this is what the magazine has to say about her: “The former food stylist to Jamie Oliver, Jones has a refreshing food sensibility that we can’t get enough of. Her recipes are practical yet creative, and they’re packed with feel-good ingredients that make the finished dishes more-not less-delicious. And guess what? They’re all vegetarian.”
Anna suggests making this Skillet Phyllo Pie with Butternut Squash, Kale & Goat Cheese for dinner on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. That’s some good advice although we enjoyed it very much as a Sunday dinner last weekend. The recipe is highly adaptable. Try it with Swiss chard or spinach in place of kale. Any squash or root vegetable will work in place of the butternut.
We also made a tray of her Seedy Oat Crackers or “the guiltless cracker” which can be made ahead of the holiday craziness (they’ll keep for up to ten days). Seedy Oat Crackers are gluten-free, and have very little fat. Packed with nutrient-dense seeds and oats, these special crackers leave you feeling satisfied.
Skillet Phyllo Pie with Butternut Squash, Kale & Goat Cheese from Bon Appetite November 2016
Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 lb.) peeled, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 ounces Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
4 ounces fresh goat cheese or feta, crumbled
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400 F. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 6-8 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Mix in thyme and red pepper flakes and transfer to a medium bowl; let cool. Wipe out and reserve skillet.
Add kale, eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest to squash mixture and gently mix to combine; season with salt and pepper. Layer phyllo sheets inside reserved skillet. Spoon kale-and-squash mixture into phyllo and dot top with goat cheese. Brush edges of phyllo lightly with oil and fold over filling, overlapping slightly, leaving center exposed.
Cook pie over medium heat until bottom of pastry is just golden (carefully lift up on side with a heatproof rubber spatula so that you can take a peek), about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake pie until kale is wilted and tender and phyllo is golden brown and crispy, 20-25 minutes. Let pie cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.
Do Ahead: Pie can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let cool; store uncovered at room temperature.
Seedy Oat Crackers “the guiltless cracker” from Bon Appetite November 2016
Makes 8 servings
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl to combine. In a separate bowl, stir oil, maple syrup, and 3/4 cup room-temperature water together. Pour over oat mixture; toss until soaked. Let sit 10 minutes to allow mixture to thicken. From into a ball. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, press another sheet of parchment on top, and roll out to 1/8″ thick (the shape doesn’t matter). Remove top layer of parchment. Bake cracker until golden brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn over cracker; remove parchment. Bake cracker on same sheet until firm and the other side is golden brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet, then break into pieces.
We started to pick wild Concord grapes at the end of September. Our neighbor’s side yard is overflowing with vines and they generously share the goods with us. Nick, who makes Beach Plum Jelly every August, decided to try his hand at Concord Grape Jam. It turned out perfectly – sweet, tart, and full of the unmistakeable grape flavor that reminds me of bubble gum and cough syrup (in a good way).
A couple of weeks ago, the Island hosted a Local Wild Food Challenge. We go every year, mostly to cheer friends on who enter and see the crazy dishes coming out of the kitchen – wild pheasant, mallard duck, chestnuts, Russian olives, watercress, and lots of venison. This year, Dylan decided to enter the kids baking contest and he wanted to make “jam bars” with the grape jam. Great! The day came, I had all the ingredients ready and got Gray down for a nap. Dylan decides he is too tired to make jam bars. I decide to make them, toss in some rosemary as my adult spin, and enter.
We win best dessert that night. The boys and I walk up and accept our prizes and take in the cheers. In typical fashion, Nick is in the bathroom and misses everything. But, these are damn good Concord Grape Shortbread Bars with Rosemary, that’s for sure.
Concord Grape Jam
Makes 6 half-pint jars
8 cups Concord grapes
¼ cup water
6 cups granulated sugar
½ a lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon unsalted butter
First separate the grape skins from the pulp by squeezing the grapes between your fingers. Put the skins in the bowl of a food processor with 2 cups of sugar and pulse until they are coarsely chopped.
Place the grape pulp in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the grapes lose their shape, mashing every few minutes with a potato masher. This takes about 10 minutes. Pour the grape pulp through a strainer into a large bowl. Force out as much pulp as you can and discard the seeds.
Put the cleaned grape pulp back into the saucepan and add in the grape skin sugar, remaining 4 cups of sugar, lemon juice, and butter. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, skimming off foam as it forms.
While the jam cooks, prepare the jars. Place the six jars in a large pot, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Place the lids and rings in a separate pot, boil, then turn the heat down to low to keep warm.
Once the jam has thickened and reached a gel-like state, pour the jam mixture into the prepared jars. Close the tops and let stand until set. Jar lids will pop when sealed.
Concord Grape Shortbread Bars with Rosemary
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup Concord grape jam, at room temperature
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) until soft and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well.
Mix the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the butter and egg yolk mixture and mix just until incorporated and the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours or overnight (or as long as a month, if you like).
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove one ball of dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it by hand or with the grating disk in a food processor into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Make sure the surface is covered evenly with shreds of dough.
With a piping bag with a wide tip or a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off, squeeze the jam over the surface as evenly as possible, to within 1/2 inch of the edge all the way around. Sprinkle jam with rosemary. Remove the remaining dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it over the entire surface.
Bake until lightly golden brown and the center no longer wiggles, 50 to 60 minutes. As soon as the shortbread comes out of the oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Cool on a wire rack, then cut in the pan with a serrated knife. I find that for this an all bar cookies, chilling the pan in the fridge makes it a lot easier to get clean cuts.