Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kale and Chickpea Salad

This is one of my favorite salads!  It is just so good.  I can live on this.  Just give it to me for lunch and dinner and I am good to go.

Indeed, I am catering a party for a friend in a few weeks and have been having her over for tastings.  When she tasted this salad she said it must definitely be on the menu.  She took the leftovers home and her whole family agreed with her.  So it is not just me.  And just forget that this is really good for you.  It is great tasting too.  And did I mention that it should really be made in advance?  Making it several hours or a day ahead allows the kale to tenderize and mellow out.  I should warn you though, make a lot because even though it can and should be made in advance, it is still really good right away.  Thus if you do not make enough you will not have any for later.....

By the way, I make it with bulgur wheat but you can also use quinoa.  I used quinoa when my friend visited.  She has celiac thus is gluten intolerant and the salad tasted great.  So good in fact that she ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Kale and Chickpea Salad


Finely chiffonade the kale

1/4 cup fine bulgur wheat
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch kale (mine weighed 9 ounces before trimming)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (green and white portions)
1/4 cup chopped, fresh mint leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1.  Put the bulgur and the 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over top and set aside.  Put the chickpeas in a colander and rinse well and set aside to drain.
2.  Rinse kale well and remove tough stems.  Spin in a salad spinner to dry well.  Grab a handful of kale at a time and finely chiffonade it.  Add it to the bowl with the bulgur.  Add the chopped parsley, green onions, mint, garlic, tomato and chickpeas.  Stir and mix well pulling the bulgur from the bottom of the bowl.
3.  Make the dressing.  In a small bowl whisk together the lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, pepper and garlic salt.  Pour over salad and mix well.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight until ready to serve.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Roasted Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Butter

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the final day of the Southeast Produce Council's Southern Exposure Conference.  About 200 companies set up exhibits of their products.  This means row upon row of the finest fruits and vegetables you have ever seen.  It really is amazing.

One of my favorite companies was there: Ocean Mist Farms.  They grow one of my all time favorite vegetables - artichokes.  Indeed I have been a member of their Artichoke Club for years.  Every month they send you tips on preparing artichokes and an opportunity to win a case of them.  You can check them out here:

Yesterday I got a wonderful surprise in the mail from one of the representatives I met.  A case of their wonderful Heirloom Artichokes direct from Castroville, CA.  I plan to try several different preparations and began today with these Roasted Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Butter.  The roasting caramelized the artichokes giving them a deep rich flavor.  I served them as an appetizer.

Remove the choke.  It is not hard!
Put garlic where the choke used to be.  It will roast right along with the artichoke.


1/2 to 1 whole artichoke per person
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 peeled clove of garlic per artichoke half
1 tablespoon butter per artichoke half

Preheat Oven to 450.

1.  Trim about 1/2 inch off the stem end of the artichoke.  Place it stem side up on the cutting board and cut it in half.  Immediately brush the cut side with lemon juice using a pastry brush.
2.  Use a pairing knife to cut right under the fuzzy choke then scoop it out with a spoon. Brush again with lemon juice.
3.  Brush the artichokes all over with olive oil and season with salt.  Place a garlic clove in the cavity where the choke was.
4.  Making sure the garlic stays in place put the artichokes cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast for 15 minutes.
5.  Turn the artichokes cut side up, keeping the garlic in place and roast for another 15 minutes.
6.  Turn them a final time and continue roasting until done.  Another 10 minutes or so.

To serve, melt the butter.  Have each person mash their garlic clove in their butter dish and then divide the butter evenly among the dishes.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ginger Sesame Noodles

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the year of the goat and sheep.  Indeed today only marks the first day of the Chinese New Year.  The celebration lasts for 15 days and each day has a special meaning.  It all culminates with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day.  That makes for one long party!

There is some seriously good eating going on too.  Yum!  Of utmost importance is eating noodles.  They represent longevity.  So here is a really delicious way to enjoy some noodles.  My kids love these, they will eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Noodles are meant to be a side dish and as such, this recipe will make 6 generous servings but my kids will eat them as the main event any chance they can.  These noodles complement so many main dishes - BBQ and grilled meats, roasted meats.  They are so simple to make, so enjoy.

Ginger Sesame Noodles


8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion rings
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure sesame oil
freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Cook pasta according to package.  I don't add salt to the water because the seasoning ingredients have plenty.  Drain when done.
2.  While the pasta cooks, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium low heat.  Stir frequently and watch carefully.  This will take about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat just as they are taking on color.
3.  Thinly slice the scallions and mince the ginger.
4.  Put the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a large skillet.  Add drained pasta, sesame seeds, ginger and scallions.  Toss over low heat to just heat through and combine all ingredients.  I like to use 2 forks for this to get the scallions and sesame seeds all mixed in.  Season to taste with pepper.