Cranberry Kale Salad

Sides & Starters | October 14, 2014 | By

Kale 1This is almost as simple as it gets for a fall salad, but it’s darn delicious. I recently came across this great Buzzfeed article here, and it made me want to try SO many dishes with fall ingredients! This simple salad features kale and cranberries which are in season right now, but spices it up with a lemon vinaigrette, roasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan cheese.

This may be the first recipe I’ve made with fresh cranberries. I always go for the dried variety for salads and the like, but thought I’d give the fresh ones a go since they’re in season. My experience was that they are a LOT less sweet than dried cranberries, but I sort of enjoyed the tangy sourness in a salad. It was a great new experience, but definitely not for everyone (my friend didn’t like them all that much unfortunately).

This salad is a great appetizer, side dish or even a full meal. It also pairs great with Chardonnay (I clearly know from experience…). Happy fall everyone, and…

Bon Appétit!

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Kale Cranberry Salad

1 Bunch Curly Kale, chopped

3/4 Cup Fresh Cranberries

1/4 Cup Shaved Parmesan

1/4 Cup Pine Nuts

Roast the pine nuts over medium heat in a pan, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Set aside to let cool. Combine kale, cranberries and parmesan. Add pine nuts.

Dressing:

2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to Taste

1 Clove Garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and mix into the salad.

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Summer Green Salad

Sides & Starters | September 9, 2014 | By

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Now that Labor Day has come and gone, is summer really over? I see that they started servicing Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks…but who is going to drink them when it’s 90 degrees in NYC! In my book, summer is still going strong, hence the need for a refreshing green salad. I am going to keep eating fresh summer foods for as long as I can. As they say in Game of Thrones…Winter is Coming. So there will be plenty of time for fun fall foods to come.

Since being in NYC I’ve had a constant stream of visitors, which is great, but it means eating out a lot. The restaurants here are so good, but the lifestyle is overly indulgent. This past Sunday I wanted a day completely to myself, since I haven’t had one in about a month. I woke up early and went to the gym, did laundry, cleaned, ran errands…and made the most refreshing salad for a hot September day- no eating out for a day please! (Turns out I totally forgot my dad was in town for the night and we had a reservation at Stanton Social so my healthy day sort of got scratched come evening- but it was totally worth it).

The theme of this salad is green- everything green. The cucumber and honey dew give it a very crisp and light feel, and the fresh lime and cayenne pepper give it a tiny kick. I was very pleased with how it turned out, I will definitely be keeping this on my rotation of healthy lunch salads!

Bon Appétit!

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Summer Green Salad (Recipe from Whole Foods)

1 Large Cucumber, peeled and diced into small pieces

1 1/2 Cups Diced Honey Dew

1 Green Pepper, diced

2 Heaping Tbsps Fresh Chopped Mint Leaves

Juice from 1 Lime

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

A Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the diced cucumber, honey dew and green pepper. Add the fresh mint leaves. Pour the lime juice into the bowl and mix together. Add the cayenne pepper and sea salt, mixing to combine. Serve chilled.

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Honey-Roasted Grapes

Sides & Starters | August 12, 2014 | By

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I spent this weekend in the seaside town of Cambria. While I love the city life, after the last few weeks of hustle and bustle, I was looking forward to some much-needed R&R and mother-daughter bonding. With the exception of waking up at 6 AM on a Saturday, the weekend was perfect. The combination of weather, sights, food and company proved the best way to press the “reset” button.

Main Street was exactly what one would expect of a small coastal town: full of picturesque shops and quaint restaurants, and walkable from one end to the other in less than 30 minutes. That said, my favorite part of the trip was the coastal views. It’s nothing like the Los Angeles beaches, with so much more crevices, greenery, rocks and teal waters.

My mom and I had planned to bring a lunch picnic for our first meal in Cambria. So, I thought, what better time to whip up a new picnic-inspired recipe? Lately, I’ve been intrigued by some beautiful grape recipes, so I decided to test out one of my own. I hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

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Honey-Roasted Grapes

1 Bunch of Grapes, rinsed

Rosemary

Olive Oil

Honey

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove your rinsed grapes from the stem and place on a baking sheet with high sides. Drizzle with rosemary, olive oil, honey and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until grapes are slightly soft. Serve with cheese and crackers. (I served on a gluten-free seed cracker topped with fresh goat cheese and honey-roasted grapes).

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My petite mother. Isn’t she cute?

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Spicy Peach Salsa

Sides & Starters | July 10, 2014 | By

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On Tuesday, Marta and I decided to try our hand at barbecuing, and once again it turned out to be quite the story. If you remember, the last time I tried to barbecue, I ended up with soot all over my arms and a mild case of smoke inhalation. So after much debating, we decided to give our charcoal grill another try… this time with lighter fluid. (We chose an odorless lighter fluid with less preservatives in efforts to be as natural as possible. One day we will succeed at lighting the coals without fluid, but alas, we are no grilling masters … yet).

We followed the instruction on the lighter fluid to the letter, yet the coals refused to light. So again, I checked in with my brother for grilling tips. Excerpts of our phone and text conversation went something like the following:

Me: “The coals refuse to catch on fire. We used lighter fuel and everything.”

Michael: “Did you put the lid on the grill? You shouldn’t do that since it can choke the fire.”

Me: “Oh….”

and later over text when I sent him a picture of our grill:

Michael: “You have too few coals … You have barely enough to even cover the bottom with a single layer of charcoal. That means the fire will not be hot enough and probably burn out too quickly.”

Me: “Oh, so add more then?”

So while obviously you can tell I’m no grilling expert, we managed to get quite a nice burn going… and it only took us a little over an hour!

That night, we feasted on wonderful homemade burgers (Marta’s special recipe) topped spicy peach salsa. I love this salsa because it combines the best of what’s in season into the perfect, fresh summer salsa. Marta and I ended up eating most of the salsa with chips while we waited for our grill to light, but it pairs perfectly with a juicy burger and IPA.

Cheers!

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Spicy Peach Salsa

2 Yellow Peaches

1 Jalapeño

2 Medium Limes

2 Mint Sprigs

Directions:

Finely dice peaches, jalapeño and mint. Squeeze limes* into the peaches and mix.

*Note: Roll the limes against a hard surface before squeezing to help release the juices.

Happy Fiesta Friday everyone! :)

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Honey Ham And Kale Salad

Sides & Starters | April 17, 2014 | By

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This recipe came together completely by accident one night while on “Mission: Eat Out of the Freezer.” Since moving in with Marta, I’ve been trying to get rid of, or at the very least, decrease the amount of food I store in my pantry and freezer. I still make my weekly trips for fresh fruits and vegetables, but hey, at least my pile of canned goods and organic noodles is dwindling.

About a week ago, I opened the freezer wondering what I could eat for dinner when I spotted a chunk of frozen ham my mom “forced” upon me a few months back. My mom recently confessed that she still thinks I’m a starving college student, which is probably the main reason whenever I leave her house, I leave with BAGS of pre-made meals and groceries. No complaints here!

Following my ham find, my thought process went something like this:

Ham! I wonder how long I’ve had this? Is it still good? Does it pass the sniff test? Hmm, still smells good. But, does cured, cooked then frozen things really ever go bad? What the heck am I going to do with such a large chunk? Maybe Marta* will eat some…

This warmed salad has quickly made it’s way to my favorites list and it’s so simple to make. Here’s to hoping there’s some leftover Easter ham on Sunday!

Cheers!

*This recipe is Marta-approved.

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Honey Ham and Kale Salad

Ham, about a fist-sized piece, diced

3 Tbsp. Organic Honey

1 Cup Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half

6 Oz Organic Kale, rinsed

Directions:

Lightly oil and heat a pan on high heat. Lower heat to medium and add ham and honey, tossing lightly until honey begins to liquefy. Meanwhile, chop kale into one inch strips. Add cherry tomatoes and kale to the pan. Continue tossing until the kale turns a bright green and is fully mixed in the honey and ham mixture. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

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