Massaged Kale Salad with Carrots, Raisins, Scallions & Toasted Cashews

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I know, I know, another kale salad. But I just love this combo. Sweet and earthy. Crunchy too. The best part is that I use both lemon and lime juice to massage the kale. Perfection.

Serves 1 to 2

1 bunch lacinato kale
1/2 avocado
The juice of 1/2 lemon
The juice of 1/2 lime
1 carrot
1 scallion
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup raisins
Salt, a pinch

Preheat the oven to 300. Toast the cashews until fragrant and browned, about 10 minutes. But keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Tear the kale off the stems and clean well. Cut or tear into small pieces.

In a big bowl, add the kale, avocado, lemon and lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Get in there with your hands and massage the whole thing together until the kale feels softer.

Grate the carrot. Slice the scallions and toss them into the kale along with the cashews and raisins. Mix well and Enjoy!

Blue Plate Special #43: Pan Seared Tofu Topped with Cherry Shallot Confit, Roasted Potatoes & Glazed Carrots

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Confit sounds fancy, right? But it’s not. Check out this recipe on epicurious.com. Confit is a French term for “various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation.” This cherry confit is perfect for tofu because it adds a huge flavor punch. I keep the sides simple so they don’t compete with the confit. Super delicious and filling!

Note: the cherries require a 30 minute soaking time so be sure to leave yourself enough time or prepare the confit ahead of time.

Cherry Shallot Confit 
3/4 cup dried sour cherries
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons vegan cane sugar
S and P, to taste

Soak the cherries in the vinegars for 30 minutes.

Thinly slice the shallots. Add them and the olive oil to a pan with sides. With the heat on medium, cook the shallots until soft.

Sprinkle the shallots with the sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The sugar will get bubbly and start to caramelize the shallots.

Add the cherries, along with the vinegars, to the shallots and simmer uncovered until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Potatoes
1/2 lb. red fingerling potatoes
Olive oil
S and P, to taste

Cut potatoes in half. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in 400 oven until browned, about 30 minutes.

Glazed Carrots
4 carrots
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Peel and slice the carrots on the bias. Cover in a small pot with water and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until just fork tender.

Drain the carrots and add back to pot. Mix in Earth Balance, agave, and lemon juice and heat through until a glaze forms.

Tofu
1 box firm tofu
Sunflower oil

Press the tofu for as long as you have time for. Cut into 4 pieces (cut in half and then cut the halves in half again.) Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. When hot, add the tofu and sear on the first side and then flip for the second side.

Place the tofu on the plate and top with the confit. Add carrots and potatoes. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Carrots & Crispy Capers

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For my blogiversary, I decided to make something really fancy! Well, actually, this is a VERY easy and super quick lunch or dinner. This key is to make as much as you need, so check out my measurements but figure out how much you want to make based on how many mouths you are feeding and how big the vegetables are.

To make this cute little spaghetti tower, I used this totally cool kitchen food ring mold. I once saw a chef make a tower of food on Chopped and I figure that I am a good enough home cook to figure out how to use it too. The Brussels sprouts and carrots come out as the tower is pulled apart.

These measurements made 8 towers, serving 4 adults.

Note: There is hardly any heat in this dish (temperature-wise) so expect to eat it warm.

24 medium Brussels sprouts
2 big carrots
1 package spaghetti
Olive oil
S and P
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup sunflower oil

Cut the nub off at the end of the Brussels sprouts and then cut in half. Place the flat side down and slice them thinly. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the first layer off the carrots and discard. Then keep going with the peeler to make long, thin slices. (Go as far as you can. You will be left with the core of the carrot. Use the core for homemade stock.)

Get the pasta going.

Heat a 1/4 cup sunflower oil in a shallow pan. Add the capers and fry for about a minute. Drain into a small strainer over a cup or jar to catch the oil so it is easy to discard.

Sauté the Brussels sprouts and carrots until softening, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the spaghetti with the vegetables. If you are not using a ring mold, just top each portion with capers and serve.

Place the ring mold on a plate. Use tongs to gently place spaghetti mixture into the mold as high as possible. Press the top down and then slide the bottom out. Top with capers and enjoy!

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