Crispy Kale Salad with Farro

Move over arugula, it seems Kale has become the new ‘it girl’ of leafy greens. And not just on the Upper East Side. (Gossip Girl reference, couldn’t resist! Is anyone else a fan? Can Chuck and Blair please get back together?!! Ok I’m digress, apologies). Anyway, I’m finding kale all over the place; bagged (sometimes boxed), pre-washed and sold as salad greens to crisped, salted and sold as chips. Will kale hold the spotlight for more than just 15 minutes? If this recipe’s any indication than I think so.

I love these a-ha type recipes that make me think about a food in a whole new way, which is exactly what I found here. Yes I’ve seen the bagged kale chips but never really thought much about making a version myself. Something about the words ‘kale’ and ‘chips’ strung together didn’t exactly wet my appetite. But when I read 101 Cookbooks blog and cookbook auther Heidi Swanson’s recipe for this Kale Salad, I was enticed. A food combination I’d never have conceived of. Here she spreads kale evenly on a baking sheet and bakes it at a high temperature to crisp it up. Tossed in an Asian dressing with toasty coconut flakes is a totally unique way of preparing this uber-healthy leafy green and I just loved it.

crispy kale salad with farro

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs shoyu (or tamari)
  • 3 1/2 cups lightly packed cups chopped kale, stems trimmed, large ribs removed
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened large coconut flakes
  • 2 cups cooked farro

1. Preheat oven to 350 with two racks in the top third of oven.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil and shoyu. Put kale and coconut in a large bowl and toss well with about 2/3 of the olive-oil mixture.

3. Spread kale evenly across the two baking sheets. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way. If the kale mixture on the top baking sheet begins to get too browned, move it to the lower rack.

4. Remove from oven and transfer kale mixture to a medium bowl. Taste. If you feel it needs more dressing, add some and toss. Serve warm.

Recipe from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson

Cabbage, Chickpea, and Tomato Soup

Dear Cabbage,

Please accept my sincere apologies for highly underestimating you, for close-mindidly deeming you useful only for cole slaw, and for making you wait months in the vegetable bin before finally putting you to good use.

If only I’d known how when cooked down in a soup you become meltingly tender to a downright ridiculously addictive point, perhaps I wouldn’t have shown such blatant favoritism toward your Brassica cousins. I only hope my ignorance hasn’t caused you too much pain, though if you’d like the name of a good therapist I can happily pass one along.

You’ve no doubt been aware of my recent Ottolenghi obession and how much I’m loving his recipes from Plenty. So please take this as a huge compliment when I say I truly believe the addition of your shredded self greatly improved his recipe for chickpea and tomato soup! See, his recipe was actually for chickpea, tomato and bread soup, which presented a food guilt dilemma on my part (how I hate those). You know how I simply cannot enjoy a bowl of soup without a huge hunk of bread alongside. Olive oil-drizzled, garlic-rubbed bread preferably. So my issue was – if there’s bread in the soup, and alongside the soup (a given), will I have a food guilt (i.e. too much bread) issue? Thus I skipped the toasted bread cubes, rummaged around my produce bins and found you lurking in the back, displaced after a last-minute menu change from a few months back.

Your contribution to this soup was so outstanding that I’d like to give you a title promotion. How do you like the sound of ‘Director of Underrated Vegetables’? Maybe you could work with Parsnip over there, I mean I know the season’s changed and all but there’s gotta be something we can do.

In any case, I hope you’ll at least accept my apology because I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again real soon.

Best, All Seasons Cuisine

P.S. – Buon Appetito!

cabbage, chickpea, and tomato soup

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thick outer layer removed, sliced
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, cut lengthwise in half and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 14oz can Italian plum or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 Tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbs thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
  • 4 Tbs basic basil pesto (freshly made preferred but store-bought is ok)

1. Heat 3-4 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel and cabbage. Season with salt. Saute until cabbage begins to break down and onion begins to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and let it reduce 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, herbs, sugar, stock, and some more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently 30 minutes.

3. Add half the chickpeas to a food processor with 2 Tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt. Puree until you have a hummus-like puree. Stir puree into the soup. Add remaining whole chickpeas into the soup and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like.

4. To serve, remove bay leaves, and ladle soup into bowls and add dollops of the basil pesto.

Serve with toasted garlic bread.

Serves 4-6

Loosely adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

Green Couscous

One of the best things about cooking is the bond it creates between people. People who love food love to talk about food and it makes for an instant connection. I was humbled this week by the remarks from a potential employer (I was interviewing for the job), who said to me in so many words ‘I really like that you cook. It tells me you’re nurturing, dedicated, and creative.’ A passionate cook himself, the next few minutes passed quickly swapping recommendations for food writers, cookbooks and the like. Hopefully he found some of my other talents equally impressive.

In any case, I found it quite gratifying to realize this mutual respect that cooks share. We are nurturing. We cook not only because we love food but because we love those who we share it with. We take great pride in our culinary confections. We are fearless in experimenting with strange ingredients and new techniques, stubborn and relentless until they’re perfected. We are sponges for food knowledge, never complacent, feasting on the sheer joy that cooking brings us. In short, we are pretty cool.

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Ottolenghi’s Lentils with Broiled Eggplant

I got a new cookbook! In foodie world, this is considered most exciting news. The concept of ‘foodie world’ amuses me. I often forget that outside foodie world, things like say, Cook’s Illustrated, Tastespotting, or Giada DeLaurentiis, are neither common knowledge nor truly exciting. How sad right? Glad I don’t live there! For instance, the grocery I frequent has Giada coming next week for a book signing and they’ve got flyers at every register advertising the event. And still when I exclaimed to my cashier, ‘Wow, Giada’s coming here?!’ I was met with a blank stare and a puzzled ‘who’? This is what I mean, said cashier needs to take a trip to foodie world.

But I digress. My new cookbook is fantastic! It’s everything I love about a cookbook, mouth-watering photography, inspiring food concepts and a multitude of recipes perfect for each season. And even better, I got this latest cookbook for free! Yep, that’s right. I won a raffle the other week (I know, who does that?) and the prize was a Barnes and Noble giftcard. And in foodie world, is there really any question what one uses a raffle-winning Barnes and Noble giftcard for? Right. Besides I already have the Hunger Games trilogy.

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Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Pastitsio

Yes spring is springing and yes this is All Seasons Cuisine seasonal food blog and yes this photo is more reminiscent of winter comfort fare than said springing season BUT … ah well. This dish was simply too darn good not to post. And I didn’t factor global warming into my menu planning. Who knows, maybe winter will be back for one last blast, in which case you’ll know exactly what to make for dinner!

I have long hand-written lists of recipes I want to try each season. My spring list has been in the works since last month. These lists are constantly being updated and rewritten. (Yes by hand. I’m antiqued. I like it that way, and I prefer keeping my life as gadget-free as possible, at least for now). This recipe didn’t make the cut last winter. Not for any reason other than there are always quite simply too few nights and too many recipes to try each season. After trying it out, I know last winter will be the last winter we don’t enjoy this dish. It’s what I call a seasonal keeper. And for good reason. So if you’re like me (anyone? maybe just 1 other person as food-obsessed as I?), add this to your running list for next winter. Or throw caution to the wind to make it in July! So long as you promise you’ll try it.

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Individual Beef Wellingtons

I mentioned these the other day and promised a post. So, voila! Backstory – a couple weeks ago was hubby’s birthday and he specifically requested this dish. For breakfast. Kidding. For dinner of course. That’s what I get for asking! I had neither eaten nor cooked this before so I knew I needed to do my homework to get it right.

Luckily, Chef Gordon Ramsey produced this snappy little 2 minute video on Beef Wellington that I found online! After a couple views, it didn’t seem all that hard. And honestly it wasn’t, but it does take longer to pull it off than it does watching Gordon Ramsey pull it off. And you have to provide your own peppy background music. I did some additional research (more youtube, thank you youtube you are wonderful for this sort of thing) and opted to go a more traditional duxelle (that’s the mushroom paste) route, reducing it down with white wine first and then cream. And is that stuff ever good! How had I never even heard of it before?! You could slather it on stale crackers and be in heaven.

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Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash

One of the year’s biggest eating weeks in our house doesn’t even take place during the month of December. Or over Thanksgiving. It’s (usually) the third week in February, during which we celebrate both Valentine’s Day and my husbands birthday over the span of a few days. For Valentines I made this Seared Duck Breast over these Peanut Sesame Noodles. A couple nights later (for his birthday) I made the most outrageous Beef Wellington. Then over the weekend I threw a birthday brunch party complete with this mushroom-bacon frittata, baked french toast, and topped it all off with a nice and light German Chocolate Cake. So you could say, it’s time for some detox (I suppose).

Which brings us to the black bean and butternut squash chili, just the ticket after a week of heavy eating. Dried black beans are simmered to tenderness in a smokey-spicy chipotle laced broth with fire-roasted tomatoes. Add cooked butternut squash cubes and your favorite chili garnishes and you have a cleanse in a bowl, no cayenne-cabbage juice-soup concoctions needed. And you’ll get a weeks worth of cleanse-lunches too, because this makes a huge pot of chili.

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