Kale Salad with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Sage-Butter Butternut Squash Kale Salad

It is noon-ish here in McCall, Idaho—our stomping grounds for the week—and the thermometer on the porch has yet to reach the 40°F mark. With weather like this, we have roasted a full chicken (maple butter chicken, to be exact), made enchilada soup (adapted this recipe), and even ate freshly baked pumpkin pie in front of the fireplace… for most of the US though, I know, it is not winter yet. This sage-butter butternut squash salad is what I was making while still at home, and will probably return to making when we get back.

I forgot one key ingredient for the photoshoot of this recipe: parmesan cheese! It went on shortly after. Butternut squash, pecans, and parm make this salad quite hearty. One day we had it for breakfast with a fried egg on top, another we ate it as lunch. It would also work as a side, served in a big bowl and tossed. Capers might seem like a curve ball ingredient, but since butternut squash, pecans, and currants are all a tad sweet, the capers add a necessary salty, brine-y pop.

Sage-Butter Butternut Squash Kale Salad
Kale Salad with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Kale Salad with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Published October 2, 2019 by
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Serves: 2 (as a meal) or 4 (as a side)   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:


For the butternut squash:
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2-inch cubes) butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 sage leaves
  • A few cracks black pepper
  • 1-2 three-finger pinches of salt

  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch green curly kale, chopped (optionally, remove stems)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 three-finger pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2-3 tablespoons capers, strained
  • Additional ground black pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

  • Directions:

    1. Cook the squash: heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom in butter. When butter is melted and starts to bubble, place butternut squash in pan. Cook, without stirring, for about 7 minutes. Add sage, and stir gently. Cook for 7-10 more minutes, stirring very occasionally, until butternut squash is golden on the edges and tender all the way through. Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Remove from heat.
    2. Meanwhile, prep the salad. Place chopped kale in large salad bowl and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Using your hands, rub the oil and salt into the kale leaves until they are tender and bright green (this makes them softer—better for eating). Divide kale among serving bowls, if using. Top with currants, toasted pecans, capers, and parmesan. Add butternut squash.
    3. Make vinaigrette: place all vinaigrette in a jar with a lid and shake to emulsify. Drizzle dressing to taste over salad.
    4. Serve salad immediately, season with black pepper to taste, and toss.

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    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Ina Garten’s recipe for parmesan polenta got me over my aversion for all things polenta. I had never been a fan of the gooey textured stuff before, but I had been missing something key: enough butter, cream, and parmesan. That, and the right toppings. This meal brings it all together—a creamy polenta base, which serves a two-part role as sauce and substance; and roasted summer veggies, which benefit from (and compliment) the creaminess of the rest of the dish; pine nuts, which add much-needed crunch. I’ve made it four times in the last month, a testament to how well I’ve been convert from polenta-hater to lover. Maybe it will convert someone you know, too.

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta
    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Published May 30, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For Roasted Summer Veggies:
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1-2 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  • For Parmesan Polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground or stone ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • For Serving:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Garnish: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, additional sprigs of thyme

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare veggies: dice eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice zucchini into half moons. Slice bell peppers into strips. Slice red onion into wedges.
    2. Place chopped veggies and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer. Use two sheet pans if veggies are over-crowding the pan. Drizzle liberally with oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
    3. Place veggies in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
    4. When the veggies have 15 minutes left to cook, begin preparing the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add salt and garlic.
    5. When water is boiling, add cornmeal, whisking immediately to prevent clumps from forming. After a few minutes, polenta should begin to thicken. Continue whisking, and remove from heat. Continue stirring almost constantly for about 10 minutes.
    6. Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream to polenta, stirring to incorporate. Polenta should become thick and creamy, and will continue to set as it cools. Season to taste with pepper.
    7. Serve: scoop polenta into serving bowls, and top with roasted veggies. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan and a garnish with a sprig of thyme. Serve hot.

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    Eggplant Cannelloni

    Eggplant Cannelloni

    The last few months have been go, go, go, which has meant fewer posts to the blog, less time to photograph recipes, 😭 and learning to cut myself a break every once in a while.

    Somehow, yesterday was April and today it's September. September thirteenth. Back in April my mantra was, "You can't do literally everything," but somewhere between then and now, my mantra became nothing but a string of words, as I continued to ignore their meaning. So, today, I'm trying out this new mantra: Cut yourself a break. It means going easy on yourself when you've been trying your hardest. It means giving yourself a pass when you need it most.

    Eggplant Cannelloni

    In the midst of my mantra-creating and mantra-forgetting, our stockpile of eggplants has been growing: Not a day goes by that I don't have at least three of them sitting in our fruit bowl, staring me back. This year I planted six varieties, next year I'll plant two: Fengyuan and Black Beauty. 

    • Edirne - these were the first to fruit, but they're my least favorite to eat. other than their pretty green and purple stripes, they are just a little bitter and not as tasty.

    • Antigua - these are my favorite to look at but they are quite small, better for slicing in half and roasting with some harissa or something of the sort.

    • Fengyuan - my most copious producer, I freakin' love these eggplants. They are long (17 inches!), skinny and usually make a "J" shape. They are absolutely delicious when stir fried with some garlic and Thai basil.

    • Ping Tung - I also like these for stir fries, but for whatever reason I prefer the Fengyuan... no need to grow both, they are so similar!

    • Black Beauty and Florida - speaking of similar, I can barely tell these two plants apart. I think I like the black beauty ones the most (we have gotten some massive eggplants from those plants). In any case, they are the best variety for recipes like this cannelloni, where you want wide strips, or this roasted eggplant salad. They're also the variety you usually find at the grocery store.

    Ok, don't quote me on the only growing two varieties thing. But those are my favorite so far this season. Have you ever grow eggplants? What were your favorite varieties? 

    Basket of Eggplants from the Garden
    Eggplant Cannelloni

    Normally I'd suggest serving this with a glass of red, but I happened to also be making a batch of this Fig & Pear White Wine Sangria, so of course I had to have a glass of that instead. 

    P.S., if you like this recipe, you'll LOVE this Zucchini Ricotta Manicotti. 😋

    Eggplant Cannelloni

    Published September 13, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6-8   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 pound beef
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Light grill set flame to medium. Slice eggplant into strips the long way. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil, and them place on grill, cooking for about 5 minutes before flipping. Eggplant slices should have char marks on the outside and be softened through. Remove from heat, turn off grill, and set eggplant aside.
    2. Heat coconut oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat until it glistens. Add diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until onions are transparent.
    3. Add beef to skillet. Brown beef, using a wooden spatula to create crumbles as it cooks. When beef is browned, add 1/2 cup marinara sauce to the pan and stir. Turn off heat.
    4. Allow beef mixture and eggplant to cool just enough so they can be handled before proceeding to next step. (Warm is fine, just avoid burning yourself!)
    5. Prepare baking dish: spread remaining 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x9 or 7x12 baking dish.
    6. Work with one eggplant strip at a time. Lay it out in front of you, with the short end towards you, and place about 2 tablespoons of beef mixture in the center of the strip. Roll the strip around the beef, rolling in the opposite direction of your body. Place rolled eggplant in the baking dish, with the “seam” down. Repeat this step until all eggplant strips are used.
    7. Sprinkle top of cannelloni with mozzarella and then parmesan, and place in oven. Set broiler to high and broil for 5-10 minutes, until cheese and sauce are bubbling. Serve hot.

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