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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    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    An unopened bottle of orange blossom water had been occupying precious real estate in our fridge for months as I debated the best thing to do with it. Finally I opened the bottle, just to smell. One whiff is all it took, and my thoughts were drifting away on a cloud of delicate blooms — soft and white, immensely fragrant. From that cloud, I landed in a darkly lit room, sitting at a large round table surrounded by smiling faces. My tenth birthday party.

    We perch on round, gilded pillows at a low table. Silky fabrics hang from the ceiling, lining the walls and giving the room a sense of mystery. Someone has given me a warm, floral-scented cloth for cleaning my hands. A waiter is sprinkling us ceremoniously with orange blossom water, and the droplets land on my shoulders like the sweetest rain that ever rained. Talk about feeling like Queen for the day.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    There are candles artfully lighting the space, but the most notable ones are balancing on a women’s body. A belly dancer. She gracefully juggles fire from her head to her elbows and back again, never missing a beat. We eat couscous, chicken with almonds, and b’stella pastry (a dish my dad would later take to making at home).

    When it is time for tea, it is time for the greatest show of all. The waiter stacks drinking flutes in a pyramid. He makes a show of pouring the mint concoction from an ornate tea pot, starting with the top glass, and pouring until it pools over, filling the next two. The cascade continues, until each glass is full. (In my mind, the memory is almost a dream-state. I can’t quite figure out the physics of these glasses. How is it that they only spill in two directions? Did they have little spouts? Did he actually pour into glasses individually, and it is my memory that falters?)

    We each take a glass and sip. It is, to this day, glorified as the best cup of mint tea I’ve ever had.

    To say the least, I’ve been on a Moroccan food kick since I stole a breath of that orange blossom water in the fridge. I bought The Food of Morocco (affiliate link) and searched for something reminiscent of that day. I bought harissa paste and slivered almonds and actually started to use the orange blossom water.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato
    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    The flavors of Moroccan food are so different from what you find in other cuisines. Flowers take on a large role. Both roses and orange blossoms. Herbs are used fresh. Citrus is a star of the show. Lamb, goat, cumin, paprika; Roses, pomegranate, dried fruits.

    But, this stew is not traditional. It was never supposed to be. Rather, it’s approachable. It’s a one-pot wonder that has been Americanized, Instant Pot-ized, and everyday dinner-ized. It doesn’t ask you to buy a bottle of orange blossom water, which you would surely have to get at a specialty store (or on Amazon (affiliate link), like me). It also calls for quinoa in place of couscous (Couscous is a hand rolled pasta, so not GF, despite it’s millet-y looking appearance). The recipe calls for ingredients you know, but combines them with Moroccan flare in mind. Cumin — lots of cumin. Paprika. Turmeric. And cinnamon, a small amount, something we rarely add to savory dishes here in the US.

    I know it’s starting to look a lot like spring in somewhere, but here — and lots of places - it will still be winter for at least a month. On a snowy evening, this stew is absolutely warming and cozy. Just my style.

    For the curious: The restaurant I had my tenth birthday at, Boulder’s Mataam Fez, has since closed. There is a Mataam Fez in Denver that provides a similar (but IMO, not quite as magical) experience. Plan to make an evening of it.

    Instant Pot Moroccan Stew with Chicken, Quinoa, Chickpeas & Sweet Potato

    Published March 5, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cubed
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, strained
  • 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For serving: minced parsley or cilantro

  • Directions:

    1. In the bottom of an Instant Pot, heat coconut oil using the Sauté setting. When oil glistens, add onion, garlic, ginger and celery and sauté until onion is transparent.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
    3. Secure lid on Instant Pot and press the “Manual” button. Set to “high pressure” (labeled “more” on some models) and set timer for 1 minute with vent in the sealed position.
    4. When the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and allow it to set for 10 minutes with out releasing the steam. This will ensure the quinoa is cooked through.
    5. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. Stir, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

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    Soft & Chewy Flourless Ginger Tahini Cookies

    Soft & Chewy Ginger Tahini Cookies

    In January, well after holiday season was over, a client sent a big box of Tate's Cookies to the office, where they filled the kitchen counter for half a week. It was the worst (but also the best) kind of way to kick off January. I had been wanted to make a gingery version of these tahini chocolate chip cookies for some time -- I even had made a batch over the holidays that didn't quite work out. Despite it being peak resolution season, that counter full of cookies was just the push I needed to dive back into recipe development. 

    The dream: a chewy, rich, flourless ginger cookie with chunks of crystallized ginger. 

    I knew that tahini would be the perfect base, but my first attempt used far too much molasses and the cookies were WAY too soft. I learned, on that attempt, that coconut sugar really imparts enough molasses-y flavor anyhow, as it's unrefined so still carries all of the minerals that are stripped from refined sugars when molasses is made. 

    Soft & Chewy Ginger Tahini Cookies
    Soft & Chewy Ginger Tahini Cookies

    Tips for making these chewy tahini ginger cookies: 

    • STIR THAT TAHINI. This is in all caps because it's no joke. Tahini separates fast and if your tahini is all oil or all solids you're batter won't work. Last time I published a tahini cookie recipe someone asked about how to best stir tahini, which is a really good question because it's not the easiest to stir. But don't worry! Just scrape the entire jar into a blender, and let it rip. OR, carefully put your immersion blender into your tahini container (this is what I do, but also can foresee what a mess this might make in the wrong circumstances) 

    • Let them cool. Really! I too like hot-out-of-the-oven cookies, but these cookies need a minute to set up. More like 5-10. They'll still be warm, and they'll stay soft for a week at room temperature. BUT, if you try to pick one up while it's still piping hot it will just collapse and melt in your hand (if you can even get it into your hand). 

    Ok, "mom" warnings over. Now, the recipe! 

    Soft & Chewy Ginger Tahini Cookies

    Soft & Chewy Flourless Ginger Tahini Cookies

    Published February 21, 2019 by
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    Yields: 16   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup tahini (stirred very well - try blending it with your blender if it is separated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger grated on a microplane
  • Optional: 1/3 cup ginger chips (like this - affiliate link) or finely chopped crystallized ginger

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Whisk briefly.
    3. Add tahini, vanilla, egg, and fresh ginger to bowl, and use a spatula to stir until a stiff, sticky batter forms.
    4. Optional: place bowl of batter in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow dough to stiffen a bit more.
    5. Using your hands, roll dough into spheres by the heaping tablespoonful. Place spheres at least 2 inches apart of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and flatted slightly with your fingers.
    6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies have spread and are golden. Cookies will still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool at least 10 minutes before attempting to move them to a cooling wrack or a plate.

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