Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

Two co-workers were talking about the best kale salad ever at this fancy restaurant downtown — Oak. They both noted that it was most memorable part of their meal. The salad. Can you believe that?!

That conversation got my mind going, and somehow I invented a story in my head about that salad. In my mind, it had pecans, dates, and even bacon. It wasn’t just kale, there were other greens to lighten it up. And the dressing was tangy and sweet but not overpowering. I thought about that salad so much that I went ahead and made it (because why not?).

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale
Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

It wasn’t until I went to write this post that I remembered the original inspiration (Oak’s famous salad), and figured I should probably look up what their kale salad actually contains. Boy was I off the mark!

Shaved Apple & Kale Salad. Grana Padano, togarashi, candied almonds.

Say what??! Kale, apples, cheese, candied nuts, you have me on the edge of my seat! But then, Togarashi?!

I guess I have to just go try the original. Until then, I’m going to pretend my own kale salad is just as famous.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

Published October 4, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:


For the Salad:
  • 4 kale leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup romaine, shredded
  • 1 cup radicchio, shredded
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, cooled and chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle lightly with oil and a sprinkle of salt. Using your hands, “massage” the kale, rubbing the leaves with your hands until they are bright green and tender. This will make them easier to eat.
    2. Add shredded romaine and radicchio to the bowl, and toss to combine. Add bacon, dates, and pecans.
    3. Combine first four ingredients for vinaigrette in a small jar and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad to your tastes and toss. Serve.

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Boise is surrounded by golden hills, many of them charred by grass fires. But don’t be deceived: just and hour north, you’ll be among the trees, an hour further and the grass turns green, and just thirty minutes more, you’ll come around the bend into McCall and spot Payette lake, backdropped by Brundage Mountain. This is where we spent the end of August— in a cabin with family. 

    We visited just two weeks after the annual huckleberry festival, but there were plenty of wild blackberries at the farmers market still, something you don’t see much of in the front range of Colorado! So of course, I had to take that inspiration and run with it— creating a massive list of things to make (yes, I do seem to have a thing for lists). And perhaps I’ll plant some berries in my yard next spring... blackberries, blueberries, and gooseberries too. 

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash
    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Between blackberries, we hit the trails, exploring the Payette Lake peninsula and Bear Basin on mountain bikes. On the hottest day, we rented a paddle board and kayak— the river north of town is breathtaking. 

    McCall is truly a gem of a mountain town! Outdoor enthusiasts— put this on your list. You get the strangest feeling riding your bike through the woods, like you’ve been transported to the Red Wood Forest, minus the heat! I'll be sharing a few pictures in my monthly newsletter in just a few days -- sign up here

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

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



    Ingredients:

    Baked Ricotta:
  • 2 cups of full fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons Parmesan (divided in 2 parts)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A few cracks pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Blackberry-Thyme Smash:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • For serving: crackers, crostinis, and/or crudités of choice

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 50-ounce capacity (about 3 cups) ramekin, baking dish, or cheese baker with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
    2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
    3. Using a spatula, transfer the cheese mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan. (Note: Do not over fill your baking dish. Make the cheese level or below the top rim of the baking dish (if needed, divide the cheese between two baking dishes. This will prevent overflow and a mess in your oven!).
    4. Place in oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Parmesan on top should begin to turn golden.
    5. While the cheese is cooking, make the Blackberry-Thyme Smash: place 1 cup black berries, leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme, juice of 1/2 lemon, pinch of salt, and honey in a bowl and mash with a fork until a saucy, jammy mixture is created. Add in remaining 1/2 cup whole berries (for texture).
    6. Spoon Blackberry Smash mixture over baked cheese, and top with a sprig of thyme as garnish. Serve while cheese is still warm with crackers, crostinis, or crudités.

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread
    Sage

    Make my coffee, and head to the garden -- this has become my morning routine. I'm hoping to share a slice of that with you in the next week or so (currently going through a pile of photos)! But today, here's one recent discovery I've had: sage in corn bread. 

    I've put hatch chilies in corn bread, jalapeños, fresh corn kernels, and even sautéd red onion, but never sage. But the sage is exploding the herb garden, so I've been scratching my head trying to come up with summery things to make with it (I'm not quite ready for a fall themed sausage or a roast chicken, which would require me to turn on the oven, and stuffing season is still a ways off). So why not? Throw that sage in corn bread (which I bake in our toaster oven (affiliate link!), in the garage, to keep the house nice and cool).

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Warm, with a pat butter, this corn bread makes for an absolutely delicious side served with chili, soups, or even barbeque beans! I'll eat it with a fried egg for breakfast, too. You could also bake each loaf in a mini-loaf pan, topped with a single sage leaf, and gift them to friends and neighbors. 

    If you grow your own sage, or know someone that does, this recipe is a must-make in late summer or early fall, and it turns out so pretty! 

    Enjoy! 

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread
    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Gluten-Free Sage & Honey Corn Bread

    Published August 30, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 30-40 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled + 1 pat of butter for greasing pan
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, minced plus 6 whole sage leaves for top of bread

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place 1 pat of butter in the a 10-inch pan (a pie pan, an oven-safe cast iron skillet, or a baking dish) and place in oven while it preheats.
    2. In a medium size mixing bowl, stir together the corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. Add yogurt, butter, egg, and honey, and stir using a rubber spatula until a batter forms. Fold in minced sage.
    4. Using oven mitts, pull baking pan from oven. Tilt it back and forth to grease the pan evenly. Pour batter into pan, spreading into even layer with a spatula. Arrange the 6 whole sage leaves on top as desired.
    5. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes (shorter time is needed for a cast iron pan — more for a glass dish). Test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle. The toothpick should come out clean, and the top of the bread should be golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes and serve with butter and honey.