warm kale salad with caramelized shallots, pine nuts and apple

this is a post about salad, but before we dive into that kale goodness above lets talk about dining room tables.  because it’s pretty much all i can think about. and if i harass lou about it any more we may end up in counseling. last night we cleared all of the miscallaneous crap out of the dining room that was lingering since the move (only 5 months later!) and hung all our art. when the dust settled i realized that the perfect table for our room is one i have spent years lusting over!  it’s the saarinen tulip table (see it in spaces here and here). we picked up a vintage saarinen tulip side table years ago (for a steal because of a chip on one side that we happily cover up with a plant) and that white marble gem makes me happy every time i look at it, so can you even imagine my level of joy if we had 8 FEET OF IT IN OUR DINING ROOM!? i can, obviously.  and how pretty does food look on marble?  it tasted 40% better too (yes, i did eat off the side table. i have no shame). now we just need to stumble on one with a chip.  preferrably on the underside. that shaves about $6500 off the price.  ok then. kale…. 

recipe after the jump…

warm kale salad is so good for those days when you want to get something green and healthy in you but also crave the warmth of a cooked meal!  this one is easy and perfect for a light and satisfying lunch. truth be told it’s not the prettiest (or at least my hastily thrown together one wasn’t), but it sure is tasty!

the what:

one giant bunch of kale or 1 1/2 small/medium bunches

3 medium shallots

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 sweet apple (like pink lady)

grape seed oil

for the dressing:

3 tablespoons tahini

2 cloves garlic, minced

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon agave 

1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other light oil)

water 

sea salt

the how:

preheat over to 375

cut kale into large pieces, removing most of the stem

toss in grape seed oil, sprinkle with sea salt,  place on roasting sheets and set aside

thinly slice shallots and start to caramelize in a well oiled frying pan on low/medium heat

while the shallots are caramelizing chop the apple into tiny bits and place in a large serving bowl with the pine nuts

keep an eye on the shallots-  stir every once in a bit but give them time to brown and sweeten- lower your heat if they’re cooking too fast or burning!  

combine the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl – add water to thin the mixture to a dressing consistency you’re pleased with 

when you think the shallots are almost done it’s time to get that kale in the oven! cook it until it’s warmed through but remove before it gets too crispy on the edges.  chop into smaller pieces and mix with shallots, apple and pine nuts.  dress individually, and enjoy! 

vegan pesto

you know what’s better than homemade pesto?  NOTHING!  i want to eat it by the spoonful it’s just so damn yummy!  it’s also brilliantly simple- you’ll kick yourself for not making it before.  there are a million and one things to do with it once you’ve got it, and tomorrow i’ll post my first suggestion. as with all simple recipes- use the highest quality and freshest ingredients you can get your mitts on. and lastly: anyone who thinks you need parmesan cheese to make an incredible pesto is dead wrong. save money, your arteries and cows- try it vegan!

the what:

3 cups fresh basil, sans stems

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

4 small/medium cloves of garlic

sea salt

the how: throw it all in a food processor and blend.  add salt to taste. show no restraint.