Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sauteed Kale Caprese

Welcome to another edition of What I’ve Been Eating for a Week Straight.  I think of this as a salad but it could easily be a side dish.  Whatever it is, I have found myself preparing this easy, delightful meal for lunch on the daily this summer.  It’s…lovely.  Light and clean and balanced.  It just makes you feel good.  Unpolluted, if you will.

We’ve been eating a lot more produce and a lot less meat lately.  It’s cheaper, which is great.  But first and foremost, after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives”, we felt compelled to make some changes to our diet.  (If you have netflix you can view it on streaming.  I highly recommend it.)   Hot dogs, blocks of cheese, and pepperoni really should not be constants in the refrigerator if you know what I mean.

We have not gone vegan, nor vegetarian, and I very much doubt we ever will.  I honestly would rather take a shortened lifespan than give up dairy.  I do loves my cheese.  But we are eating a whole lot more leafy greens, vegetables in general, and plant based proteins than ever before and that is a good thing.

You can prepare this salad in about 3 minutes.

First, mince a couple cloves of garlic and chop up a plum tomato.  Or you could use a handful of cherry tomatoes if you have them on hand – even easier!

Pour a couple tablespoons olive oil in a big, deep pan and heat over Medium High.  This is my stir fry pan – it works perfectly.

When the oil just begins to faintly smoke, add in as much chopped kale as will fit in your pan.  It’s going to reduce down in volume in just a second here.  To save time, I buy the pre-chopped, pre-washed kale in the bag.  Lunch at my house is a hectic time, man.

…Blurry, sorry…  Once the kale has gotten a little bit more manageable, maybe 30 seconds in, add in the garlic and the tomatoes.  I don’t throw the garlic in first on this one because everything goes so hot and fast it’s too easy to burn it.

After about another minute, remove your greens and other loveliness to a plate and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Salt is important in this dish!  You want salt.  Salt is good.

Next, top with a couple slices of fresh mozzarella.  The heat from the greens will just start to melt the cheese… mmmm nummy.  Again – to save time – I buy the pre-sliced stuff they sell at Sam’s Club.  I normally only top with two slices… but that makes for a bad picture so you see three here.

And lastly, drizzle the whole thing with a little balsamic glaze.  You can buy balsamic glaze at the grocery store (ours stocks it with the other vinegars), or you can make your own by  reducing a 16 oz bottle of balsamic vinegar over low-medium heat down to about 1/2 a thick, syrupy cup.  (If you’re making your own, make sure to do it on a day when you can open the windows or your whole house will smell like vinegar!)

I took the photo above out on my deck with the baby running around me with a train in hand (if you look closely you can see her).  We sat outside in the beautiful sunshine and shared our good, wholesome food.  Just a simple, happy afternoon.  Hope you all get to do the same today 🙂

Enjoy!

Sauteed Kale Caprese

4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 plum tomato, chopped (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

balsamic glaze for drizzling

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan (like a wok) over Medium High heat until the oil faintly smokes.

Fill the pan with kale and, using tongs, turn it until all the kale starts to wilt, about 30 seconds.

Add in garlic and tomatoes, continuing to turn it until no raw bits of kale remain, about another 60 seconds.

Remove kale mixture to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Top with mozzarella and balsamic glaze.

Serve immediately.

Serves 1 as a main dish, 2-4 as a side

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Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

This is an incredibly easy, colorful, flavorful, textural summer salad experience. I’ve eaten it two days in a row now for lunch.  And I may have it again tomorrow.  This might be a problem if it weren’t a salad.

And it all came about because I didn’t want to do dishes.

You see, the other day I was preparing some of The Pioneer Woman‘s BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers.  (Sorry no recipe link – it’s only in her first cookbook)  They are to die for and have become a party staple at our house because everyone just loves them.  I could eat six of them in five minutes.  You know, I could…not that I ever did, mind you…

Anyway,  my oven safe rack was already baconed up so I thought why not make some candied bacon?!?  If you’ve never had it, candied bacon is incredibly easy to make and mind-blowingly delicious.  And what better way to consume it than over a bed of healthy baby arugula?  Score!

Here’s everything you need right here – arugula, goat cheese, peaches, and the candied bacon (we’ll get to that part in a second).   Now, I was only making salad for myself so I only have one peach here.  I’d say one peach/person would be good.  For a main dish salad anyway.  For side salads probably half a peach would work for each.

For the candied bacon – just take some bacon slices (mine were pre-cut in halves for the poppers but they don’t have to be), and toss them around in some brown sugar.

I sorta cleaned my rack for this shot.

Place them on an oven safe rack over an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour or until done to your liking.  (You’ll want to watch them closely after that 30 minute mark as they go from wiggly to burnt in a very short amount of time.  I left mine in a couple minutes too long and they were a bit too dark for my taste.)

Don’t you just love it when your peaches are perfectly ripe and the skin just peels right off?  Nom.  Wonderful.

For the dressing I made a super quick mustardy vinaigrette.  This is everything you need right here.  I love vinaigrettes because they’re so easy to remember and freehand with whatever you’ve got lying around.  3 parts oil : 1 part acid (vinegar or lemon/lime juice) plus flavor additions.  I love how the slight sweetness of the apple cider vinegar compliments the bacon and peaches.

If you have a cruet like this one you get to go the easy route and just pour up to the lines.  If not, it’s still really quick and easy.  (And you don’t need to add water.  That’s what the “W” stands for.  I find adding even a little bit of water makes a vinaigrette too thin unless you plan on adding a ton of dry ingredients – like a packet of salad dressing mix or something.)

The peaches are sweet, tart, and succulent.  The goat cheese tangy, creamy, and smooth.  The arugula green and dry and slightly bitter.  The bacon salty, savory, sweet, and crispy.  Paired with a simple mustardy vinaigrette that brings it all together?  Perfect.

Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

8 cups baby arugula

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

6 slices bacon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven safe rack over it.

Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar and lay flat on rack.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until done to your liking.  Allow to cool and crumble.

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk (or shake, if you have a cruet) to emulsify.

Portion out arugula between 4 plates, top with goat cheese, peaches, and candied bacon.

Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Makes 4 main dish salads.

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