Fresh and Easy Salsa

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Put me in front of a bowl of chips and salsa, and it would take the strength of ten mules on steroids to pull me away. I’m serious. Chips and salsa are my go to snack…

Not saying it’s a good thing. Just sayin that your hand maaaaaay get gnawed on if you go for a chip or scoop of salsa while I’m diving in. Seriously. I can’t stop this dipping train!

And now that tomatoes are so prevalent in my garden, it’s time to get this crazy SALSA train started!!!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I used fresh roma tomatoes, but other varieties are juuuust fine. Plus, I’ll tell you a secret. This recipe can even be made in the winter with (gasp) canned tomatoes.  I have used some that I canned from my garden, but if you only have store-bought, go for the good kind! Muir Glen is my fave. The secret to this salsa is definitely good tomatoes AND lime juice.

I whip up my salsa using a food processor but if you love to chop chop chop, then feel free to dice away. I like to reserve my energy for diving head first into the salsa bowl. If you do end up chopping up the ingredients, your salsa will just be more chunky….which is what I’m going to be if I don’t get my face out of this bowl of chips and salsa soon!

Give me more!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 15 roma tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 jalapeños (chopped and seeds removed if you want mild salsa)
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times until tomatoes are fine diced. Transfer tomatoes to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Place chopped onion, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice to bowl of food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds or until everything is chopped fine. Transfer contents to the medium bowl with the tomatoes. Stir well and add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time.

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Plum Sorbet

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This week, I was the lucky recipient of a metric boat load of bite-sized cherry plums from a friend’s plum tree in her front yard!!!

So, what would YOU do with sacks and sacks of fresh tasty plums?  Well, besides pop them directly in your mouth…which happened a lot around here.

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I decided to try something new….

Plum sorbet, ya’ll! Come and get it! It’s muggy and sticky outside. That means it is perfect weather for a tangy scoop of honey-sweetened Plum sorbet! And it’s dairy free!

You could easily replace the plums in this recipe with another in season fruit, like blueberries or strawberries or peaches! This is So delicious.

Plum Sorbet / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

These plums that I used were perfectly tart and the honey provided juuuuust enough sweet balance. Also, I added a splash or two or three of champagne in the sorbet! Booze it up! Champagne or white wine in the sorbet provide the finished product a bubbly tang and help with the scoopability! Boom Boom!

Wait. This would be great as a Champagne Float! What? Yes please! If that is not a thing, it should be. Tip that pinky up, honey. Put your fancy hats on and get a big ol’ scoop of Plum Sorbet! Cheers!

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Plum Sorbet

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 cups sliced plums, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup champagne or white wine (or water)
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processors. Purée until the mixture becomes smooth. Pour the plum puree through a fine mesh sieve to catch large pieces of skin. Place mixture into refrigerator for 30 minutes (or overnight) to chill.
  2. Place the plum purée into the bowl of a chilled ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It will take about 25 to 30 minutes. While the mixture is churning away, place a glass container into the freezer that will be big enough to place the processed sorbet into. After the sorbet is finished, either serve immediately or place into the air tight pre-chilled container and freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up.  The wine will help keep the sorbet from getting icy and will assist with scoopability if serving at a later time. Allow to sit out at room temperature for about 5 minutes after removing from the freezer, then scoop away!

Detox Salad Bowl with Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing

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I’ve lost my mojo and I just feel lost. I even feel lost in the kitchen. Of all places, that was a place I felt I could always turn to and whip something up full of desire and love and enjoyment. But not lately.

I went three weeks without going to the grocery store. THREE WEEKS. We were down to just a dozen eggs and frozen green beans…. worst omelette ever!

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store. Even if I had gone, I would have just stared blankly at the isles and probably came home with another dozen eggs. It was the weirdest feeling to open my refrigerator and not have anything fresh in it…and then to not want to immediately drive my sorry little butt to the store or market and stock up on something…ANYTHING!

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And then a friend asked me a magical question….She asked me to cook with her. Zing. Cook. With. Someone. That was it! I needed a cooking partner! Someone to inspire me!

Her idea was to pick a delicious recipe in one of our old food magazines and to cook it with her in her AMAAAAZING kitchen. So I slowly started reopening and rereading my old dust-collecting magazines. And then slowly but surely, I started getting ideas. I felt my cooking desire was like the Grinch’s heart slooooowly expanding and growing. It just kept growing and growing and growing until I found myself at the farmers market on Saturday buying fennel, golden beets, radishes, arugula, kale….frothing at the mouth at all the herbs!  it was like a veggie frenzy!

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Who knows how all of these vegetables will fit together but I’m feeling mighty salady and detoxy right now. It was great to finally NOT eat eggs for every meal. I whipped up a quick Detox Salad Bowl of fresh spring vegetables and devoured it. Now I’m dreaming and dreaming of the new salads that I can create with my rag tag bunch of vegetables. Maybe I can get out of this funk one recipe at a time.

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Detox Salad Bowl with Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except avocado into a single large bowl or into separate serving bowls. Slice avocado and distribute evenly among bowls.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sunflower seeds and warm water for 10 minutes. Pour soaked sunflower seeds, soaking water, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and dill in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend well for about 3 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Pour Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed dressing over salad and enjoy. Place leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hi. It’s spring…nearly summer. And do you know what that means? VEGGIES! Fresh amazing veggies. They are sprouting up everywhere in my garden. Beets and carrots and spinach and kale and cilantro and cucumbers and tomatoes! I can’t wait.

This weekend I enjoyed renewing my Saturday ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market bright and early and drooling over the produce and transplants that the local farmers had brought.  It makes salad making an adventure. Not your boring ol’ iceberg here…no spring rocket, and baby leaf kale, and beautiful sorel! Throw in some herbs, roasted beets, and avocado…yaaaaa, NOW you have heaven.

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Inspired by Pinch of Yum and my Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large beet
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of raw kale, washed, destemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (or spring lettuce mix)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or lemon juice or lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserved from cutting up grapefruit for salad)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick spray. Wash the beet thoroughly and scrub the outside very well. Remove the top and bottom of the beet. Cut in half and continue to cut up the beet until you obtain even 1-inch cubes. Place into a large bowl and drizzle with about 1/2-tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place beet cubes onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Wash the fennel bulb thoroughly. Remove the bottom root portion. Slice longways into even 1/4-inch width slices. Place in a clean bowl and drizzle with 1/2-tablesppon of olive and salt and pepper. Place the fennel slices onto the second prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. When the fennel and beets are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
  4. Wash kale and massage with hands in a large bowl. Gently toss in the grapefruit pieces, cucumber, cilantro, and dill.
  5. Combine dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Just before ready to serve, pour dressing ingredients over the kale, grapefruit, and cucumber. Add roasted beets and fennel and toss all ingredients together gently so as not to stain everything red.
  6. When you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocados and gently combine everything because the avocados will melt and mush quickly into the salad. Top with any additional herbs, walnuts, and feta.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly)

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I have a divided house when it comes to silky smooth soups that only contain vegetables and no cream. Pureed smooth, they show off the amazing flavor of just the vegetables without anything masking their natural deliciousness. I love them…a lot. They are creamy without being loaded with cream. They are smooth and comforting and light. I want them in my belly.

The other person in this house does not like them because, well…they are creamy without being loaded with cream and they are smooth and light and in his words, “like baby food”. He wants heartiness. He wants carbs. He wants meat. He wants cream. He wants butter. He wants bacon. Do I live with Paula Dean?

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And I craaaave creamy soups that have NO cream but are just ALL vegetables. I love smooth and creamy tomato soup, or carrot soup, or butternut squash soup. And every time I make them, my poor hubs has to eat this nourishing amazing bowl of yumminess and smile and leave ALL the leftovers for me. GOOD. Best lunches EVER. He can have his can of tuna and weird packages of sardines for lunch. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my creamy roasted soups and everyone at work will smell them and say “whoa…what are you having?”. In a good way. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head.

I stumbled on this Parsnip and Apple soup the other day on the most beautiful blog called Golubka Kitchen and I instantly began drooling. I couldn’t get the soup out of my brain box. I adapted it to roast the parsnips and I swapped out the potatoes for cauliflower. I found fennel on sale at the store and so I through it in as well to round out the awesome white soup. I recommend saving some of the fennel fronds and some thyme for topping these delicious bowls of comfort. The soup is also yummy with a good drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So despite knowing that I have a divided house on smooth and creamy dreamless soups, I MADE it. and I loooooved it. I recommend you do the same, because then you will have a few days worth of amazing lunches and they get stuck with canned tuna.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo-Friendly)

Adapted from Golubka Kitchen

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wide slices
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling on finished soup bowls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: thyme leaves, olive oil, yogurt, quinoa

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Place chopped parsnips, cauliflower florets, fennel slices, apple slices, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing at 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Place half of vegetables into a blender or food processor along with half of the chicken stock, cumin, and thyme. Blend well for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pureed mixture to a medium stock pot. Blend next batch of roasted vegetables and remaining chicken stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer remaining soup puree to stock pot.
  4. Heat soup in stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Add additional liquid if soup is too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Distribute evenly into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and thyme leaves. I added some quinoa to mine for a more substantial dinner.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We are all getting antsy around here. Am I right? I hate getting taunted with a few days of warm weather, then blasted with too many days of cold. It’s a terrible tease. Tulips are peaking out of the ground. Trees are beginning to bud. Patio weather one day and then fire-place/wool socks/snuggy weather the next. Ugh.

Does anyone else feel a little bipolar weather insanity coming on?  My body and cravings are in a constant state of flux… Sun!!!!! Give me fresh veggies! Give me fresh fruit! More spring greens!!!!

OOOOoooooh wait…clouds? Snow? Blaaaah. Carb me up it’s cold! Where’s the chili? Where’s the chowder? Salad, really???? Why is it not covered in cheese? Helloooo! I like my cupcake handles, thank you very much! Gotta keep some padding on this bod against the polar vortex!

Wait. But NO! Let’s think positive. Let’s all send out SPRING THOUGHTS. (Don’t roll your eyes! I’m trying to quit being so crabby….I said trying, people).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Wish for camping. Wish for tulips. Wish for gardening. Wish for the smell of grills. Wish for the sound of neighbors chatting with each other. Wish that your lawn will mow itself (get a goat). Wish that those cupcake handles will magically disappear once bathing suite season rears its ugly head (or maybe swimming t-shirts will come back in style).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As you send out your good vibes into the world, here is my positive food vibe. I used one of my fave winter veggies, brussels sprouts, to make a springy slaw! Lime and cilantro pump this puppy up another notch. Red cabbage makes this a total beauty to serve.  Oh ya, give me a badge! Healthy and Hawt!

Personally, I love this slaw on my fish tacos. Mmmmmm….recipe to come later. So put down the carbs and chili for just a few minutes and try to get a positive spring mind.

Maybe if we all think positive, spring will finally move in for good. But summer will stay asleep for a loooong time.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium-sized brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onion, white and green parts sliced
  • juice of 1 large lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Remove any brown or spotted out leaves of the sprouts. The sprouts can be shredded several different methods: shredded in a food processor (using the slicing blade), sliced as thin as possible using a good knife, or using a mandolin slicer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Shred half of a head of small red cabbage or slice as thin as possible. Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onions to the large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, salt, and olive oil together. Pour dressing over shredded veggies. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing. Eat up!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This week is a time to give thanks and to be with those that mean the most to us. It is my favorite holiday. No pretenses. No gifts that weren’t good enough. No wrong sizes.

Just family, friends, food, and laughter.

My grandmother had seven children. However, I can’t imagine birthing 1 child, much less SEVEN, but my wonder-woman of a grandmother did it.  My father was the fifth. And getting together with all of my aunts and uncles is a tradition that I look forward to every year.  When I was a kid, I loved the large gatherings because I was an only child until I was 11. I had always wanted a sister or a brother. A gaggle of over 30 people enjoying each others company (sometimes), telling stories, and eating together was like heaven to me. Sure there was sometimes drama, but as a kid that all didn’t matter to me. Family mattered.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Needless to say our family gathering for Thanksgiving is large and fun. The house is warm, but the company is warmer.

On Wednesday night, my aunt hosts “Soup Night”. It’s an easy night with hot soups cooking on the stove as guests trickle in for the big event.  Although Thursday is the day to showcase the TURKEY, Wednesday night is the big Paaaaarhtaaaahy.

The beer flows freely.

The wine glasses are poured large.

The stories get loud, the laughter gets even louder, and the guitars strum.

All the while, the soup stays hot.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We ladle another bowl. We pour another drink. We toast to those that have passed. We tell stories of previous Thanksgivings.  We argue about the pronunciation of words and mathematical concepts and whether the seed of an avocado really keeps guacamole from turning brown or not.

All the while the soup continues to stay hot.

That is why soup is the perfect party food. You can mingle and be a great host/hostess and not worry about the food getting cold or over cooked or not being ready at the right time. Everyone can serve themselves and you get to serve yourself another tasty beverage!

This Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple soup is particularly “soup”er easy.  Roast all the vegetables at once, blend the veggies with broth using an immersion blender or food processor.  Aaaaand…wait for it…. Your done. Basically. Just keep it heated. Ok. NOW you are done. There.

Breath. Do some stretches.

Now GO HUG SOMEONE! And get them a drink too! Sheeesh.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and memorable turkey day.

Cheers to you and yours.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

Ingredients

  • 1 3 to 4 pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic (in the skin)
  • 2 sweet apples, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic (in the skin)
  • 4 to 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare two shallow roasting pans by spraying with nonstick spray or lining with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cubed butternut squash and onion with the olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer on a roasting pan. Place in the oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every once and awhile until the squash are cooked through.
  3. With 20 minutes left on the butternut squash, place the apples on a roasting pan with the garlic cloves and into the oven on a separate oven rack.
  4. Remove cooked vegetables from the oven. Remove the skins from the garlic and discard. Place the vegetables and spices into a dutch oven or large pot with 5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Using a blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender, puree the soup in several batches, adding more liquid (broth or water) if necessary. Return the soup to the pot and heat over medium heat until simmering. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

I spent last week in the great city of Omaha for a new project at work. There is something amazing about being able to get out of the office and work with my hands, learn new things, meet new people, and wear my favorite boots…steal-toed boots. Ya, that’s right. Grrrrr!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

My biggest problem of being on the road is trying to eat well. Seriously, you put big plates of food, and booze, and fries in front of my face and I will inhale them! You’d think that I was a ranch hand or a growing teen boy from Nebraska. I tried to order grilled salmon and salads whenever I could, but…. oh fries…and ketchup…and breweries!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Needless to say, my body and belly are thankful to be home, eating more wholesome foods and detoxing. To help with the wholesomeness, I roasted a butternut squash and beets with a miso-harissa dressing. Toss the roasted veggies with some fresh kale and extra dressing, and that, my friends, is a bowl-full of healing greens!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium-sized beets, scrubbed, stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 Tablespoon harissa paste
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and destemmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a shallow roasting pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, miso paste, harissa paste, lemon juice, cumin, and honey in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine the cubed butternut squash and the cubed beets with 1/3 cup of the miso-harissa mixture. Once the cubed vegetables are well coated, spread evenly on the roasting pan in a single layer. Roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 F, stirring halfway through. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven.
  3. Chop the washed and destemmed kale into 1-inch pieces. Place the kale into a large bowl and stir the remaining miso-harissa mixture into the kale until it is well coated. Add the warm roasted vegetables to the kale.

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Fall is rolling in so wonderfully. But I still have some end of summer garden goodies to go through. This salad is a culmination of everything that the end of summer has to offer….corn, cucumber, tomatoes, kale, cilantro! It’s all here and ready to punch your taste buds and use up any great garden overflow.

This your last chance. Get it in before pumpkins take us all over! I may be a little late for some of you. Ya, I see your Pinterest pages devoted to pumpkin everything…. yes, I too am salivating. But I have to slip this one last salad in here before we all turn orange and spiced and everything nice.

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

If you are a part of the lucky few to still have sweet corn, I have a super easy peasy way to roast it…do it on your gas burner on your stove. Have electric oven? Never fear…stick those shucked ears into the oven under a broiler. Ooooh! But keep an eye on them or else you’ll end up with popcorn in your oven.

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This salad is also brightened up with one of my favorite herbs, cilantro. The Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette is based on this amazing recipe from Closet Cooking.  You can use this vinaigrette on anything…shrimp, delicate squash, kale, maybe even pumpkin, but also your finger…anything. So give all of those lingering veggies a home and place them in a bountiful bowlful of love. And please, resist the urge to dump pumpkin in here…for just a few more days!

Kale Salad with Roasted Corn and Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Kale Salad Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 medium tomato, or 2 small heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, shucked
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves

Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • juice of 2 large limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and remove the stems from the kale. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Place into a bowl and gently massage the kale (yes, massage it), until the bright green leaves start to turn dark green. I promise, it will taste better. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and set aside.
  2. Place shucked ears of corn either directly onto a gas burner on your stove (as shown on the picture), or onto a hot grill, or under a broiler.  Watch carefully, and turn every few minutes until all sides are sufficiently charred and roasted to your liking. Cut kernels from the cob. To do this, rest the ear firmly in a bowl or on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut from stem to tip. Make sure to not cut into the cob.
  3. Toss the roasted corn kernels, diced tomatoes, cucumber, and onion into the bowl of kale.
  4. Place all ingredients for the dressing into a bowl of a food processor and blend well. Drizzle the dressing on top of the kale salad. You will likely only need part of the dressing. Toss until all of the salad is covered. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Mix the salad again just before serving. You may need to top it off with reserved dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Paleo Roasted Banana Creamsicles

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In April, winter would not let go. We had two massive snow storms that dumped over 15 inches of snow each.  And now, it is nearing mid September and summer is being just as pesky and stubborn as winter. We have had the hottest days ALL summer this week with temps breaking triple digits. Really? Why can’t spring or fall be stubborn? Get feisty, fall! Take over…strong arm summer! Who’s the Boss? Not Tony Danza…It’s you, fall. Come ON!

*Stomp* *Stomp* I want to wear sweaters, eat chili, watch football!

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But alas…the heat persists. No rain. Just muggy and sweaty and sticky and mosquito heaven. Fine. SO instead of chili, I will settle for POPSICLES! And I suggest you do the same. Popsicles are really the best sweet treat there is because they are cheap, portable, kid-friendly, and healthy. The other thing I dig about popsicles is that they have built-in portion control.

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These popsicles are really swoon-worthy. I highly recommend roasting your bananas. It offers a whole new level and depth of bananananana-ness. Roasting bananas also is a great way to get under ripe bananas über sweet. They can either be roasted in an oven for 15 minutes or can be placed directly over an open gas flame (as shown above). There is no added sweetener in the popsicles because the roasted bananas take on a luscious caramelized flavor.  If you want much sweeter popsicles, you can add 1 tablespoon of honey. For the “cream” part of the creamsicles, I used light coconut milk to make it dairy free. You could also sub any dairy or nondairy milk instead.

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So cheers to the (hopefully) last days of summer. Tip your cups and popsicles and remember this sweaty weather when winter hits in a few months.

Note – I purchased my popsicle molds from World Market, but there are several BPA-free brands offered on amazon as well. Here is a great article on the Kitchn about top popsicle molds. If you do not have molds, have no fear. You can easily make popsicles with plastic cups and wooden popsicle sticks, as shown here

Paleo Roasted Banana Creamsicles

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. There are a few ways to roast bananas. (1) Place whole and unpeeled bananas on a foil lined roasting pan. Roast in a 350 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. OR (2) Place whole and unpeeled banana directly on a gas flame of your oven. Use tongs to turn and blacken the banana evenly. This will take about 5 minutes per banana.
  2. Peel bananas and place them in a medium bowl. Mash bananas thoroughly with a potato masher or place in a blender and puree. Stir in coconut milk, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Pour banana mixture into popsicle molds leaving 1/4-inch before the top to leave room for expansion.  For popsicle molds that contain bases with sticks or hold wooden sticks in place, snap on popsicle base and freeze until solid, about 4 to 5 hours. If you do not have popsicle mods, glasses or open paper cups can be used. For these types, pour popsicle mixture into the glasses or open cups and freeze until the popsicle is beginning to set (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours). Then insert wooden sticks and freeze until fully solid (another 3 to 4 hours).