Kale

Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

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Tday_Dinner

A Yiddish proverb says, “Man plans and God laughs.” The plan was to be in Rochester, NY with family for Thanksgiving. Weather intervened and we ended up staying in Chapel Hill, NC where we had attended our daughter’s Ph.D. dissertation seminar earlier in the week. Luckily, there had been a possibility that we would be home for turkey day so I had already given a menu some thought.

I don’t normally build a menu around a salad, but I recently had a Kale Salad at Agricola Eatery in Princeton, NJ and wanted to start the meal with my version of that salad. The one at Agricola had roasted cauliflower, pickled pumpkin, shaved radish and a pumpkin seed vinaigrette. I would have liked to include pickled pumpkin, but mine were at home and they take time to cure. I opted for roasted butternut squash instead. In lieu of cauliflower and radishes, I used apples and dried cranberries and topped the salad with croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds. The roasted squash and pumpkin seeds became ingredients to tie the menu together.

I wanted a hearty, healthy bread for the croutons and dressing. I was thinking of an ancient grain bread that Wegman’s makes, but, alas, they have not yet expanded this far south. I did find some Omega-3 Seed bread with whole wheat and flax, sunflower and sesame seeds from Ninth Street Bakery in Durham, NC at Whole Foods that worked great.

For the turkey, I went with a Mediterranean recipe that I developed a couple of years ago. Last time, I used a traditional brine. This year, I did a shortened dry brine. I experimented with dry brining last year and will never go back to a soaking brine. The bird is much moister and flavorful with dry brining. The only reason I shortened the process this year was the time available for prep before the big day. The decision to stick it out was made Tuesday morning with freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow all along the route of travel. The recipe linked below has the full timing.

Sticking with a healthy, Mediterranean theme, I developed a pumpkin hummus for the appetizer and served it with apple slices and toasted pita chips. For this meal, we had cranberry orange relish made by my wife, daughter and sister-in-law. A Cranberry, Apple and Orange Chutney that has not yet made it out of my head and onto a plate would have gone great, as well, but that will have to wait for a future meal.

The “girls” also made the pies: apple and pumpkin. Both were outstanding.

Most of the prep was done the day before so little was left to do on Thanksgiving itself but spend time with the marooned part of the family.

All measurements referenced in the below recipes are approximate. I actually measured very little so I am not sure exactly how much I used. I realize there is some repetition in the linked recipes, but I wanted each to be able to stand on its own as well as being compiled here.

THE MENU

First Course:

  • Pumpkin Hummus with apple slices and whole wheat and garlic pita chips

Second Course:

  • Kale Salad with apples, dried cranberries, roasted butternut squash, roasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette, artisan bread croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds

Main Course:

  • Mediterranean Turkey dry brined in za’atar, garlic, EVOO and pomegranate molasses
  • Artisan Bread Dressing with green onions, garlic, roasted butternut squash and porcini mushrooms seasoned with za’atar
  • Homemade Turkey Gravy
  • Sautéed Green Beans with roasted butternut squash and roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Cranberry Orange Relish

Dessert:

  • French Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
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Kale Salad with Roasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Posted on Updated on

Kale_Salad

This is my version of a Kale Salad that I recently had at Agricola Eatery in Princeton, NJ. I don’t normally build a menu around a salad, but this was the foundation of a Thanksgiving Dinner that I cooked with my daughter at her house. The salad at Agricola had roasted cauliflower, pickled pumpkin, shaved radish and pumpkin seed vinaigrette. I would have liked to include pickled pumpkin, but since mine were at home I opted for roasted butternut squash. In place of cauliflower and radish, I used apples and dried cranberries and topped the salad with croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds.

I left the skin on the apples. That is where much of the taste and vitamins are. You can peel them, if you wish. I used Honey Crisps, but any tart apple will work.

For the croutons, I used a hearty artisan bread. I was thinking of an ancient grain bread that Wegman’s makes, but, alas, they have not yet expanded into North Carolina. I did find some Omega-3 Seed bread with whole wheat and flax, sunflower and sesame seeds from Ninth Street Bakery in Durham, NC that worked great. I made the croutons the day before Thanksgiving. I reserved the crusts from the bread for the artisan bread dressing I was making.

I used a Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette recipe from the New York Times. I am not replicating the recipe here. Just follow the link. I did find that I needed to add significantly more Olive Oil than called for in the recipe to achieve the proper consistency. I also made the vinaigrette a day in advance and then reheated it. When doing so, I had to work hard to restore the emulsification. I would suggest making it as needed.

The amounts below are approximate. It is a salad, after all. Adjust amounts to taste.

Ingredients:

Artisan Bread Croutons:
1/2 Loaf of Artisan Bread, cubed
Olive Oil Spray
Garlic Powder

Roasted Butternut Squash:
1/2 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
Olive Oil Spray
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. Cumin, ground

Kale Salad:
Two bunches of Kale, washed and shredded into fork size pieces
2 Honey Crisp Apples, cored and cubed
3/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup Artisan Bread Croutons
1/2 cup Roasted Pumkin Seeds

Directions:

Artisan Bread Croutons:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Remove crust from slices of Artisan Bread. Cut remaining bread into 3/4 inch cubes.
3) Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place bread cubes in a single layer on the pan.
4) Spray bread cubes lightly with Olive Oil on all sides and sprinkle lightly with Garlic Powder.
5) Bake until browned, 10-15 minutes, turning 1/2 way through.

Roasted Butternut Squash:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Cut squash into 1/2 inch cubes.
3) Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place squash in a single layer on the pan.
4) Spray bread cubes lightly with Olive Oil on all sides and sprinkle lightly with Cinnamon and Cumin.
5) Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, but still firm, about 30 minutes, turning 1/2 way through.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place Pumpkin Seeds in a single layer on the pan.
3) Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, turning 1/2 way through.

Kale Salad:
1) In a large bowl, toss Kale, Apples, Cranberries and Squash
2) Add Vinaigrette, Salt and Pepper. Toss, coating salad well.
3) Top with Croutons and Pumpkin Seeds and serve.