Archive for Recipes: Savory

Fall Kale Salad {Vegan}

We’re now in mid-September, but quite honestly, here in Vancouver, it feels more like November. 

I don’t rightly know what happened. Usually here on the West Coast we have a gorgeous fall, all coloured leaves and warm sunshine, but this year, it seems, someone flipped the switch on September 1, and it’s been nothing but cold, miserable and rainy. 

a colourful plate of kale salad

It is, of course, at this time of the year, that my thoughts turn to pumpkins, squashes, and other root vegetables. I start to think about risotto, chilli, ramen and soup. I want foods that are hearty, warming and filling, and I start to crave warming spices. 

I have been drinking a lot, and I mean a lot of tea. 

This time of the year is also one of the best times of the year to go shopping. Much summer produce is at its peak right now, and you’ll find, in addition to gourds at the Farmer’s Markets, corn, apples, zucchini, and we still have way too many tomatoes. 

I’ve been visiting, on nearly a weekly basis, a local farm in Richmond. This is one of my go-tos, because they grow and sell a lot of their own produce right there. This means a few things; you know exactly where your food is coming from, it’s really, really fresh, and it’s often much cheaper than at other times of the year. Last week, they were selling corn for 10/$1! (it was a mad house). 

The other thing that’s plentiful and cheap this time of the year is kale. This particular farm was selling massive bunches of kale for $.99. That was too good a deal for me to pass up; I figured worst case scenario, I can always make heaps of kale chips, which my teenager hoovers down in about 30 seconds flat. 

But much of that kale went into salads, actually. And I know it’s not exactly salad weather, but this is a Fall Kale Salad!. It’s not light and crispy–it’s hearty and filling. 

a colourful plate of kale salad

I’ve been making variations on this Fall Kale Salad for years. It goes something like this: 

  • greens (in this case, kale)
  • roasted vegetables
  • a fruit (sometimes dried fruit)
  • a crunchy element (nuts etc)
  • cheese (if you’re not vegan)
  • dressing

This basic formula translates into an endless variety of salads that mean you’ll never be bored. Just try different types of veg, different types of fruit, different types of crunchies. Choose them based on what’s available and in season. In the summer, you might choose berries, but this time of the year, apples are easier to find. 

In terms of dressing, any basic vinaigrette will do, but I love this tahini-based version. It makes for a creamy dressing (without dairy or eggs) and there’s something about the roasty sesame paste that’s cozy and warming. 

Fall Kale Salad {Vegan}

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch tuscan kale
  • 1 small-medium golden beet 
  • dried cranberries (1/8 cup)
  • roasted chickpeas (1/8 cup)
  • shaved parmesan (leave off for a vegan version, or use vegan parm)

For the dressing: 

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Lay the kale leaves on a cutting board and carefully score up each side of the ribs, removing the leaves from the ribs. Discard the ribs. Roll the kale leaves as tightly as possible, and then run your knife down the length of the leaves, leaving little ribbons (this is called chiffonade). Wash and dry the kale ribbons. 
  2. Meanwhile, roast the beet. You can either roast it whole in the oven and then slice into chunks or I sliced mine thinly on the mandolin and roasted them in a single layer, brushed with oil, in the oven, until the edges were a bit crispy. 
  3. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to combine. Place the kale in a large bowl, pour the dressing over, and toss well to combine. 
  4. Heap the kale up on a plate, and scatter around the roasted beets, cranberries and roasted chickpeas. Top with shavings of parmesan if you like. You can finish with a drizzle of dressing if you like as well. 

 

 

Air Fried French Fries

Happy September, friends! 

You may have noticed that I have been conspicuously absent these last couple of weeks. There has been a lot going on. 

First, it was my birthday, with his whirlwind of parties and cakes and friends. The week immediately after my birthday, Michael and I jumped in the car and spent a week exploring Vancouver Island. He was all about the museums, I was all about the donuts. We both won. A small cast iron frying pan filled with french fries

It was a great week, very relaxing; except for one thing. The ring finger on my right hand started to get really sore and puffy. I did my best to treat it, and then I also did my best to ignore it. I was on vacation, after all! 

The morning after I got home from the island, reality crashed into my denial and I knew I had to do something about the situation. My finger was so painful and sore I couldn’t type, and I definitely couldn’t hold a knife or do much in the kitchen. So, off to the doctor I went, and he lanced it (yes, ow) and gave me antibiotics. 

Long story short, my kitchen experiments have been seriously curtailed these last few weeks as I wait for my finger to return to normal. 

And it’s been hard to not be in the kitchen, because, you see, I got a fantastic birthday gift this year: a Breville Smart Oven Air. 

a countertop toaster oven

Shiny.

So you know how much I freaking love my kitchen gadgets. I have pretty much everything I need now; I have my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, I have my Ninja blender, I have my Nespresso, I have my Instant Pot. But deep in my heart, friends, I longed for an airfryer. 

A long time ago, when I was in university, I owned a deep fryer. It was small, but hey, I was just one person. I was a broke student, so I’d make french fries, and it made me happy. A few years later, I got rid of it, and made a vow that, for health reasons, I’d never deep fry at home. I shallow fry, I eat deep fried foods when I go out, but not a home. That was the rule. 

But then came the invention of the air fryer. These magical machines create a deep fried taste and texture but without immersing the food in hot oil. You can basically deep fry stuff with just a tablespoon or so of oil! I can hear choruses of angels singing! 

The problem with most of those first generation air fryers is that they were massive. Big, heavy, took up a ton of counter space and a ton of cupboard space. I just didn’t have the kitchen real estate to own one. 

But over the last couple of years, more and more companies have been creating multi-tools similar to the Instant Pot, but that allow you to air fry. 7-in-1 is way, way better than a tool that just does one thing, don’t you agree? 

The Breville Smart Oven Air is just such a tool. This countertop toaster oven does a myriad of things: it bakes and broils and toasts, as you would expect a countertop oven to do. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! It’s also has a proofing mode for bread, it makes pizza, it’s a dehydrator, and people, it air-fries!!! 

As much as has been humanly possible with my gimpy finger, I have been playing with my air fryer over the last few weeks. 

The Breville Smart Oven Air basically uses convection heat to do all the cool things it does. it’s a million times cooler (haha for a hot oven) and smarter than my regular oven, and I barely use my regular oven any more. This bad boy is big enough for pretty much everything I need, uses less power, and gets my kitchen less hot, especially during these last few hot weeks of summer. A small cast iron frying pan filled with french fries

Okay, but enough about that. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this machine for a long time to come. On to the recipe! 

If you’ve ever had a really good french fry, it’s probably because it’s fried twice. Those smarty-pants Belgians, who invented (ironically) the ol’ French Fry, would fry the potatoes twice: first at a lower temp to cook the inside, and then again at a higher temp to make them crispy on the outside. 

And that’s how these work. 

Air Fried French Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 largeish russet (baker) potato 
  • salt
  • oil
  • seasoning of your choice (I used smoked paprika, rosemary and garlic powder)

Method

  1. Scrub your potato and if you like, you can peel it, though you don’t have to. Cut the potato into french-fry size/shapes. I cut mine in half length-wise, then place the cut side down and cut in half again (length-wise). Each half gets cut 3-4 times, then place those on their side and cut into “fries.” Place the cut fries in a bowl of cold water and allow to stand for about a half an hour. Soaking helps remove some of the starches that will make your potatoes gluey. 
  2. Drain the potatoes and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and pat as much water as possible off of them. 
  3. Preheat your air fryer to 325 degrees. 
  4. Place the potatoes on your mesh air fryer basket, and spritz them with oil, either from a spray bottle or by using a commercially available oil spray like Pam. 
  5. Air fry for 7-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are floppy, indicating that they are cooked in the middle. Be sure to shake the basket halfway through. 
  6. Place on the counter and allow to cool down to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes). 
  7. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. 
  8. While the air fryer is heating, dump your fries into a bowl, and add 1/2 tbsp of oil and all of your seasonings. You’ll need about 1 tsp of salt, and then I also used 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and some crushed rosemary. Toss well to combine. Place back on the mesh air fryer basket and spread out in a single layer. 
  9. Air fry for an additional 7-10 minutes, tossing or shaking half way through, until potatoes are crispy. 
  10. Serve immediately with ketchup, aioli, Mayochup, or my personal fave, truffled mayo. 
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