Kale and Broccoli Salad with Dried Cherries, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette (Superfood Side)

broccoli kale salad Chick-fil-a copycat

There aren’t many healthy options for lunch near where I work. There is a Publix grocery and fast food. The only fast food I eat is Chick-fil-a and fortunately, we got one nearby a few years back. As fast food goes, it’s not terrible for you and they have decent salad options. One day I decided to get a cup of chicken noodle soup and the newer “Superfood” side. The soup was a little salty but the salad was fantastic. I decided to recreate it at home.

It just so happened that our CSA provided arugula, dyno kale and broccoli the last several weeks, so this was a no brainer. I would start with less vinaigrette and add more if need be. The salad is well balanced and will last as leftovers for a few days. The super crunchy broccoli and hearty kale give nice bite. The arugula adds a little bitter and peppery kick. The earthy walnuts and sweet and sour cherries along with the acid and sweet from the vinaigrette all work very well together.

I’ve now made this salad many times. For my wife and I, for guests and for large community functions. Quantities of all ingredients depend on how much you would like to make. The vinaigrette measurements is a complete guess, I just don’t measure these, sorry. You can adjust to your tastes.

Ingredients
Measurements are approximate.

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries
  • Red onion, thinly sliced (just add what you like or leave it out)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Dyno kale, destemmed and cut in strips
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli, sliced

Directions

  1. First make the vinaigrette. In a mixing bowl, add the mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and maple syrup and whisk together. Continue whisking and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cherries and onion and toss. This will allow the cherries to reconstitute and lessen the punch of the onion.
  2. Right before serving, add the sliced broccoli (and all the little bits), kale and arugula in a large bowl. Add in the vinaigrette with the cherries and onions. Toss to coat the greens. Add walnuts and toss again.
  3. Enjoy.
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Kale and Broccoli Salad with Dried Cherries, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette (Superfood Side)

Black Eyed Peas and Collard Soup with Smoked Turkey and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with Cranberry-Orange Relish

Black Eyed Peas and Collard Soup with Smoked Turkey and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with Cranberry Orange Relish
New Years leftovers done right. I knew right away when I started planning out my New Years day meal (SOUS VIDE “SMOKED” TURKEY, BLACK-EYED PEAS, COLLARD GREENS AND CORNBREAD WITH TURKEY SKIN CHIPS) it would turn into a great soup. The leftovers were “Smoked” turkey, black-eyed peas and spicy collard greens. I also had turkey stock leftover.

I over seasoned the black-eyed peas a bit in the initial recipe so instead of using all stock, I used the rest of the turkey stock and cut that with water. The grilled cheese was a spin on the wildly popular PUBLIX TURKEY, BACON AND CRANBERRY SUB ON MULTIGRAIN post from two years ago. I make those subs at home at least once or twice during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday so I had the cranberry-orange relish already.

Can I just say WOW about this little meal. The soup had so much depth of flavor, like I mentioned in the original post. Sour, spicy, sweet, creamy and earthy. The sandwich had the savory, crunchy, sweet and spicy (from the mustard). Yum!

 

Ingredients

  • Leftover “smoked” turkey breast (recipe here)
  • Leftover black-eyed peas (recipe here)
  • Leftover collard greens (recipe here)
  • 1 cup no/low sodium turkey stock
  • 2-3 cups water
  • Publix cranberry orange relish
  • Publix multigrain Italian bread (or whatever you like)
  • Boar’s Head smoked Gouda cheese, sliced
  • Dijon mustard (or spicy deli mustard)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the black-eyed peas, collards, stock and water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until desired consistency is acheived.
  2. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat.
  3. Open four slices of bread. Add Dijon mustard to one side and cranberry orange relish to the to the other. Add sliced smoked turkey and smoked Gouda cheese. Drizzle the top of the sandwich with oil and season with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Meanwhile, drizzle oil on the now top side of the sandwich with oil and season. Grill both sides until the bread is crunchy and the cheese is melted.
  4. Enjoy!
Black Eyed Peas and Collard Soup with Smoked Turkey and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese with Cranberry-Orange Relish

Roasted Duck Breast at Dudley’s on Short

Roasted Duck Breast Dudleys on Short in Lexington, KY

Trips to visit my wife’s family takes us right through Kentucky. I love that part of the drive. Rolling, lush hills. It is a beautiful part of the country. Going up we make the trip from SC in one big drive. Lately we’ve been breaking the trip back in two legs. Why do we do that? Well I’d like to say to lighten the stress of the trip. The real reason is bourbon. Kentucky = Bourbon. I have been a whiskey nut since college and I’ve been collecting whiskey for about 10 years. Anyway, half way home (right about Lexington, KY) puts us smack dab in the middle of The Bourbon Trail. A stay in downtown Lexington can get me to most of my favorite distilleries in 30 minutes to an hours drive. My Mecca.

What does this all have to do with food?

When planning our first trip, as any foodie would do, I started asking where we should eat. A number of folks suggested that we go to Dudley’s on Short. A quick look at the menu and I was sold. Only then did I start looking for a hotel that would provide easy access to the restaurant. We have subsequently been back to that same hotel and the same restuarant several times, each as enjoyable as the last. On our last trip I had Roasted Duck Breast. Dudley’s describes the meal as such:

ROASTED DUCK BREAST
caramelized sweet potato, pickled apple, watercress, maple gastrique

As with all the meals we’ve had the flavors are honest and restrained. It was maybe a little sweet for my taste but the crust on the duck and the watercress helped some to balance it out. The duck was cooked perfectly (not always easy to do). The sweet potato, apple and the gastrique were all well conceived and complimented each other nicely

This might sound weird but some of our favorite items on the menu are salads. The Kale salad was literally a revelation and we make it at home several times a month. Dudley’s describes the salad here:

KALE AND PARMESAN SALAD
dried cherries, pine nuts, lemon, olive oil

Truly, this salad screams restraint. So simply, yet so delicious. If in the area, I recommend Dudley’s on Short. I’ve read some reviews about it being pricey and the “posh” place to be seen, but I would disagree. Dudley’s will be a regular routine for us.

Have you been to Dudley’s on Short? What did you think?

Roasted Duck Breast at Dudley’s on Short

Pan Seared Salmon with Farro Orzo and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Pan Seared Salmon with Orzo and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Crispy seared salmon with a light, tangy farro orzo salad is perfect for any season.

Our CSA is bountiful this year. We are getting lots and lots of squash, zucchini and kale. Good thing we like them, a lot. Sometimes you have to be creative in how you prepare them lest the large quantities of the same vegetables become monotonous. This salad was one of those creative attempts, and if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty good.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 wild caught salmon filets (fresh as you can get)
  • 1 package Farro Orzo pasta
  • 2 medium squash, cubed in ¼ pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cubed in &#188 pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed in &#188 pieces
  • 1 small punch of dinosaur kale, julienne
  • ½ small red onion, sliced in very thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil blend, (I like canola and olive 50/50)
Directions

  1. Start by preparing the orzo per the instruction on the package. Allow to cool and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add the thinly sliced onion and the red wine vinegar. I find letting the onion soak in the vinegar takes the edge off the raw onion. You can skip this if you like.
  3. Turn your oven’s broiler on. Toss the squash, zucchini, bell pepper and kale with olive oil, salt and pepper together on a sheet pan. Place under the broiler. Cook until you get a little color on the veg. You do not want these to be mushy or burned.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add just enough of the blended oil to coat the pan. When the pan is good and hot, place the salmon in the pan, skin side down. Cook about 2-3 minutes and flip cook until skin is crispy and the fish is cooked to your liking.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the orzo, vegetables, dill, thyme, vinegar, feta, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Pan Seared Salmon with Farro Orzo and Roasted Vegetable Salad

SC Mahi Mahi and Shrimp, Grilled Carrots and Kale, Potato Puree with Basil Pesto

SC Mahi Mahi and Shrimp Grilled Carrots and Kale Potato Puree with Basil Pesto

Beach trip meal cooked (almost) exclusively on the grill. We picked up the local Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish) and shrimp that day at Mt. Pleasant seafood located right on the water at Shem’s Creek. The carrots, kale, green onions and basil were all from our CSA. The potatoes were left over smashed potatoes from a few nights before. It all worked out very well and there were no leftovers.

This was a weird meal but fun. The goal was to use up all that was in the fridge and to only use the grill to cook with, and we did.

 

Ingredients

  • Fresh Mahi Mahi filets
  • ½ lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, double skewered
  • Smashed potato leftovers
  • 1-2 leftover bacon strips
  • Milk
  • 1 punch baby carrots
  • 1 punch dinosaur kale
  • 1 punch fresh basil
  • ½ cup almonds (or pine nuts)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions

  1. Get your grill going with a hot side and a cool side.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add the basil, almonds, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Drizzle in olive oil until the pesto reaches the consistency you want. I usually add garlic but my Dad doesn’t like it so I left it out. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Toss carrots, kale and green onions with olive oil. When the grill is hot and still has some flame, and the carrots and kale. Cook until charred and move to the cool side until cooked through.
  4. In a blender or food processor add the leftover potatoes and bacon with 1-2 cups of milk, puree. Add more liquid if need be. Add the puree to a large pot and heat over medium-low heat until warmed through, keep warm.
  5. Brush fish filets and shrimp with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the mahi to the hot part of the grill and close the lid. The fish will release when it is read. Flip the fish and cook until done.
  6. Add the shrimp cook until just cooked through.
SC Mahi Mahi and Shrimp, Grilled Carrots and Kale, Potato Puree with Basil Pesto

Flank Steak, Roasted Sage and Duck Fat Potatoes, Sautéed Kale and Blueberry Balsamic Jus

flank steak with sage duck fat potatoes sauteed kale blueberry balsamic jus

Flank steak is one of my favorite steaks. Reasonably priced and if prepared correctly, delicious. Also, duck fat.

Our sage plant in our herb garden decided this year to go nuclear. It is out of control. The base looks like a tree trunk. Anyway, I really needed to use some sage and potatoes are always my first thought. Also, duck fat.

The blueberries came from our CSA and I just thought they would go well with the balsamic. I wish I would have used good fresh kale but I didn’t I used the big bagged, chopped kind. It still turned out ok.

All and all, I liked this one. What’s not to like. Duck fat.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1 bag fingerling potatoes
  • 1 large bag kale (or fresh if you have it)
  • 1-2 tablespoons duck fat
  • 4-5 sprigs sage, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1-2 teaspoons crush red pepper flake
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups no sodium chick stock
  • Balsamic vinegar
Directions

  1. Set the steak out and allow it to come to room temperature (or close). Season with salt and pepper liberally.
  2. A cut and par-boil potatoes just until a sharp knife goes through the outside easily. Drain and let cool.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 450 and place lined sheet pan in the middle rack.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high.
  5. Toss in the duck fat and allow it to melt. Add potatoes, sea salt, pepper and sage and toss to coat. Empty the pan onto the sheet pan in the oven and allow to roast at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, toss the potatoes on the other side and cook until crispy.
  6. Heat a large stainless steel pan over medium high.
  7. Separately, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat (I used the same one I used for the potatoes). Once warm add olive oil with garlic and crushed red. Allow the oil to perfume but don’t burn the garlic. Next add kale, season with salt and toss until all the kale is in the pan. Add stock, reduce the heat, cover and cook 15 minutes or until the kale is cooked through but still has some crunch.
  8. Add the steak to the stainless steel pan. Sear steak both sides 4-5 minutes per side until your preferred doneness. I like them rare. Once done, remove from the pan to a cutting board, cover with tin foil and allow to rest for a least 10 minutes.
  9. Finally, heat the stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add balsamic vinegar, chicken stock and blueberries. Deglaze the pan, scraping up all the goodies the steak left behind. Increase heat and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce and thicken. Strain the reduction into a smaller pot and keep warm.
Flank Steak, Roasted Sage and Duck Fat Potatoes, Sautéed Kale and Blueberry Balsamic Jus

Kale, Green Garlic and Mushroom Pizza

Kale, Green Garlic and Mushroom Pizza

This pizza is outstanding. We are getting a lot of kale and green garlic from our CSA and I was thinking of ways to use it all. This one worked brilliantly. The kale gets crunchy on the top but tender below. The subtle flavor and aroma of the green garlic permeated the pizza. The mushrooms add an earthy richness that really completed this meal.

We make pizza just about every Friday night. I usually cut the store bought dough in half and make two, that way I can eat the leftover the next week. This is the most interesting pizza I’ve made in a while. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

INGREDIENTS

  • Pizza dough
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and torn in bit size pieces
  • 1 green garlic, stem sliced and head minced
  • Baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • Shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded seven cheese Italian mix
  • Pasta sauce (I prefer Mario Batali’s)
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
DIRECTIONS

  1. Place your pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack and heat it for 20-30 minutes at 500 F. If you don’t have a pizza stone and you make pizza more than twice a month, get a pizza stone. Seriously, it makes a big difference.
  2. Depending on the size of you doubt, I usually cut it in half. Flour and roll or stretch the doubt. For me I like them super thin and I could not care less what shape it is (round, rectangular, square, whatever). If you like pizza that way, be patient and keep rolling and stretching. Once you have one rolled out, place it on a bake sheet and place in the oven on the top rack. Watch it closely and pop any big bubbles that may rise from the dough. Cook until the dough is slightly browned and firm. Remove and place the other in, remember the oven is getting hotter so keep an eye on it.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to cover the pan and watch for it to simmer. Add the green garlic and mushrooms and cook until slightly softened and until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid. Add kale and toss continuously until the kale is just wilted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the pizza crust and sprinkle with crushed red pepper to taste. Add a thin layer the two cheeses (don’t add too much, be judicious). I like to add a few dollops of sauce in a few different places. Add the kale, garlic and mushroom mixture, spreading it evenly across the pizza.
  5. Turn the oven down to 450 F and carefully slide the pizza on to the pizza stone. Cook until the cheese is melted and the crust has a desired doneness. Again, I like them thin and crusty.
Kale, Green Garlic and Mushroom Pizza