Monday, June 18, 2012

Candle 79 Kale Salad Re-do and No-oil Chia Chive Vinaigrette

It was almost exactly a month ago when my business partner Chris-Anna and I ate one of our most memorable meals in New York City at Candle 79 restaurant. And if there was one dish that we enjoyed that I promised myself I would attempt to recreate in my own kitchen, it was their Grilled Kale Salad with haricots verts, beluga lentils, red onions, turnips, avocado, sunflower seeds, speltberries and chive vinaigrette. Like no other salad I have ever had, this salad satisfies as a complete meal. It's got greens, whole grains, lentils, other vegetables and healthy fats. I get chills just thinking about how perfect it is.

Manna from heaven.

Now I have gained a lot of confidence in the kitchen over the past few years, but no where near enough to attempt to recreate and revamp something in our no-oil style with out at least some recipe to springboard off of. So I was so excited to discover that my beloved Grilled Kale Salad was included in the recent release of the Candle 79 Cookbook. It was a slightly different version, called Kale, Vegetable, and Spelt Berry Salad with Chive Vinaigrette, but it was way more than enough for me to work from.

I ordered the book from Amazon, where it seems I have a very active account lately, given the number of cookbooks and child psychology books that I have been ordering (being a parent is way, way harder than I ever imagined. How come nobody warned me?).  I've been making a ton of use out of my Amazon Prime membership. For $60 per year, I can have pretty much anything Amazon sells at my doorstep in two business days. And I don't pay for shipping.


Well, sort of. The stuff that qualifies for Amazon Prime is usually a little bit more expensive, but totally worth it when you consider that the two-day shipping is included.

Anyway, back to the salad. I decided to give it a go for Father's Day, since we were having a family barbecue/pot luck and I love to try out new things on other people. The original recipe for the Candle 79 Kale Salad had quite a bit of oil: over 10 tablespoons for the entire salad that served 6 to 8 people.

I feel that I have become quite adept at de-oiling things. It was no problem to remove almost all of the oil (I did use a bit of canola oil spray when roasting the turnips). And the results?

Tasted exactly like I remember this salad tasting when I ate it at the restaurant. Amazing! 

Here's the photo that I snapped of the Grilled Kale Salad at Candle 79:

Here's my version:
Pretty cool, right?

Now I am not going to mess around with you and tell you that this salad recipe is some kind of quick and easy concoction. As my mother would say about many of the delicious things she would cook for us growing up, "This recipe is an undertaking." 

There's a lot of steps and many pots, pans, bowls, strainers and one cookie sheet involved. But in my opinion, every once-in-a-while, it's so worth it.

Chia Chive Vinaigrette

1 cup Edensoy Extra Soymilk or other non-dairy milk of choice
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Kale Salad with Spelt Berries, Black Lentils, Turnips and Chia Chive Vinaigrette
serves 4-6 as a main course, 8-10 as a side dish

print me!

1 cup spelt berries
1/2 cup black lentils
1 pound turnips or baby turnips, peeled and cut into even pieces about 1" square
1/2 pound green beans or haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 large bunches curly kale, stems removed and rough chopped
vegetable broth for sauteing kale
2 avocados, cubed
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
optional: sunflower seeds, for garnish
1 recipe Chia Chive Vinaigrette
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the spelt berries in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse. Put the soaked spelt berries into a saucepan with three cups of water and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and and simmer, partially covered for 50-55 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While spelt berries are cooking, place lentils and 2 cups of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place turnips on a lined cookie sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray. Lightly spray tops turnips with cooking oil spray and season with a touch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch cut green beans until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from pot, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and coat the base of the pan with vegetable broth. When broth is bubbling, place 1/2 of kale (or as much as you can fit) into the pan and using tongs, turn kale for 1-2 minutes as it wilts. Remove kale from pan to a large bowl and repeat with remaining kale, adding more broth for new batches.

When kale is cool, add spelt berries, turnips, green beans, avocado, red onion and a pinch of pepper. Toss with entire batch of Chia Chive Vinaigrette. Taste. Season with salt (or not) and pepper.

Optional: garnish with sunflower seeds when serving.

Do you think it's worth your time, at least once-in-a-while to make outstandingly delicious plant strong food? 

How often do you make a recipe that is "an undertaking?" Never? Sometimes? Frequently?

If you like being in the kitchen, why do you like it? If you loathe it, why?

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