Thursday, 18 October 2012

Three Seasonal Recipes

I thought I would highlight three vegetables which really shine in the fall.

Raw Kale Salad

Kale is often sauteed, or wilted, even when used in a salad. It doesn't really have to be cooked but, it does benefit (as we all do), from a massage. Most recipes recommend the stems be removed but I've also included them - and lived to tell the tale. In some ways I think of this salad as a vegetable ceviche since I think the kale really needs citrus juice added ahead of serving time to help break down the fibres. And finally, since I am a lover all three major food groups; salt, sugar and fat, I like to add pecorino or feta cheese, dried cranberries or some other dried fruit and nuts which are even better if you toast or candy them.

One Bunch of Kale (cavallo nero or Red Russian)
Lemon juice (and lemon zest if you want it really lemony)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit
Grated pecorino, feta or chunks of avocado

Remove the stems of the kale. Roll the leaves like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons. Add olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Massage. The kale will turn a darker green.
Red Russian Kale

If you're adding dried fruit you can add it now and it will absorb the vinaigrette and plump up as the salad rests. I like to take the salad out of the fridge at least an hour before serving so it can come to room temperature.

Just before serving add cheese or avocado chunks.
Raw Kale Salad with dried cranberries, lemon juice and zest, tamari almonds and grated pecorino

Leek and Smoked Salmon Tart

This recipe is inspired by John Bishop of Bishop's Restaurant in Vancouver which is known for its use of local products provided by farmers who practise sustainable farming.

Leeks, about 2 cups sliced or three largish leeks
Smoked Salmon
Prebaked Pie shell
Chives (optional)
4 farm fresh eggs
2 cups light cream or 1 cup whipping cream and 1 cup milk

Slice off the root end of the leeks and slice vertically down the leaves to help rinse any dirt hiding in the foliage. Slice across the leeks into coins - you can use the leaves as well as the white part. Saute gently in butter until tender.
Washed and chopped leeks

Spread the leeks in the prebaked pie shell and top with pieces of smoked salmon. At this point you can also add chopped chives, dill or another herb of our preference. I used garlic chives because I had them at hand in the garden.
Pieces of smoked sockeye salmon and garlic chives added

Add four eggs to the cream mixture and whisk until it is mixed ( it will thicken a little too).

Pour the egg and cream mixture over the leeks and smoked salmon.
The whisked cream and egg mixture added

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. It will puff a little and the top will turn golden.
Leek and Smoked Salmon Tart fresh out of the oven

Let it rest a few minutes before serving.

Scalloped Potatoes with Gruyere Cheese and Boar Smoked Ham

This is sort of an amalgamation of Scalloped Potatoes and Potatoes Dauphinoise

Gruyere Cheese
Leek Coins sauteed in butter or sliced onions (optional)
Cream or milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Smoked or regular paprika

The potatoes are washed and sliced.
I had a mixture of Dark Red Norland, Blue and French Fingerling potatoes 

Grate the cheese.
Grated Gruyere and sliced Boar Ham

Tear the ham into smallish pieces. We had baked a smoked boar ham we got in Thunder Bay in July. Since it had been vacuum packed there was no problem with it keeping more or less indefinitely in the fridge.

Saute the chopped leeks or onions in a little butter.
Sauteed leeks

Butter a shallow baking dish or enamelled pot.

And assemble. Start with a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Then alternate with ham and cheese and leeks is using. Finish with potatoes on top. I like to grind the salt and pepper on top and sprinkle with paprika. Then pour the cream/milk over the top and it will wash some of the salt mixture down through the layers. The dot with butter.
Ready to go in the oven

Cover with a lid. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes and then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the top has browned.

Dinner is ready!

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