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Sauteed kale with roasted delicata squash

Last Sunday night, we had dinner at our older son’s home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I must admit, I kind of invited us. Well, I wanted to see them and he is not fond of traveling way uptown to our apartment on a Sunday night so what’s a mom to do? He and his girlfriend put out an amazing spread.Pasta with a hot red sauce, grating parmigiano cheese on top.We started with a first course of pasta with a beautiful Arrabbiata Sauce sauce topped with parmigiano. This kid lived in Italy for six months and of course the dish was perfect. The pasta was cooked perfectly; the sauce was the perfect consistency. The spice and the blending was sublime. He knows what he’s doing. Roasted chicken on a board with rosemary and lemon garnish.The main course was roasted chicken with herbs, sauce au jus, and sautéed kale tossed with roasted delicata squash, which was very different and terrific. His roasted chicken was perfect, as to be expected. He’s got that down. But the vegetable dish was really, really lovely. Unexpected, and a perfect autumn dish. The combo was unique – a sweet and slightly spicy blend. And healthy to boot!Roasted deicata squash on roasting pan.

His girlfriend gave me the skinny the next morning.

SAUTEED KALE WITH ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH – serves 4

1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into slices
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Cinnamon
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed and cut into 1” strips
Hot pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash and rosemary sprigs in 1 – 2 tbs. olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and cinnamon and roast for 15 – 20 minutes until fork tender.

Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Toss kale, for 2 minutes. Cover the pan for about 3 more minutes. Sprinkle on salt, fresh ground black pepper and hot pepper flakes. Toss until tender.

Add the squash to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!!

Now his girlfriend is also an expert dessert maker. Just look at this beautiful chocolate wonderfulness we had for dessert.Chocolate tart with a graham cracker crust and whipped cream.We are soooo lucky!!

Kale!

‘Tis the season for the dark curly greens. You will see it on many a platter as a garnish.

I love kale.

My husband hates it.

For several weeks now, I have been wanting to recreate this salad I had some years ago. I bought kale last week to do it, kept putting it off and then Zachary came home with his girlfriend and used it up for a dinner with some pasta. My husband was safe for a week.

I bought it again this past Saturday. A beautiful full bunch of young looking leaves. Those are the best – tender and delicious.

I bargained with him. I would make his favorite chicken breast recipe, with a fantastic new twist, adding blueberries and shallots, if I could make my kale salad. Of course I added extra doses of LOVE while I was cooking this meal.

Well, he LOVED it!! He even had thirds. We ate the whole thing!

Here’s the recipe:
KALE SALAD WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES, PINE NUTS AND PARMESAN
– serves 2 – 3

One large bunch of kale, washed well, spun dry, stems removed and very, very thinly sliced (slicing it thin, like a chiffonade, is very important)
One handful of dried cranberries, or more to taste
3 – 4 tbs. of toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup hot olive oil
1/2 cup or more of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast the pine nuts in a baking pan for 5 – 7 minutes until lightly browned. Toss together the kale, cranberries and pine nuts in a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan until very hot and nearly smoking. Carefully pour the oil evenly over the kale. Listen to the sizzle as you are nearly frying the leaves. Distribute the parmesan onto the salad, add salt and pepper to taste. Toss thoroughly. Serve right away.

You will LOVE this, I guarantee!Kale salad with cranberries and pine nutsThis salad is perfect for this time of year. Just look at the colors, so festive for the holidays with the luscious green and red. A great clean and healthy dish to have in the midst of all the holiday richness!

kale salad with sauteed chicken breast in white wine, shallots and blueberries

Our dinner – with sauteed chicken breasts in white wine, shallots and blueberries

Bloomberg’s Sodas

So the news came out yesterday that our dear mayor wants to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sized sodas and sugary drinks everywhere. I’m not a fan of the government making rules for your life but people are just getting too fat. The cheap junk and fast food is just awful. We’re way too fat here in NYC, too. Years ago, in the 70s, I used to go home to St. Louis and find all the people there fat, while we New Yorkers were normal or slim. Not any more. (Having just been in Nashville, I can tell you that people are not fat there.)

And how about portion sizes, which is what Bloomberg is talking about. The big American size is so endemic that it’s hard to find normal sized dinner plates. We have an old dishwasher at our country house and it was a struggle to find dinner plates that would fit in. What has happened to us? I’m tired of standing on the subway just because some one person is taking up not 2 but 3 seats!! Or how about the fact that we all pay for the medical problems of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, just to mention a few.

How is this for an idea — I think our mayor should also consider giving each and every resident a full-length mirror. I’m convinced that people have no idea how they look. If they knew, they’d surely do something about it, don’t you think?

What I hope to accomplish with this blog is to teach people how to eat right, and to get in the habit of cooking to be able to prepare totally delicious, nutritious meals on any night of the week, even a weekday! Add a little LOVE while you’re cooking and you will please everyone, including yourself. And you’ll feel a whole lot better in every respect.

Take a look at this meal I prepared last night for four in an hour. It is a spoon cut sirloin beef roast, (38 minutes to cook at 350 degrees!), sautéed kale and beet greens with a little garlic and olive oil and yellow beans pan sautéed with just a touch of butter. Totally nutritious and delicious, and everyone loved it!

Sirloin roast beef with sauteed kale, beet greens, and yellow beans in white and green bowls.

Dinner in an hour!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Sweethearts and a card.

So tonight, what will you be doing? I’m not a big fan of going out in NYC. The restaurants are always packed and besides, I’d rather serve my own LOVE-filled food at home!

I’m planning on making a veal chop recipe with grapes, honey and sage. It’s a very memorable dish that I made years ago and I really haven’t repeated, quite frankly, because veal is so expensive. But tonight, it will be just the two of us so I figure I’ll go for it!

Now Zach (23) is still living at home with us and he needs a place for his dinner with his girlfriend. So I suggested a candle light dinner in our office conference room with food brought in. Sounds pretty good – right? They’ll be alone. I just need to get the conference room in shape from all the editing and packing for the move that we’ve been doing.

When the kids were little, I would always make these heart cookies that my mother used to make for us. They are an oatmeal based cut-out cookie, that you sandwich two together and then ice all over with a buttercream frosting. They are really good and get better with age as the butter soaks into the cookies. But as you can imagine, they are a ton of work. My oldest son, had us all over for dinner on Sunday night at his apartment in Williamsburg, and was asking about the cookies. With the move, I don’t think I’ll get to them this year.

It was wonderful to have dinner at our older son’s home, particularly after the full day of packing we did at the office. Zach helped us on Sunday and both boys helped on Saturday. (We are blessed with great kids.)

The dinner was a delicious chicken tagine with homemade chick peas and farro instead of cous cous (much better) and served with a mixture of mustard greens and kale, wilted under the broiler, and then tossed with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Divine!!

To all you young moms out there, this is what can happen if you serve your kids great fresh food cooked with LOVE. They will want to continue the tradition and even step it up a notch! Our older son’s most recent purchase – the French Laundry cookbook from Thomas Keller! I don’t even have that one and it is gorgeous!!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

Friday night super food!

Sauteed shrimp on a white plate.

Sauteed shrimp on top of kale, turnips and red pepper

I put together this dish last night. I needed to use up an unusual combination of vegetables – turnips and kale, and I had a red pepper and one plum tomato begging to be used as it’s the end of the week. (You’re probably saying, “Yuck!”) I shop once a week for all fruits and vegetables and fill in on fish and meat from my specialty shops – Esposito’s Pork Shop and Sea Breeze Fish Market near my office. I had bought some beautiful, large, fresh Florida shrimp.

So what to do? I just thought about what would taste good for each and cooked accordingly, and hoped for the best. I always warn my husband when I’m starting to do this sort of thing, winging it, to hopefully lower expectations.

I roasted the turnips together with the red pepper tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. This roasting made the turnips sweet little chunks. While that was roasting, I slowly sautéed the garlic first, then added the kale and chicken stock and cooked them until they were very tender. At the end, I sautéed the shrimp in softened shallots and dry vermouth. Dry vermouth to me, is wonderous. Unlike just a plain dry white wine, it makes anything taste like fine French food. Really. Off heat to finish, I swirled in a bit of butter, to keep the French thing going. You can do this sort of thing with chicken too and it will taste amazing. Notice, no carbs, (I could do that because Zach was not eating with us), and we didn’t miss that starch. This turned out awesome!! My husband had 4 helpings of the kale and usually he is not a big kale fan. I think he doesn’t like it when it’s not cooked tender enough.

This makes enough to serve 4, although it was just the two of us last night. But then Zach and his girlfriend finished up everything when they came home at 3:30 am. The dirty dishes were in the sink this morning. (At least they make it to the sink!)

SAUTEED SHRIMP WITH KALE, TURNIPS AND RED PEPPERS
- serves 4

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

2 good-sized turnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into ½” strips and then each strip cut into half lengthwise.
2 tbs. olive oil
salt & pepper

Toss all together and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until turnips are fork tender and a little browned. Keep warm in a microwave (not turned on) or a warming drawer

1.5 tbs. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped into 1” strips
1/3 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Some extra water or broth if you need it

Warm the olive oil and sauté the garlic for 10 – 15 minutes to soften. Do not let it brown. Add your kale and chicken broth, toss to combine and cover. Watch and toss often. Add more water or broth if you need to. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until kale is very tender. It will turn dark.

1.5 tbs. olive oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1.5 lbs. shrimp, shells removed, tails left on. Wash 3 times, dry, and salt and pepper one side of the shrimp
1 plum tomato, cut into ½” pieces
1 scant tbs. unsalted butter

Warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots on low heat for 10 minutes or longer. Do not let them brown. Turn heat up, add vermouth and let it bubble for a minute. Add the shrimp and tomato and toss and stir until the shrimp turn pink. This will take about 3 minutes. When shrimp are done, remove pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted.

Add the roasted turnips and red peppers with all their sauce to the kale mixture and combine. Place a mound of the kale and turnip mixture in the middle of the plate and mound a serving of shrimp in the center of the kale. Drizzle some shrimp juices on the shrimp and kale.

Enjoy!!