Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One-Bowl Kale Salad

I love this new recipe that came from a friend in a quick discussion on what she was making for supper.  I often make this salad without measuring but for the sake of publishing it, I have found these amounts work well, but feel free to eye-ball it if you prefer.   I do find it is important to not make the dressing separate as is traditionally done with salads.  I personally think that the layering effect of the dressing helps create the balance of taste.  PLUS, that would require additional dishes to make it in a separate bowl.  I always prefer fewer dishes and it makes this salad recipe a little unique.

I first started making this salad in late winter/early spring when I could still get kale from my garden and oranges were in season.  As I harvested my new kale from the spring and summer, I had used fresh strawberries, apples, pears and I used those in place of the orange and loved that equally well.  So it is a salad for all seasons really....I am now buying my kale in the grocery store like most Canadians.

One-Bowl Kale Salad

4 cups Kale - finely chopped
1 orange - peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (or fruit of choice)
2 Tbsp chopped almonds - toasted
1/4 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste.

Wash the kale and chop into thinner strips or pieces.  Place in a medium-sized bowl.
Drizzle the olive oil over the kale and rub or massage the oil into the greens using your hands.  This may cause the kale to look more wilted which is totally ok.
Pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice over the kale and stir to spread the juice around.
Pour the maple syrup over the kale and stir to spread the sweetness =)
Season with salt and pepper and stir again to mix it all in.

If you want to present this salad on a plate, now is the best time to do that.  Pour the kale onto a plate/platter.  Evenly spread on the cilantro, the fruit of choice and finish with the nuts on top. This gives everyone equal access to all the yumminess in the salad.

If you prefer to mix it all in the bowl, add the remaining fruit, nuts, cilantro and stir everything together.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread

I found this recipe at a favourite blog of mine chocolate covered Katie but found her directions to be complicated and she had more sugar than I felt was needed.  So here is my version which simplifies the mixing process to keep life simpler and baking more fun.  It is totally delicious, vegan if you follow the specific ingredients, and so worth trying.

Chocolate Marble 
Banana Loaf
2 cups mashed banana (about 5 frozen bananas)*
1/2 cup pure Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Coconut oil - or oil of choice
2 Tbsp Rice milk (or any milk of choice)
1 - 2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups spelt flour (whole or light spelt or any other alternative flour of choice)
3 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp Rice milk (or milk of choice)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Prepare a 5 x 9 loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal of the loaf after.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until a smooth consistency is obtained.
Then add the syrup, coconut oil, 2 Tbsp rice milk, vanilla and cider vinegar and mix thoroughly.
Add the soda, powder, salt, cinnamon and combine.
Add the spelt flour and gently mix it in.
Pour about half the batter into a smaller bowl and set that aside.
Using the larger bowl with half the batter, mix in the 1 Tbsp rice milk and cocoa and chocolate chips.
Stir until all combined.
Starting the with non-chocolate batter, pour half of that mixture into the loaf pan.  Use a spoon to spread it evenly across the bottom.
Pour the chocolate mixture over top the banana mix.
Finish off with the last portion of banana mix on top of the chocolate.  Use a spoon or knife to swirl the flavours together.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the centre is firm.  I sometimes turn off the oven after 50 minutes and will leave the loaf in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to finish off the baking more indirectly.

It is really delicious if you can wait for it to cool off before biting in.

Cook's notes:

Bananas: I personally always use frozen bananas for my baking.  I allow them to ripen on the counter (creating more natural sugars) and freeze them with the peel on.  To use for baking, I put the frozen bananas in a bowl with water for about 20 minutes to thaw them.  Discard that water and peel the bananas  - well it is more like cut the skin and squish out the sweet nectar.  They mash really easy this way and provide a great consistency for muffins and loaves like this.  If you use ripe bananas from your counter, the loaf consistency may change slightly.  You may need to add another 2 + Tbsp of milk to thin the batter a bit more.