Crispy Crunchy Kale, A Taste of Spain, and Brunch with a Dutch Pancake

Today I have three fantastic recipes to share with you. So we’ll begin with a Roasted Sweet Potato and Crispy Kale Salad that I plucked from the NYT archives. The direct link to the original recipe is at the bottom of the recipe.

Here is the recipe

Roasted Sweet Potato and Crispy Kale Salad

Raw Ingredients

2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes

1 generous bunch curly kale (about 1 pound), stemmed, leaves washed and dried thoroughly (see above)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1/4 cup broken pecans, lightly toasted

For the dressing:

1 small garlic clove, pureed

2 ounces Roquefort or blue cheese, crumbled (I used Mitiblu)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

1. To roast the sweet potatoes, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the sweet potatoes and pierce in several places with the tip of a paring knife. Line a sheet pan with foil and place the sweet potatoes on the foil. Bake 40 to minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. They are done when they are soft and beginning to ooze. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile make the dressing (or you can make it a day ahead). In a mini-processor or in a mortar and pestle blend together the garlic, cheese, thyme, buttermilk, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For best results, leave it to sit for at least an hour.

3. To make the crispy kale, heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Make sure that your kale leaves are dry and tear them into medium-size pieces and toss with the olive oil. Gently knead the leaves between your thumbs and fingers to make sure they are coated with oil. Place in an even layer on the baking sheets. Do this in batches if necessary. Place in the oven and roast for 16 to 22 minutes, until the leaves are crisp but not browned. If some of the leaves crisp before others, remove them to a bowl or sheet pan and return the remaining kale to the oven. Watch closely as once the kale browns it will taste bitter. Season to taste with kosher salt or fine sea salt. Allow to cool.

4. Peel the sweet potatoes, quarter lengthwise and slice. Place in a salad bowl and add the pecans and half the crispy kale.

5. Line the edge of a platter with the remaining crispy kale. Toss the sweet potato mixture with the dressing, place in the middle of the platter and serve at once.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/health/roasted-sweet-potato-and-crispy-kale-salad-recipes-for-health.html?smid=pl-share

Next up is my favorite dish from España (Spain), and my own interpretation of it… Espínacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Garbanzos)!

Espínacas Con Garbanzos

My presentation and title of this classic Andalucian dish is a little misleading, because I used Rainbow Swiss Chard instead of Spinach, to add more vibrant colors and use what looked better at the supermarket.

Raw Ingredients

8 oz. of Dried Garbanzos or 12 oz. of Pre-soaked Garbanzos

1 lb. of Rainbow Swiss Chard or Spinach (Washed and Cleaned)

8-10 Cloves of Garlic (or more, it’s all up to you)

1 substantial piece of yesterdays (slightly stale) bread

1/2 an Onion

1 Carrot

Cumin

Paprika

Vinegar (any kind, although balsamic would not be the best for this recipe)

Olive Oil

Salt

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Day Before Prep: If you have dried garbanzos, you must soak them in water for 24 hours before cooking them.

1. Throw your chard in a salted pot of boiling water till the leaves wilt (i.e. Blanching), and after a minute or three, submerge the chard in a bowl or sink full of ice cold water. Once the chard is cooled off, wring the water out of the chard with your hands, so it is not dripping wet and chop it into 1 inch segments.

2. To prepare the beans, boil them in the same water you used for the greens and throw a peeled onion and carrot in the water as well to add some flavor. Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until they are as soft as you desire them to be. Semi firm beans are fine for this recipe as long as you can eat them. You do not need to onion or carrot for anything else, so feel free to eat them separately, puree them for a young child (or yourself), or responsibly compost them.

3. Brown the both sides of the piece of bread in a deep pan with a little olive oil. Once browned, remove the bread and crush with a mortar or some crushing device in a bowl with the cumin.

4.  Brown the garlic in hot oil (but be careful, because it can burn quickly), and crush with the bread crumbs and cumin. Add a splash of vinegar (approximately 2 tablespoons) to your bowl.

5. By now your garbanzos should be done, drain them from the water and mix with the beans, and your garlic, cumin and bread crumb paste. Add your mixture to a pot 3 inches deeper than your mixtures and add a generous amount of olive oil, paprika and salt. Cover the mixture and cook on med-low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring every couple minutes and lightly mashing the beans. You may need to add more olive oil, as this is traditionally a very oily dish. After sweating your mixture for 10-12 minutes, cook without the lid for a couple more and serve warm when it is the consistency you desire.

This recipe  and the recipes I used were very free wheeling and inexact, so it up to you to personalize this dish how you like. I served it with fresh baguette bread, used to mop up all the tasty oil and leftover pieces of chard.

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Ham and Swiss Dutch Pancake

Last but certainly not least, I made a Danish pancake with leftover ham, pesto and eggs. These isn’t a traditional pancake, but leans more towards the family of omelets. More importantly, it allowed me to use up the leftover ham, stale bread and frozen pesto that had been taking up space in my fridge, freezer and counter top.

Raw Ingredients

1 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

4 large eggs

Pesto

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

6 oz. Swiss cheese, grated

4 ounces ham, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh or Canned Bread Crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Have ready a 10-in baking dish or baking pan with 1 3/4-inch tall sides. (I used a 9 inch cast iron pan with 2 inch sides)

2. Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisp together milk, eggs, and mustard. Whisk in flour and salt just until blended. There will be some small lumps. Stir in half of cheese and half of ham. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

3. Put butter and oil in baking dish and place in oven 5 minutes to heat pan and melt butter. Remove from oven and tilt to coat pan. Remove batter from fridge and add the mix in the pesto. Use your bread crumbs to layer the bottom of the pan to create a crust. Pour batter into the hot pan and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven and gently sprinkle remaining ham and cheese over the puffy pastry. Continue baking at least 5 minutes until cheese melts and edges of pancake are browned.

4. Remove from oven, cut into 4 wedges, and serve hot with additional mustard if desired.

This yummy pastry can be breakfast or lunch, and if there are leftovers, you’ll cherish them the following days. It’s criminal how tasty this dish is for how easy it is.

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Music Bonus: If you’re into Latino music, folk or like hearing new sounds, check out “Y La Bamba”, I heard them on NPR last Sunday and cannot stop jamming out to the.

Double Bonus: I guess this has been a musical week since I have so many suggestions.. Check out José James’s new cd, “No Beginning, No End”. This Minneapolis native will not disappoint, as his soulful sounds and raspy jazz voice are accompanied by a world class band that evokes tones of Jazz, Soul and Hip-Hop that reach down to the bone.

Till next time,

Ray

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