Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing


Most of April has gone by already and for the last few weeks I didn't turn on the computer or reach for the camera while cooking.  I've been consumed with my full-time job of caring for my toddler whose naps are now very short and frankly at night I am in bed by 9 pm.  My body is also consumed with growing another small human; my mind reeling with questions of how we're all going to adjust once he or she joins us a few months.   I guess this has left me with little creativity left for And Baby Cakes Three.

Then yesterday I got a comment from a friend and blogger named Magda asking where I had been, and if was everything OK. I smiled because I often feel the same way if TracyAmelia, Denise or Fiona haven't posted in a while.  I wonder if they have a touch of the blues, are overwhelmed with work, or if they're even dealing with something more trying.  It's strange but think of these people when I clean my sink at night (Tracy's is always immaculate in her photos.)  Maybe when I'm out walking I think of Amelia's perspective on life and reming myself to look up at the sky.  I see something exciting happening in the literary world and send it to Denise on Twitter.  I wonder how Fiona makes it all happen (work, kids, family, blog) seamlessly, but I'm always thankful when she speaks of the challenges of a particularly difficult week.

These online friends have made blogging seem less of a vain act of marketing myself.  Instead, I blog because I'm sharing something with these special people who I hope one day to meet.  And while I can willingly go a week or more without turning on my computer, I'm glad to have this space to come back to where I can "meet up" with a few of these women and see what they've been up to.

Now for the recipe.  Last night P and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary in a neighborhood restaurant called Tiny's. It met all of our expectations for a good night out.  A cozy place with a friendly staff, and unassuming yet perfectly imagined food.  I devoured the Kale and Apple Salad as an appetizer - and then set about to recreate it this morning.  I hope all my friends like it -- both those who I've spent time with in person and those I only see virtually.

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing
Inspired by the salad at Tiny's in TriBeCa
Serves 2

I know there has been a wild craze for eating Kale Chips recently.  I've tried making them at home and I was less than excited about them.  Now that I've had kale in a salad, I'm completely sold.  This salad feels so good to eat.  It's one of those things where you know you're treating your body like a temple that deserves respect and reverence.  This recipe feeds two but it took all my willpower not to eat the entire thing myself in one sitting.

One bunch of Kale
1 organic apple (skin on) cut into bite sized chunks
1 carrot, shredded
2 celery stalks sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/4 cup grated gouda
1/4 cup or more chopped walnuts

Prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the coarse stalks and cutting into bite size pieces.  Rinse it well. Remove the moisture from the leaves by using a salad spinner if you have one.  Combine the kale, apple, carrot, celery in a large bowl.  Toss it well with the maple mustard dressing, then add the shredded gouda and walnuts and toss again.

Maple Mustard Dressing:
Adapted From Eating Well
1/2 cup olive oil (Eating Well suggested Walnut oil or Canola oil)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper

Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a Mason Jar with a lid.  I used about half for the salad and saved half in the refrigerator for next time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lentil Apple Muffins


 Last weekend I attended the IACP culinary expo here in New York City where I met folks from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council.  They sent me home with lots of literature and recipes and I was eager to try a few, particularly those that use lentils in inventive ways.

I've noticed a trend on a few food blogs lately to make chocolate cakes and other desserts using beans, or frosting with avocado.  While these are innovative ideas, something in me just wants to let cake be cake.  Muffins are kind of cake's healthy cousin, so I am always willing to tinker with them.


These muffins were a huge hit.  Roman ate four of them in the course of a day.  Maybe it was the allure of the cupcake liners and he thought he was actually eating cake.  (I told him nothing of the sort!) Of course I always feel good giving him a fortified homemade snack like these.  The lentil flavor goes unnoticed - these are just moist, barely sweet muffins with a hint a few nice spices.

Pulses (lentils and peas) have been a favorite of the American farmer since the 2002 Farm Bill.  More and more acres have been planted every year since.  Pulses are as healthy to grow as they are to eat since they replenish soil nitrogen naturally by pulling it from the air.  Pulses are now a permanent player in today's sustainable crop rotations.  So if you haven't been eating them, April (Earth month) is a good time to start! You'll find more recipes on their website.


For obvious reasons there is always an influence on feeding kids healthy foods.  But don't forget that the investment in bodies of all ages is just as important.  

Lentil Apple Muffins
This recipe comes from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, but I made a few changes.  The original recipe called for canned apple pie mix - I used one shredded apple.  I used two eggs instead of one and half the amount of oil that they called for.  These keep in an airtight container for at least a day or two.
Makes 12.

2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup lentil puree (see below)
1 apple, peeled and grated (I've also made these using a grated pear- delicious.)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and lentil puree.
In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Combine the wet and dry mixtures, then stir in the grated apple.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan (lined with papers or greased) and bake for 15-17 minutes.

To make the lentil puree: rinse and drain 3/4 cup of dry lentils. (I used red.) Bring the lentils to a boil in 2 cups of water.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  The longer they cook, the softer they become.  Cool and do not drain.  Puree in a blender or food processor until the consistency of canned pumpkin.  Add water to thin if needed.  This renders 2 cups of pureed lentils.  You can freeze half for future use.

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