Persimmon Kale Salad

Persimmon Kale Salad

Just like the rest of the world, I am cutting back on calories. As much as I love food, the holidays test my tolerance of eating and drinking excessively. Frankly, I am tired of overeating.

Cooking healthy does not have to be tasteless and boring. After cooking for so many years I have discovered that cooking fresh and seasonal is the easiest way to eat healthy and flavorful. Produce at its peak makes the job of conscious eating actually desirable.

The even better news is that this recipe is beyond simple. The trick to making a delicious salad at home is making your own dressing. I always make my dressing in my small food processor, and this recipe is no different.

I take fresh seasonal persimmons, puree them, then throw in the rest of my dressing ingredients. A quick chop of walnuts, kale, and pear results in a super easy and super healthy dinner.

You can add protein or cheese for an even more delicious variation. To really cut down on the bitterness of the kale, I let the kale sit in the dressing for at least thirty minutes before serving.

Here is another delicious salad recipe

Prosciutto + Pistachio Salad

Prosciutto + Pistachio Salad

Last week I gave you a simple recipe that used seasonal local ingredients. My Onion, Fig, & Feta tarts used cheese from a local goat farm and seasonal fresh figs. And although the tarts are extremely delectable on their own, I created them with the intent to include the pastries as part of a larger meal that is just as simple to prepare as the first portion.

Fig pastry recipe is here: Onion, Feta, & Fig Tarts

If you have thumbed around my blog, for even a second, you will notice that it is filled with hearty southern food and decadent baked goods. I am not a one trick pony, I do (quite often) make healthy(ish) food. I swear you can find a salad recipe some fifty posts ago.

Like my fig tarts, and this recipe uses fresh local ingredients; plus, you can whip it up in a dash. My homemade salad dressing, which sets any salad apart, is made with local Savannah honey and white balsamic for a punch.

I crisp of some salty prosciutto and sprinkle over pistachios. Served on the side, which add sweet and savory notes, are the fig tarts posted last week.

This one is a dinner party show stopper (along with well cooked protien) or a satisfying weeknight meal that is better than that frozen pizza we always go to.

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Seasonal Citrus Salad

Seasonal Citrus Salad

Citrus was put on this earth to help get everyone through the cold winters in the south. You see us southerners, especially in the low country, thrive in thick sticky heat. The second the temperature drops below 70 degrees, madness ensues.

Around the same time the winter blues make us yearn for a day on the boat and some warm salt air, citrus comes into season. A little fresh vitamin C pick me up always helps make the long winter nights seem shorter. Every time I peel a juicy ripe orange I am immediately reminded of sipping a Mai Tai by the pool.

If you look in my pantry this time of year, you will always find a mound of sumo oranges. My husband loves to bring them home to me as a treat, unless I really need some chocolate.

This recipe came together by walking around my local market and picking out what was ripe and in season–citrus. And of course I included sumo oranges.

I love a recipe that is a simple-to-make showstopper. When you use really good in-season ingredients it does not take much work to make the finished dish taste good. All together this Seasonal Citrus Salad took around ten minutes to throw together, and the result was one I was proud to serve to my friends for dinner. This salad would also be a lovely addition to any brunch or breakfast.

Because this recipe is seasonal, you can use any citrus that is available near you. Please do not feel constrained to use what I have listed, go out and grab your favorite winter citrus.

Part 2: Revamping Leftover Caramel Popcorn

Part 2: Revamping Leftover Caramel Popcorn

For those who know me, know I am an ATL-ien at heart. I moved to the low country a few short years ago, but still take pride in my first home that was burned by Sherman. So, for part two of my last post, revamping your leftover Christmas popcorn, I am taking inspiration from my first home.

Those of you that know me also know that my favorite restaurant in the “A” is JCT Kitchen, a Ford Fry creation. JCT has everything that is right with the south: soul food that is fresh and modern. Although it is hard to order something besides JCT’s signature fried chicken, there are a ton of worthy adversaries on the menu. One worthy dish is the Cracker Jack Salad. Yes Cracker Jack, as in the childhood treat with a surprise at the bottom the box. By no means is this a healthy salad, but what truly southern cuisine is. Unfortunately JCT no longer carries the salad on their menu, but now with the recipe below you can recreate it at home.

This salad has everything you can imagine, and each element contributes to a balanced bite. The arugula base adds the right amount of bite to combat the sweet hit of caramel popcorn. Sharp red onions work with the tangy yet sweet apple vinegarette. Salt comes from the thinly shaved prosciutto. And to ensure you are actually reminded of a box of Cracker Jacks, the salad features spiced peanuts.

Although it is a salad, this is not one that will work for your resolute diet but the taste is worth the splurge!

Apple Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 apple (of any variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Directions:

Purée the apple in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed above into the food processor. Blend until fully incorporated, 10-20 seconds. Place in sealed container and in fridge until ready to use. Note: this dressing will stay fresh for about one day.

Spiced Peanuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of raw shelled peanuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all of the above ingredients into a tupperware bowl. Place lid on the bowl and shake vigorously until the peanuts are evenly coated. Spread onto a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 5-10 minutes until the peanuts become fragrant.

Cracker Jack Salad

Ingredients for large salad that feeds at least four:

  • 5 ounces (by weight) of Arugula
  • 1 cup of leftover caramel popcorn
  • 1/2 cup of Spiced Peanuts (recipe above)
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles
  • 7 ounces (by weight) of Prosciutto
  • 1/4 of a cup Apple Vinaigrette to start

Directions:

Cut an onion in half down the middle and remove skin from one half, store the other half for later. Cut tip of the onion bulb off before slicing the remaining onion in half to create two half circles. Thinly slice your halves of red onion.

In a large bowl for serving, place your arugula in the bowl. Top with your onion, prosciutto, spiced peanuts, and blue cheese.

Pour over dressing to taste or enough to fully coat the salad. I started with 1/4 of a cup, and added more until the salad was as covered as desired. Toss to coat. Add more dressing if needed, and toss again. Finish by topping the salad with the popcorn. Serve immediately.