Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

The calendar says it’s fall, but I’m quickly realizing that plays out a lot differently in Southern California. Growing up in Minnesota, I was always sad to see fall arrive. Sure, September and October brought a few gorgeous weeks of shockingly bright maple trees, fresh apple cider, and haunted corn mazes, but they flew by way too quickly. I was always sad to put away my summery dresses and haul out the scarves.

Oh how quickly things have changed. I understand this is the equivalent of complaining about first world problems, but this is the first year I’ve lived in LA and I miss fall! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to live in a place that doesn’t have winter, but could we dial down the regional thermostat juuuuust a little bit please? I’m very confused by 80° temps alongside pumpkin spice lattes, and I’m sick and tired of my summer clothes.

Okay, I promise I’m done now. And instead of complaining too much, I’ve been bringing autumn into my life through food. I’ve been busy making things like butternut squash soup, pumpkin gnocchi, and homemade candy corn. I made refrigerator pickles, and then I canned 2 1/2 pounds of green beans as if fresh veggies would never be in season again. After that, I covered the apartment with mini gourds. Autumn has arrived!

Another seasonally-inspired dish I whipped up recently was this delicious kale salad. It’s strikingly beautiful (can you say that about a salad?) with autumnal colors of deep green, purple, and orange. Candied pecans and roasted sweet potatoes nicely offset the bitterness of the radicchio, and the tangy pomegranate vinaigrette makes the whole dish crave-worthy. (Note: if your grocery store doesn’t carry pomegranate molasses you can easily find it online.) No matter what fall looks like in your part of the country, I suggest you make this salad soon!

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Salad

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces Lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1/2 head radicchio, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup candied pecans
  • shaved parmesan cheese

Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400° F. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, place kale in a large bowl and massage it for about a minute, squeezing with your hands until the leaves slightly wilt and soften. Don’t be afraid to be rough with it; the kale needs help to become nice and tender. Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together water, pomegranate molasses, honey, vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil, taste the dressing, and add more salt or pepper if desired.

Add radicchio and sweet potatoes to the bowl with the kale and toss until combined. Add dressing to taste and toss until the salad is evenly coated. Top with candied pecans and shaved parmesan, and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Welcome to the 200th post on Lingonberry Jam! Although I’m just a hobbyist who’s nowhere near the 1000 posts of my favorite food blogger, it’s still fun to take a moment to reflect on these past few years and how my blog has evolved. Indulge me for a moment as I get all infographic crazy.

Lingonberry Jam Infographic

A few takeaways:

  • People like posts with hyphens in them. Oh, and being on Buzzfeed helps.
  • I wonder how many people are looking for my blog, and how many are just hoping to learn about those tart Swedish preserves they sell at Ikea.
  • My mom rocks. :)

As my 200th post neared, I found myself wondering what recipe I should post to mark the momentous occasion. Perhaps that homemade nutella that I still haven’t quite gotten right? Or a fancy dancy homemade cheese? How about a celebratory cake?

In the end, I decided to go for something simple and versatile: salted caramel sauce. It’s a recipe I’ve made many, many times. It’s something that any dessert lover should learn to master. It’s SO much better than buying caramel topping from the grocery store. And it can be made with a few ingredients you probably already have on hand.

It’s a winner.

Soon I’ll share a fantastic dessert that I topped with this sauce, but for now just enjoy this on ice cream, brownies, apple slices, or by the spoonful (guilty). And thank you SO much for following along with all my cooking adventures!

Salted caramel sauce

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Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbs. butter, cut into six pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher flake salt

In a small saucepan with tall sides, heat sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula or whisk as the sugar melts. The sugar will clump up and then start to liquify and turn a dark amber color. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

When the sugar is completely melted, add the butter, stirring constantly. The mixture will become quite bubbly, so be careful. When the butter is completely melted, slowly stir in the heavy whipping cream. Again, the caramel will bubble up angrily. Boil the mixture for one minute, then remove from heat and stir in the salt.

Let cool, and transfer to an airtight container. Caramel will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. (If it becomes too thick to stir after refrigeration, reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds before using. You might want to store it in a microwave-safe container just in case.)

Makes about 1 cup.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Homemade Celery Salt

One of the best things I did while living in Minneapolis was join a CSA, or community supported agriculture program. I loved walking down the street to my neighborhood coffee shop each week and picking up a big box of amazingly fresh organic veggies from a local farm. I eagerly looked forward to the e-mail explaining what would be delivered each week and had fun trying new ways to eat my vegetables.

When we got settled here in LA, I immediately started looking up similar programs. We have a fantastic farmer’s market in our neighborhood every Sunday, but the sheer amount of choices were honestly a bit overwhelming. I would gravitate toward avocados and berries and almost never buy any greens. (Guilty.) So I did some research and joined a local CSA a couple months ago. I love supporting SavRaw* because I get all sorts of fun and interesting produce– summer squash shaped like stars!– and I also get to support local schools as well as sustainable farmers.

So every Sunday, we get a box full of six different veggies and two pounds of fruit delivered right to our door. Usually I’m pretty happy with the choices, but I do let out a groan when I see a huge bunch of celery poking out of the box. Not my favorite vegetable, but I don’t want it to go to waste. I’ll usually slice it up and eat it with hummus, or dice it and throw it in the freezer for winter soups.

One week, I decided to actually do something with the celery leaves themselves: homemade celery salt! Believe it or not, this was super easy and one of those “Why didn’t I think of that before?” projects. The volume can vary, but the leaves of one bunch of celery made about 1/4 cup of celery salt for me. It’s really fresh tasting, perfect for perking up tuna salad or sprinkling on hardboiled eggs. Of course, I still had to eat the stalks themselves, but luckily I had a fresh batch of hummus to help me with that.

* Disclaimer: This post was in no way sponsored by SavRaw. I just love my CSA!

Homemade celery salt

Homemade celery salt

Homemade celery salt

Homemade Celery Salt

  • fresh celery leaves from one bunch of celery
  • flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 300° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pick the celery leaves off the individual stalks and place them in a colander. Rinse the leaves under cold running water and then dry them in a salad spinner or by gently blotting them with paper towels.

Arrange the leaves on the baking sheet in a single layer (use a second sheet if you have to). Bake for 7-12 minutes, watching closely. You want the leaves to dry out completely but not turn brown. Remove baking sheet from oven and let leaves cool completely. They should be very dry and crispy. (If any of the leaves are still soft or wet, you can bake them again in two-minute increments until they’re dry.)

Using a food processor, mortar and pestle, or simply your fingers, crumble the celery leaves until they’re about the same size as the flakes of salt you’re using. Pour the ground leaves into a measuring cup to see how much volume you have, then add the same volume of salt. Stir until well combined. Store in an airtight container.

Yield will vary.

Source: Sassy Kitchen