Tag Archives: lunch

Baby Kale and Blackberry Salad

Baby Kale and Blackberry Salad with Ricotta Salata, Avocado and Rosemary Honeyed Almonds from Taste Love & Nourish

We live in a bit of a remote area. It takes a bit of driving to get anywhere. Consequently, I tend to shop at a variety of grocery stores. I love them all (well, most of them) for different reasons. There are certain things I can find at one that I can’t at the others. The problem is, I always forget where I found what. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I mean, AARP sends me a card to remind me of that at least once a week. Regardless…I should probably start jotting things down.

Anyway…the point is, I adore baby kale. My problem is, it can be hard to find and I never remember where I got it last. I do believe that you may have the best luck at Whole Foods. But, then…I’m old. So, maybe not.

If you should find baby kale or if you give up entirely and just pull out any green you have in the fridge, I really think you are going to love the flavor combinations in this salad. The ricotta salata adds a briny and salty bite against the bursts of sweet and tangy blackberries. Then, you’ve got creamy and buttery avocado and the savory-sweet crunch of almonds dusted with a bit of rosemary. I mean, really. I think your tastebuds are going to thank you!

Baby Kale and Blackberry Salad with Ricotta Salata, Avocado and Rosemary Honeyed Almonds from Taste Love & Nourish

Baby Kale and Blackberry Salad

4 C. baby kale
1 C. blackberries
1/2 avocado, cubed
4 oz. ricotta salata
Rosemary Honeyed Almonds (recipe below)

Dressing:
4 T. lemon juice
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

On two large dinner plates, divide and arrange the kale, blackberries, avocado and ricotta salata. Set aside.

Mix up the dressing in a small bowl or glass.

Top each salad with the dressing and finish with the almonds.

Serves 2 large salads

Rosemary Honeyed Almonds

1 t. olive oil
1/2 C. sliced almonds
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 t. dried rosemary, crushed a bit
2 t. honey

In a heavy cast iron pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the almonds. Keep the pan moving as the almonds begin to get toasted. As soon as you smell the nuttiness, add the salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss for one more second then add the honey. Stir until all of the almonds are coated. Continue for just a few more seconds, remove from the heat and allow the nuts to cool in the pan for just a few minutes.

    Notes:

  • Ricotta Salata is an Italian semi-hard cheese made from goat’s milk. It has a mild briny flavor and crumbles nicely. It’s perfect in salads like this.
  • The leaves of baby kale are so tender and the flavor is very mild. As I said, if you can’t find baby kale, try Lacinto kale…but truly, this will be wonderful with any green you love.

 

Baby Kale and Blackberry Salad with Ricotta Salata, Avocado and Rosemary Honeyed Almonds from Taste Love & Nourish

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

I’ve always imagined a wedding in an old Tuscan villa, nestled perfectly between green hillsides dotted with rows of grapevines and gardens. The bride, wearing the dress of her mother’s and her grandmother’s before her, dancing happily with her new husband and surrounded by their families. Cheering, laughing, drinking and eating. Eating Italian Wedding Soup—

Nope…

This soup has nothing to do with my dreamy wedding fantasy! I mean, it’s not even remotely romantic. Long ago, someone named this wedding soup to represent the marriage of meat and green vegetables. Sigh. You know I love food, but come on!

I have so many versions of this soup. My family loves them all, but after eating this one recently, my husband said this one was the best soup I’ve ever made! (I married a very smart man, you know!) I’ve adapted the traditional wedding soup by using ground chicken breast to lighten things up. You could make this with ground meat or sausage. You can add some small pasta like Acini de Pepe or some more veggies like carrots and celery. But, this simple version…is really wonderful. Because it’s so simple, the broth is so important. There are some soups you can get away with using canned broth. Not this one. Homemade broth makes this soup really special.

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 egg
1/2 small onion, grated (about 1/3 C. grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 C. whole grain breadcrumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan, grated
1 – 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken breast

12 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. escarole, sliced
1 egg
2 t. Parmesan
black pepper
1 lemon, sliced in wedges

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Stir to combine. Add the ground chicken and stir again to mix well.

Place a large pot over high heat and add the chicken broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil while you form the meatballs.

Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon, scoop the mixture and level it completely against the side of the bowl. Release the scoop in your hand and roll into a meatball. Place the meatballs on a large dish or a baking sheet. Continue until the mixture is done. You should have about 36 or so meatballs. (See Notes for a great tip!)

Once the broth has come to a boil, gently drop the meatballs into the pot then add the escarole. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and allow the broth to return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, Parmesan and black pepper. Stream the mixture into the soup while whisking the broth to create threads of egg. Continue simmering for one or two more minutes.

Serve the soup in bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan and a wedge of lemon.

Serves 6.

Notes:

  • Escarole is one of my favorite healthy dark greens! It’s got a mild flavor, yet it’s got the nutritional impact that a lot of those more bitter dark greens have. Escarole is high in fiber, antioxidants and a fantastic source of Vitamins A and C.
  • I’m not terribly squeamish in the kitchen, but when working with ground poultry, I always use thin, food grade vinyl gloves for making chicken or turkey meatballs. The texture of ground poultry is vastly different than ground meat. It can be very sticky and hard to work with. The gloves completely solve that problem.
  • Don’t forget the lemon for serving! It makes all the difference!

 

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.