Kale Salad with Lemon and Toasted Almonds

This was my first true kale salad triumph in the makeshift kitchen of our temporary housing when we first moved to Miami (4-1/4 years ago!). In the past years kale has swept the nation’s restaurants and food magazines (yes we realize it was around way before this). I was a devout fan but I had not yet taken the leap into the sheer awesomeness that can arise from this hearty nutritious green and some fun additions. I have since created several kale recipes but this one remains close to my heart. It is tangy and crunchy with earthy undertones from the toasted almonds and a nice but not too strong lemony zip from the zest. This has by far grown into one of my most requested recipes, versatile and only gets better as it sits!

Kale Salad with Lemon and Toasted Almonds

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (3-4 Tablespoons juice) or red wine vinegar

1 large bunch of any kind of kale, washed*
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or more if desired
1 whole medium ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted or raw**

Serves about 4

Using a fork; mix ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl until well combined.

Remove the dark green leafy parts from the kale leaves and set aside. Gather the stems into a pile with one hand and- thinly slice the stems into 1/8 inch rounds and add to the bowl.

Cut the leafy parts into strips to about 1 inch. If the leaves are very large and wide then cut them in half the long way and then proceed, adding the leaves to the bowl as you go.

Add the onion, and salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well with clean hands, massaging the dressing into the kale by “crushing” the kale firmly until the dressing is well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the cheese, avocado and the almonds and toss again. Adjust seasoning and lemon if needed.

Tips & Notes~

*To save time: use any type of bagged greens but mix gently the dressing instead of crushing with your hands.

**To toast the almonds; spread on a baking sheet and place in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown, stirring once. I like to use my toaster oven. These will store in a jar at room temp for up to a month or in the fridge for 2 months.

Great Additions~

Currants, raisins, sun dried tomatoes, olives
Fresh apple or pear, thinly sliced
Garbanzo beans, lentils or cherry tomatoes
Substitute any nut for the almonds but toasted is a MUST
Substitute goat cheese, manchego or feta for the parmesan

The original execution do not include tomatoes but alas I am a pretty firm believer that tomatoes should only be eaten if the are straight out of the garden, anything less is uncivilized! I have also added local radish, chickpeas and some cooked quinoa for a full and nourishing meal!


Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is UNBELIEVABLY easy to make…seriously you will be shocked. It has sweet and savory applications and is amazing just with some toasted whole grain bread and great olive oil. It is also an amazing crow pleaser and is sure to impress…give it a go!


4 Ingredient Ricotta Recipe

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

3 cups organic whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice

Makes about 2 cups

Combine all milk, cream in a medium non-aluminum sauce pan and bring to a slight simmer over medium heat, the milk will get foamy and start to steam; remove it from heat if it starts to boil.

Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and salt and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to sit- undisturbed for 10 minutes until curds begin to form. Meanwhile line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth. Place the strainer into a medium pot and gently pour the curds into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let drain for at least 15 minutes. Open up the cloth and guide the cheese into a container (preferably glass) for storing if you are not using immediately. The cheese will dry out as you let it drain. If you want it a bit more moist, do not drain as long.

Tips & Notes~

Add some chopped herbs or for a savory flavor or stir in a bit of cinnamon and honey after it drains for a sweet treat.

For another fun trick see below…

This is SO good you can just eat with a spoon!

Take the remaining whey and place the pot on the stove on medium heat. Reduce the liquid until there is only a little bit of caramely liquid at the bottom of the pan. This will be a deeelicious sweet and salty sauce that is amazing with bread or on top of ice cream, or frankly just on it’s own. It will harden as it cools however so you can either add a little water, olive oil or some extra cream. I also turn it into pesto in a food processor with some garlic and herbs…divine. When my mom and I discovered this little treasure we added it to macaroni and cheese (with other cheeses of course) and it was a HIT!

Coconut Chickpea Curry

Coconut Chick Pea Curry Vegan

Coconut Chickpea Curry

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, ghee or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
4 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 inch knob of fresh ginger, rough ends removed and finely chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon coriander seed
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 can of organic chopped tomatoes
1 can chick peas with the water
1 can Kidney beans, drained
1 can full fat coconut milk
salt to taste
splash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice if necessary

~makes 4-6 servings

Heat the oil in a high sided saute pan on high, add onions, garlic and ginger. Turn the heat down to medium-high and saute for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add your spices and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the spices from burning, they should become quite fragrant. Add the tomatoes; juice and all, the chick peas including the liquid from the 1 can and the coconut milk. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and leave to simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally. If too much of the liquid reduces you can add a splash of filtered water. (more…)

Raw Nori Rolls with Spicy Coconut Dipping Sauce

These rolls are the perfect snack, or even a light meal if you add something on the side. They are raw, full of super foods and incredibly delicious…one of my all time favorite recipes. I have requests from clients and for cstrings all the time and you will find the fixins in my fridge quite often. The best part is that you can get the veggies ready (except for the avocado) and roll to order, they will keep for 2-3 days covered with a damp paper towel and some plastic wrap.

Raw Nori Rolls
2 small carrots, julienne
1 medium zucchini, julienne
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienne
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin the long way
1 large avocado, cut in half seeded and sliced the long way
About 2 cups red cabbage, thinly shredded
About 4 green onions, julienne
1/2 cup pickled ginger
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves and stems, ends trimmed and picked into smaller pieces
nori sheets
Dipping sauce (recipe below)

Makes about 6-8 rolls

Fill a small dish with filtered water and set it next to your work station.Arrange all of the veggies on a plate or a cutting board. Lay the nori sheet (shiny side down) on a counter or cutting board with the wide side closest to you. Arrange veggies in a long line across one sheet of nori; starting with the carrots and moving down the list so that the ends of the veggies are hanging off the side of the nori wrapper.

Roll the nori up like a burrito while using your finger tips to pull the veggies toward you to keep the roll tight. When you get almost to the end; hold the roll with one hand and dip your finger in the bowl of water and wet the end of the nori sheet and quickly finish rolling. The water will make the sheet stick together.

Allow the roll to sit while you repeat with the remaining veggies. When you are finished; cut each roll into 6-8 pieces using a sharp knife. Turn them on their side so that the inside of the roll is facing up. Serve with the dipping sauce- recipe follows.

Tips & Notes:

Change up the veggies and cilantro and use some shredded lettuce, sweet potato (cut with a vegetable peeler) or red bell pepper.

Substitute the cilantro for some mint or basil.

If you do not plan to eat them all at once you can store the cut up veggies in a container in the fridge and then just grab a bit and quickly roll one up when you’re hungry! Cut the avocado at the last minute.

Nori~ is rich in vitamin A, protein, B vitamins, calcium, and iron…Yay!


Spicy Coconut Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup coconut oil
4 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 Tablespoons ginger
1 medium clove garlic
4 medium dates or 2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon nama shoyu, soy sauce, Tamari, or amino acids
1 heaping Tablespoon white miso paste, optional
1 Tablespoon water
splash of Siracha or a bit of fresh chili pepper

Place in a blender and blend on high until smooth and serve as a dipping sauce or a salad dressing.

*Gluten-free folks: Please make sure the ingredients you are using note “gluten-free”. Items to watch for are the nori sheets, miso paste, and Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce).


Amazing Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Something about Fall makes me want to bake, and the promise of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies makes me want to bake even faster. I am not sure why, but even when I was a pastry chef, this time of year was the most inspiring for me. Of course now visions of pumpkin breads and apple pies and hearty muffins are dancing in your head, mine too. I am in a bit of a pickle however because my fiancé Anthony dislikes all things above mentioned and would take Dulce de Leche ice cream and chocolate chip cookies over just about anything and everything baked (besides bread of course for which he would trade me). Admittedly addicted to sugar, I clearly cannot be trusted around copious amounts of baked goods, especially during times of stress (not sure if you heard but we have just moved and this qualifies as times of stress!). (more…)