Posts Tagged ‘pecan’

Apple Cranberry Kale Salad and Kale Day with October Unprocessed

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

We love our kale in the foodie tots’ house — yes, even tofu-fearing husband has learned to appreciate it — so of course we had to jump on the Kale Day bandwagon on social media today. You see, the blog Eating Rules has an “October Unprocessed” challenge, now in its third year.october unprocessed 2012

The challenge urges people to go one month without processed foods, using a simple “kitchen test”: if the item you’re buying contains only ingredients that could be made in a home kitchen with whole ingredients, it’s okay. This rules out artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup, for starters. It’s a great way to jump start a change in your family diet, if you’ve been contemplating a switch to real foods, or just follow along for a ton of great information and recipe ideas. And, as part of the real food love fest, founder Andrew Wilder declared today International Kale Day. Kale is a superfood packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K, and most of us could stand to eat a little more of it.

Like the classic lemon-parmesan version, making this apple kale salad begins by massaging kale with salt. (Kids love to help with this step.) Let it stand while chopping the apple and nuts, and whisk together a quick dressing of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Toss it all together and let it sit while you finish up the rest of dinner. The salt and dressing help tenderize the kale, and the finished salad is simple and full of fresh fall flavors. (Credit is due to my friend Jill, who first turned me on to the apple-kale combination.)

apple cranberry kale salad

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings


  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped


  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch black pepper, optional


1. Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Massage salt into kale for two minutes.

2. Whisk together maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and olive oil (and pepper, if using–I usually add to the adults’ salads later). Add apples, cranberries and pecans to kale, add dress and toss gently to combine. Let stand 5 to 15 minutes before serving.

Check out the link round-up for more kale inspiration — and feel free to add a link of your own. Happy Kale Day!

Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This is my favorite holiday salad — fresh pomegranate arils sparkle like little jewels to make any meal festive. It was my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (at my brother and sister-in-law’s new home), and will likely make a repeat appearance on Christmas Eve as well. If you have time, roasting the pears makes it even better.

Recipe: Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad


  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 pears
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the arils from a fresh pomegranate)
  • spiced pecans (see below)
  • French dressingFor the Spiced Pecans:
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions: Thinly slice the onion and cook in a skillet or saute pan over medium low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown. Meanwhile, in another saute pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the sugar, salt and seasonings and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pecans have darkened. Remove to a wax paper or parchment lined plate to cool.

To assemble salad, tear the Romaine lettuce into small pieces and place in your salad bowl. Top with onions, sliced pears, pecans and pomegranate arils. Serve with French dressing. Makes 6-8 servings.

Note: I use the under-water technique to seed a pomegranate, as seen at Steamy Kitchen.

P.S. FoodieTots is joining other bloggers to host a holiday progressive feast for Share our Strength — sharing a virtual meal to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. Check back Friday for our official contribution, or go straight to the menu at SOS to find today’s salad dishes.

Banana Pecan Coffee Cake (and a blizzard)

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I haven’t had much time in the kitchen lately, as you might have guessed by my lack of posting. After a long and stressful month, I desparately needed some therapeutic time in the kitchen, breathing in the sweet fragrance of butter and sugar creaming in the KitchenAid. So I was thrilled when I heard there was snow in the forecast for the weekend, and sent the boy and husband to brave the mass hysteria at the grocery store Friday night to stock up on all the snowstorm-in-DC essentials: butter, sugar, flour, orange juice. I didn’t realize just how much snow was in the forecast until I finally paid attention to the weatherman Friday evening, and heard the predictions of a foot or two of snow.  Thus far in my son’s three years, he’s seen maybe a cumulative six inches over his lifetime. Clearly, this was going to be the perfect weekend for quality baking and family time.

Sure enough, we woke to quite a bit of snow Saturday morning, with steady snowfall throughout the day. The boy was so excited he ran out in a t-shirt and his Uggs (a.k.a. “cozy boots”) to start shoveling off the porch. I lured him back inside with the promise of breakfast cake, and started my weekend of baking with this sweet banana pecan coffee cake. Perfect fuel for a day of shoveling, snow ball tossing and snow angel making. (And stay tuned to see what else we baked.)

Recipe: Banana Pecan Coffee Cake
adapted from That’s My Home


1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon milk

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a Bundt pan and set aside. In a food processor, chop pecans with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs, mashed bananas and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and sour cream, mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add to mixer bowl and mix on low until just blended. Spread a light layer of the nut mixture in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 of the batter, spreading evenly over the nuts. Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the batter, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert pan and place cake on a cooling rack. Whisk together powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and milk until smooth (add more milk if needed to make a thin glaze). Use a spoon to drizzle glaze over cake. Let stand a few minutes for the glaze to set, and enjoy!