Kale Persimmon Salad with a Red and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This gorgeous Kale Persimmon Salad seems so simple yet the flavors are absolutely outstanding!  Honestly, I am completely hooked!  There is a lot of texture going on from the burrata to the pomegranate seeds and the red and white balsamic vinaigrette really steps it up a notch.

Christmas is over and the New Year starts tomorrow.  I don’t know about you, but I had my fair share of holiday treats and I am ready for lots and lots of salad!  This salad is loaded with vitamins and minerals from the kale, pomegranate seeds, basil and persimmons making it the perfect winter salad!


Tomorrow is the start of a new year and I’m looking forward to a very productive, inspiring and all around awesome year!  How about you?  This is the time to move forward and let go of all that which is not serving you.  It could be almost anything like a job, where you live, your diet or even a relationship.  It can sometimes be scary to bust a move, but if it’s the right move, you will be amazed at how your life can change for the better!  A sign of when it is time for a change is usually when bad things or feelings continue to occur over and over again.

 I was in a 14-year relationship before I moved back to California.  It wasn’t a bad relationship, it was just that we were growing apart and wanted different things in life.  Although it wasn’t easy for me to leave, I knew I had to move on if I wanted to grow.  As soon as I made the decision, everything fell into place.  I left with $1,200 to my name and a free plane ticket.  I sold some old silver clippings from my jewelry business to a gold and silver dealer; I sold a bunch of beads to the local bead store and I sold some vintage clothing to a vintage clothing shop.  My dad’s friend had a plane ticket that was going to expire in a month so I got a free plane ticket.  My dad had an extra car for me to use when I got back to California so I had a car waiting for me.  I had talked to my friend Janelle about how I was going to need a place to stay and she invited me to stay with her for the first month while I looked for a job.

After a couple weeks, I saw my friend Sam and I told her that I was in need of a job and the next thing I knew she called to tell me she had arranged for me to meet the manager of a small shop on Abbot Kinney.  The manager hired me and when I told her I was looking for a place to live she said she might know of a room for rent.  Her friend Brian came into the shop to meet me and it turned out that I knew him from back in the day.  I firmly believe that everything was falling into place because I had faith and decided to act on my intuition!  And this was just the beginning of all the amazing things that was about to happen after I made that scary decision!


I love a light Pinot Noir with this salad, preferably an Oregon varietal.  It is also wonderful with a Riesling, Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.


Kale Persimmon Salad:
4 – 6 servings
  • Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – drizzle to taste – (recipe below)
  • 1 Head Dino Kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into thin strips (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Handful Basil Leaves – roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 -3 Fuyu Persimmons – thinly sliced – halved or quarterd
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Ball Burrata – torn in pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachio – roughly chopped
Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – for whole recipe click here
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons  White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Stone Ground or Dijon Mustard – or to taste
  • 1 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper
Crostini – optional
  • 1/2 Baguette Crostini – 12 thin slices
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


 In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegars, garlic, salt and pepper.  Next slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Or use a hand held blender to emulsify.
Wash the kale and remove main rib by holding the end of the steam and pull down with your other hand.  Discarding the main rib.  Chop kale into thin strips, add to a large bowl along with the tablespoon of olive oil and massage the oil into the kale.
Mix in the basil, persimmon, pomegranate seeds and pistachios.  Mix everything together or arrange it nicely on a platter.  Add dressing to individual salads and top them off with burrata and crostini.
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices onto a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.


Health benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Persimmons Latin name means “food of the gods.”  They are high in fiber helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. Due to their bright orange skin they are an excellent source of vitamin A that nourish the eyes and help prevent age related macular disease. They help to detoxify the large intestine, and increase immunity. They have an excellent source of anti-oxidants that helps reduce high blood pressure and are a very good source of vitamin C, especially native Chinese and American persimmons, which provide 80% of the daily requirement. They give the body energy and help symptoms of stress, fatigue and tiredness.

Purple Basil Pesto Crostini with Apples and Mozzarella

These Purple Basil Pesto Crostini appetizers are the perfect balance between sweet and savory.  Purple opal basil is a bit milder but more savory than its cousin sweet basil and combines well with the flavor of sheep Gouda.  The crostini and apple gives a crunchy texture while the fresh mozzarella and pesto adds a wonderful creaminess.  All the flavors combined make for the perfect bite!

Purple Basil Pesto Crostini

This Friday, we attended one of Robby’s work barbeques. It was a lot of fun and great to meet some of Robby’s co-workers I haven’t met before.  One of them was a guy named Val, he asked me what I did and I said I had a food blog.  He got excited and said, “my wife also has a food blog” and proceeded to show me on his phone.  I was impressed to say the least!  I briefly met her towards the end of the party.  Her name is Elena and her blog is “Urban Kitchen Affairs“, check it out!  For the barbeque, I made a large Greek salad and some crostini very similar to these purple basil and sheep Gouda pesto crostini, which were devoured in minutes.  I plan to share the recipe with you in the near future.


This appetizer goes perfect with a nice Rosé, Rueda or a Prosecco.


Purple Basil Pesto Crostini Recipe:
 About 24 crostini
  • Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • 2 1/2 Cups Purple Opal Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Sheep Gouda – shredded and packed
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 French Baguette – 1/2 inch sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or as needed
  • 2 Container Fresh Mozzarella – small balls – sliced in half
  • 1 – 2 Fuji Apples – cored – sliced
  • 1 Recipe Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • Fresh Basil Leaf – garnish



Wash and thoroughly dry the basil.  Measure all ingredients and add to a food processor or blender and puree.  Set aside.


Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.


Spread the pesto onto each crostini, add a slice of apple, top with 3 or more halfs of mozzerella and a fresh basil leaf.


Health benefits:

Apples are so incredibly healthy, they fight the effects of aging on the brain and they contain the antioxidants therein, which is helpful in protecting you from Parkinson’s. Eating apples have been linked to a decreased risk of strokes. Apples rich in flavonol could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%.  Soluble fiber found in apples lowers cholesterol and the skins also prevents the cholesterol from solidifying on your artery walls.  The fiber also helps to prevent gallstones and they even help reduce tooth decay. They regulate blood sugar levels by increasing the uptake of glucose from your blood that stimulates insulin receptors.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Kale Salad with Lemon Thyme Pesto Vinaigrette

The flavor combination of this Italian inspired salad is phenomenal!  The sun-dried tomatoes work well with the lemon thyme pesto vinaigrette and the veggies add a great crunchy texture.
 Robby went back to work last week, which would have been hard after spending a whole month together; however, Beto and Paloma stayed with us the whole week while Jill was in Korea.  We had a few beach days and a lot of relaxing time.  Paloma wanted to stay for Robby’s birthday which ended up being a really fun day!
We went downtown and picked up a pink Santa Cruz sweatshirt for Paloma, then we went to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk where Paloma had so much fun on the rides.  Although, she did not like the rollercoaster.  She said I don’t want to go on one ever again.  Awwww.  To top off the day, we went to the “West End Tap and Kitchen” for a great dinner as usual!  After they left, Robby and I assumed our normal routine and tomorrow is the first day I’ll have to myself in a long time and I’m kind of excited about it!  And this salad is a perfect way to start my routine!
 This salad goes great with any white wine! I enjoy it with a glass of Suave.
Recipe: Approx. 4 – 6 servings
  • 1 Head Kale – thinly chopped
  • 1/2 Fennel – cut in half and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Watermelon Radish – sliced and quartered
  • 1 Cup Red Cabbage – sliced – diced – or minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Sun-Dried Tomatoes (not packed in oil) – homemade or store-bought – minced
  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino Cheese – finely shredded – or to taste
  • 1 Cup Lemon Thyme Pesto Vinaigrette (or the whole recipe)
Garnish options:
  • Micro greens,
  • Toasted almonds
  • Finely shredded Pecorino Cheese
If you are making your own sun dried tomatoes, you will need to make them the day before.  Mince and set aside the sun dried tomatoes.
Make the vinaigrette.  Set aside.
 Wash the kale, remove the main rib by holding the end of the steam and pull down with your other hand then discard the main rib.  Chop the kale into thin strips. Add to a large bowl.
Cut stalks off the fennel bulb, cut bulb in half, then cut out the core of one half.  Slice the half in half, and then slice as thin as you can or use a mandolin.  Add to the kale.
Slice the radishes as thin as you can or use a mandolin. Cut the slices into quarters and add to kale.
Thinly slice the cabbage and add to kale along with the vinaigrette.  Mix really well.
Garnish with micro greens, toasted almonds and pecorino. (optional)
Health benefits:
Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma. Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol. It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)

Radishes help eliminate excess mucus in the body and are great for respiratory disorders, bronchitis and asthma. They are cleansing for the digestive system helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins that have built up over time as well as eliminate cancer-causing free radicals in the body. They are very high in vitamin C, which improves your immune system.They have a low glycemic index and helps to regulate the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, which is great for diabetics. Radishes water content keep your body and skin keep hydrated and with their high fiber content they increase regular bowel movements, relieve bloating and help indigestion. They are a powerful detoxifier of the liver and stomach. They are also great for reducing blood pressure with the high potassium content.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes are very high in anti-oxidants; just one cup has 23 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 16 percent of vitamin A.  The Vitamin C in dried tomatoes helps your body absorb the high iron content as well. They are high in potassium which helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. These tomatoes are very high in dietary fiber compared to raw tomatoes.

Lemon Thyme has anti-aging properties and boosts the immune system. It helps fight asthma, promotes relaxation, and helps digestion.  Lemon thyme is high in iron and an excellent source of vitamin C.

Black Bean Potato Au Gratin with a Roasted Poblano Cheese Sauce

This is a flavor packed Mexican au gratin with a delicious roasted poblano cheese sauce that won’t disappoint!
This gratin is a real treat, especially if you like Mexican food as much as Robby and I do!  It is true comfort food for both of us.  Making a dish like this for Robby is an expression of my love for him.  After my restaurant, I had no desire to cook for many years.  However, that all changed when Robby and I got together.  I got my passion back!  The whole act of cooking is so much more than just cooking.  Its inspiring, creative, fills the room with aromatic scents of love and brings people together!  What was the last thing you were inspired to make for that special someone?
I enjoyed this with a glass of Verdejo.  It will also go great with a Mexican beer of your choice.
 Recipe: 9 – 12 Servings
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dried Black Beans 3 1/2 Cups Cooked + 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 12 Cups Filtered water – add more as needed
  • 3 Poblano Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 2 1/2 + 1 Cups Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 1/3 Cup Raw Almonds – ground  – was 3/4 cup
  • 1 Cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes – thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeño Peppers – minced (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Flour (or regular all purpose)
  • 3 Cups Milk – (I used 1 %)
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt 
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn – or to taste
Garnish ideas: 
Black beans
1. Add the beans and water to a soup pot . Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and let boil until beans are soft about 1 1/2 hours.
2. Make sure to check on the water levels incase you need to add more.  It is better to have more water than less.
3.  When the beans are cooked pour into a colander, rinse and mix in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
Poblano and cheese
1. While the beans are cooking, roast the poblanos.  Remove skin, de-seed and de-stem.  Cut a slit in the poblanos and lay flat on a paper towel and dry both sides.
2. While poblanos are roasting, grate the cheese.
3. Add 2 1/2 cups of the grated cheese to a bowl and set aside.
4. Put the remaining cup of grated cheese into a bowl, then grind the almonds in a food processor until it becomes a fine crumble, add them to the cup of cheese and mix  together.
Cilantro, potatoes and corn
1. Wash the cilantro and dry completely with some paper towels.  Pick the leaves off the stems and measure.  If still damp, dry them more.  Set aside.
2. Slice potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick).  Add potatoes to a pot and cover with water then bring to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes.  Make sure and keep an eye on them.
3. Drain potatoes in a colander, rinse with cold water.  Dry them with a kitchen towel or a paper towel.  Set aside.
4. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat and drop the corn in just long enough to defrost.  Drain in a colander and dry them as best you can in a paper towel.  Set aside on a dry paper towel to collect any remaining water.

1. Mince the garlic and jalapeño, add olive oil, garlic and jalapeño to a large heavy saucepan. Sauté over medium-low heat, stirring until the garlic is soft and starts to turn slightly golden,

2. Add wine and reduce to a syrup.

3. Add butter and salt.  When butter is melted, add flour and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

4. Slowly add milk a little at a time (this is important) while whisking constantly. Bring liquid to a boil, continuing to stir then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add cheese a little at a time, stir until the cheese is completely melted.  Add the poblano and jalapeño, mix in completely.  Cook until sauce thickens.


Pre-heat oven to 375

1. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 3 quart casserole dish.  Add a layer of potatoes (if you have some that are thicker than 1/8 inch place them on the outside and the thinner pieces in the middle)  then spread a thin coat of sauce over the potatoes.

2. Evenly spread out half of the black beans.  Next, add a little more sauce, another layer of potatoes and more sauce.

3. Evenly spread the remaining beans, cilantro, corn and add more sauce.  Add the last layer of potatoes, then the rest of the sauce.

4. Bake for 30 min uncovered on the middle rack.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

6. Take out of the oven and evenly spread the cheese and almond mix on top and put back in the oven for 15 minutes uncovered.


 Health benefits:

Black beans are high in cholesterol lowering dietary fiber, 1 cup of cooked beans provides you with over 1/2 of your daily requirements and reduces blood cholesterol that helps prevent heart disease.   The fiber supports the digestive tract and the colon, which helps constipation, diverticulitis and other gastrointestinal disorders.  They also maintain normal blood sugar levels, helping to prevent diabetes.   Black beans are a very good meat substitute because of their 15 grams of protein in 1 cup and contain only trace amounts of saturated fat and no cholesterol.  They contain phytochemicals, substances found only in plant foods that help fight cancer and other chronic diseases.  They increase energy with the good amounts of iron in them and have more antioxidant activity than other types of beans. They neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.  Black beans are also rich in B vitamins, Folate, potassium (helps regulate your blood pressure and heart rate), magnesium, calcium (builds and maintains bones) and other heart-healthy nutrients.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They’re also full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

Roasted Potato Tomatillo Pureed Soup with Cilantro Pesto and Chili Oil

Omg, this soup is insane! It’s an awesome soup just as it is, but if you take the time to make the cilantro pesto, chili oil and roasted poblano, you will be in soup heaven!

Roasted-Potato-Soup copy

The last few days have been a lot of fun because I had the privilege to hang out with our goddaughter Sabastian.  She is moving from Arizona to Oregon to live with a friend and stopped by on her way for a few days.  She is always a pleasure to have around.  We had a nice lunch in Los Gatos, went for a couple of walks on the beach, made yummy food and cruised around the farmers market while she grazed on all the samples.


While at the farmers market I picked up everything I needed to make this soup as well as the cilantro pesto, chili oil and poblano chilis.

The chili oil is so great for adding a little heat to soups, salads, stir frys, etc…  I usually make the tomatillo salsa, pesto, chili oil and roast the poblano the day before I plan to make the soup.

Creamy-Roasted-Potato-Soup copy

I love this soup with a dry crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay or a nice Spanish white.  It is also great with a Pinot Noir or a Tempranillo.


Recipe: 10 – 12 servings

Roasted Potatoes

  • 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes ( about 2 lb)
  • 2 Tablespoon Thai Chili Olive Oil – or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 2 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 1- 2 Jalapeno – sliced

Roasted Tomatillo Mandarin Salsa (this is a half batch of the original recipe.  You can make a whole batch and use the other half for these chili renellos.)

  • 6 – 7 Tomatillos – 3/4 lb.
  • 1/4 White Onion
  • 1 Serrano Chili Peppers
  • 1/2  Cup Cilantro
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Mandarin (Satsuma) Juice –  fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Mandarin Zest (optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

The rest

  • 8 oz or 2 1/4 Cups Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 Onion – 1 1/4 Cup – Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Oil or Regular Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cup Milk (I used 1%)
  • 6 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Garnish (make ahead)


Tomatillo Salsa

Peel the paper skin off of the tomatillos, cut the cores out and cut in half, then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.

Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 6 – 7 minutes then flip over for another 3 – 4 minutes or until very soft and slightly burnt.

Add the onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil, then remove, let cool and put in a food processor.

When tomatillos are finished cooking, let coo and add to food processor.

Cut the stems off the serrano then de-seed and add to the food processor along with the cilantro, garlic, lime, and salt.  Puree.


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees

Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.  Put the potatoes into a 9 by 14 Pyrex baking dish and add the oil, garlic and salt.  Mix together to coat all the potatoes evenly.

Cover with foil and place into the oven on the middle rack for 45 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil, take the foil off and place the potatoes on the top rack and broil for  7- 10 minutes or until they start to brown.  Make sure to keep an eye on them.  Remove from oven and let cool.

The rest

Shred the cheese and set aside.

Dice the onion and add to a 5 1/2 quart soup pot along with the oil and saute on medium-low heat until onions are soft and translucent.  Add the wine and reduce to a syrup.  Add the tomatillo salsa, milk, lime juice, salt and pepper.

In a food processor add half the potatoes and about 2 cups of the water and puree then add to the soup.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes and 2 more cups of water.  Then add the final 2 cups of water to the soup (total of 6 cups of water).  Stir and cook until hot, then slowly add the cheese and cook until the cheese is completely melted.

Serve it with diced roasted poblano, drizzled with chili oil,  sprinkled with blue corn chips and topped with a dollop of cilantro pesto.

Creamy-Potato Tomatillo Soup

Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Tomatillos have been found to have anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties from the Ixocarpalactone-A, a phyto-chemical.  They contain niacin, which helps convert food into energy. They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants, vitamin K  that increases bone mass, potassium that helps electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure, folate that supports red blood cell formation and fiber.  They are without sugars, low in salt and cholesterol-free.