French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad with Charred Lemon

I love the simplicity of this French Style Potato Salad.  As you probably know, French potato salads are oil based as opposed to the typical mayonnaise based potato salad.  This is the perfect alternative for someone like me who has an aversion to mayonnaise and eggs. This salad has a well-rounded flavor from the vinaigrette that blends seamlessly with the potatoes.  It is meant to be served warm or at room temperature and it goes great with a side green salad, warm French bread and a nice glass of Rose’ wine!

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad How has your spring been going so far?  Robby and I have been taking advantage of this amazing weather we have been having lately.  We went on a really nice bike ride in Monterey once again.  This time, we thought it would be fun to stop for lunch along the ride at one of our all time favorite lunch spots in Pacific Grove called “Red House Cafe.”  I highly recommend giving it a try if you are ever in the area!  Robby loves the burgers and I usually go for the open face caprese.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad
This salad has a well-rounded flavor from the vinaigrette that blends seamlessly with the potatoes.

Beto invited us to meet him and his clan at Fitzgerald Reserve in Moss Beach for a picnic and some tide pool exploration.  Moss beach is just a few miles north of Half Moon Bay off of Hwy 1.  The drive is an hour and a half long for us but it is well worth it because it is so beautiful and scenic.  We set up camp at the very far left to avoid the crowd which allowed us to enjoy our picnic.  I brought this potato salad and Jill brought a delicious broccoli salad, homemade guacamole and chips. We decided to explore the tide pools in search of the many critters before we sat down to eat all of these homemade goodies.

We saw so many cool critters along with all the cool seaweed and algae.  One type of algae we saw is called iridescent algae and it had the most amazing shimmering colors when the sun hit it just right.  It was so incredibly beautiful. There were giant green sea anemones, hermit crabs, baby eels, eelgrass and black turban snails.  Sadly, we only got to see one starfish.  Paloma could spend all day exploring the tide pools, so after we ate, we decided to go back out for round two.  This beach is a must see, especially if you have kids!

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad I love this potato salad with a nice glass of Rose’. It is also wonderful with a Sauvignon Blanc.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad French Style Potato Salad Recipe:
8 – 10 servings
  • 2 1/2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar – (helps to keep potatoes intacket)
  • French Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Shallot or 1/4 Cup – thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced
  • 3/4 Cup Scallions – thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas – thawed
French Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette – for whole recipe click here.
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Tarragon – roughly chopped
  • 1 Medium Shallot (about 2 tablespoons) – minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • Dash Black Pepper
Charred Lemon
  • 2 Organic Lemons – sliced to 1/4 inch
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
Garnish
  • Charred Lemon Rings – one slice per serving
  • Scallions
  • Pecorino Cheese – optional
Instructions:
Potatoes

Dice the potatoes into half inch chunks and put in a large pot covered in water.  Add the vinegar and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium high heat.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until opaque and soft.   Make sure and check on them a few times, you don’t want to hard or mushy potatoes.  The best way is to taste them.  When the potatoes are tender, pour into a colander, drain and then dump them into a large bowl.

Vinaigrette

Add mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.  Next whisk in the vinegar, tarragon, shallots and slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Charred Lemon

Slice the lemons no less than a 1/4 inch or the flesh will dissolve. Lightly coat in olive oil and lightly sprinkle with fine sea salt.  Turn on the burner to medium high heat.

Heat up a a cast iron skillet or in the frying pan and when hot add the lemons in a single layer. Cook until the lemons just beginning to char then flip to cher the other side.  (about 2 -3 minutes on each side)

Assemble

Add the peas to a bowl of water to thaw.

While the potatoes are cooking, prep and then mix the garlic, shallots salt and pepper into the wine.  Set aside.

While the potatoes are hot, pour the wine mix over the potatoes and gently toss a few times.  Let sit for 5 minutes then add the vinaigrette, peas, cabbage, and scallion.  Carefully stir everything together.  The dressing will soak into the potatoes so don’t worry if it is pooling at the bottom of the bowl.  Stir before serving.  Top with a little more scallions, pecorino and charred lemons.

French Tarragon Shallot Potato Salad Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold – 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,

Tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources.  It helps lower blood-glucose levels, which helps with low blood sugar.  It helps in the production of bile by the liver thus making it a great digestive tonic.  It is a mild sedative and can help with insomnia anxiety and stress. It is great for the health and function of the eyes. It helps prevent clot formation inside the tiny blood vessels of heart and brain protecting from heart attack and stroke.  It is rich in vitamins C, A and B-complex.  An excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc.  Tarragon should not be used while pregnant or nursing.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde with Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa

This Chilaquiles Salsa Verde is a versatile dish that nourishes the soul.  I used a green salsa but this dish can also be made with a red salsa.  Top this dish with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, a little sour cream and the roasted multi pepper salsa and oh boy you are in for a treat!

new Have you ever had chilaquiles before?  It means a broken-up old sombrero.  I just about died the first time I tried them.  I thought to myself “where have you been all my life”.  Beto and Brian took me to a little diner that was inside a bowling alley called Pepy’s Galley shortly after I arrived back in Venice in 2007.  It seemed somewhat unassuming being that it was located in a bowling alley yet the food was outstanding!  Just check out the yelp reviews.  Pepy’s had been in business for over 40 years until they had to close there doors due to the crazy rent increases that have been going on in the Venice and Mar Vista area lately.  So very sad!

Anyways, I saw chilaquiles on the menu and asked Beto what it was.  He told me that they were a poor man’s breakfast made from leftover salsa and stale chips and urged me to try them.  They are normally topped with an egg but I asked them to make it without the egg.  They served them with a fire-roasted salsa and when I took my first bite, my eyes rolled to the back of my head in utter intoxication.  I was hooked!  I asked Beto why haven’t I heard about this dish before?  He said that it has just recently started to show up in restaurants because it was considered a poor man’s meal.  Now you see it everywhere.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde It was Robby’s birthday last Friday so Jill, Paloma and Severin came to our house in the early afternoon.  Unfortunately, Beto had to work so he met up with us later that evening for Robby’s birthday dinner at Ella’s at the Airport.  Erin, Leif and Taj also joined us.  It was a fun time as usual.  The cutest thing was that Paloma had asked her mom if Taj was going to be there and Taj had asked his mom if Paloma was going to be there.  OMG, they are so adorable together.  I think Taj thinks that Paloma is the coolest thing.  They get along great together even though Taj is three and Paloma is five!  After dinner, Beto and his clan came back to our house and spent the weekend with us.  It’s always a fun filled time with arts and crafts, the beach, good food, etc. with the Beto clan.

Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Try this with a light Mexican beer or a dry white wine such as a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.  Or if you make these for breakfast, a mimosa might be in order!

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Recipe:

2 – 4 servings

  • Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa – recipe below
  • 1 Cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – or to taste – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 Corn Tortillas – cut into 8 wedges – recipe below
  • Cheddar Cheese – shredded – to taste
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeno Peppers – thinly sliced
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa –  1 1/2 Cups
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper  –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper  –  roasted – minced
  • 1/2 Small White Onion – roasted
  • 1 Cups Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – for whole recipe click here.
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted
  • 5 Tomatillos – roasted
  • 1/4 White Onion
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro
  • 1 Small Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Toppings
  • Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • Chives – thinly sliced
  • Queso Fresco – crumbled
  • 1 or 2 Avocados – sliced
  • Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • Sprouts – your choice – optional
  • Lime – wedges
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
Tortilla Chips
  • 12 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt – lightly sprinkled
Instructions:
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Recipe

Roast all the peppers for both salsas,

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a medium sized bowl.  Dice the peppers into small squares.  Add and stir well.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Cut the cores out of the tomatillos and cut in half then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.  Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 5 -7 minutes then flip over and broil for another 2 to 4 minutes or until real soft.

Add the onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil then remove and let cool.   When cool add to a food processor.

When tomatillos are done, let cool then remove burnt parts of skin as best you can then add to a food processor.

De-stem, de-seed and remove burnt skin from the poblano and jalapeno with a paper towel (if you like your salsa hotter leave the seeds in the jalapeno and add to a food processor along with cilantro, lime, and salt.  Puree.  Set aside.

Toppings

Prep all your toppings and shred the cheese then set aside.

Tortilla Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly coat each tortilla in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Stack them up and cut into 8 wedges.  Lay them onto a lightly greased baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer.

You will need to do it in two batches.  Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the edges curl up and they are firm to the touch.  They will continue to crisp as they cool.  If not pop them back into the oven for a couple of minutes.

Assemble

Heat up the tomatillo salsa and tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  When the salsa is hot add the chips, quickly toss to evenly coat. Top with cheese and garnishes.

If you like it on the crunchier side, serve immediately.  It will never be really crunchy.  You can also pop it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to really melt the cheese and then add all the toppings.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Health benefits:

Tomatillos have been found to have antibacterial 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.  The vitamin K 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.

Bell Peppers are extremely high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight especially night vision.  It is also very high in vitamin C, which is really important for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.  Red peppers are one of the veggies highest in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, that are great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas.

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 are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

Anaheim Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, a half-cup provides over 100 percent required daily intake for adults.  They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which is helpful for skin and eye health.  Anaheim peppers contain phenols; flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavonoids are a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen blood vessels.  They aid the immune system and contain vitamin E that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.  They also contain vitamin K, which increases bone mass more than any other pepper.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde

Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

This Black Lentil Chili is one of my favorite dishes.  It is an extreme comfort food packed with a whole lot of roasted pepper and tomato goodness.  It’s perfect on its own or you can dress it up with yummy crispy shoestring fries and my incredible crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo.

Black-Lentil-Chili I was obsessed with Amy’s canned lentil chili when growing up, so I decided it was high time that I share my own version.  Amy’s uses brown lentils where I use black lentils.  Black lentils have a firmer texture so I feel like it lends itself to a heartier chili.  I have to admit that there are times where all I want is basic comfort food and to me that means chili, fries and cheese.  However, there are other times where I want to add the freshness of my crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo salsa.  I love this chili smothered in cheddar cheese but it is also awesome left vegan.

Crunchy-Veggie-Pico-de-Gallo This crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo is a unique and incredible salsa that adds an amazing fresh quality to the mix.  The colors of this salsa make me so happy. It’s like a treasure chest of jewels.

Robby and I are pretty much obsessed with salsa and it is always a sad day when tomatoes are no longer in season.  I was determined to create an off-season salsa and I feel that I have succeeded.  It is so incredibly versatile.  You can eat it with chips, add it to quesadillas, burritos, tacos, beans, salads, rice, pasta, soup and the list goes on and on.  What would you like to add it to?

Black Lentil Chili On another note, how was your Easter?  We had a relaxing afternoon around the house and then we headed to our friends Erika and Gary’s house for dinner and had a super fun time full of conversation and laughter.  I made my rosemary garlic almonds , which were a bigger hit than I imagined.  Erika’s friend Teresa brought her artichoke dip that was to die for, I couldn’t stop eating it!  I must get the recipe and share it with you!  There was plenty of wine and champagne to go around, not to mention, Erika made her famous potato au gratin. YUMMMMM!!!

Black Lentil Chili Black Lentil Chili Recipe:

10 – 12 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red or White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Dry Red or a Dry White Wine
  • 1 Jar Strained Tomatoes – I use Bionature (this link is for 6)
  • 10 – 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Cups Black Lentils
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Orange Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Yellow Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 2Tablespoon Ancho Powder (you can buy it already in powder form or de-stem and de-seed whole dried peppers and grind them in a coffee grinder until it turns to a powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 Cup Radishes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1 Orange Bell – diced
  • 1 Red Bell – diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 1 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Crispy shoestring potatoes
  • 1 Yellow Potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus more for baking sheets
  • Sea Salt – sprinkling
Garnish
  • Shoestring Potatoes
  • Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • Optional Garnish
Other garnish options
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño
Instructions:
Black Lentil Chili

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven add the onion and olive oil to a straight sided pan and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just start to brown.  Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

While onions are cooking, grind the ancho peppers to a powder.

When the wine is reduced add the strained tomatoes and spices, except the salt!  Turn up the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium again.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the spices, roasted peppers, corn and salt.

 Let cook on medium low for at least 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  You can also puree up to half of the lentils before you add the veggies.

Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Roast the poblano and anaheim peppers on the stovetop at medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for about 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt to a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Next add the radishes, cabbage, and the bell peppers to the bowl.  When the roasted peppers are steamed dice and add then mix everything well.
Crispy shoestring potatoes 
Use a julienne peeler or a spiralizer to cut potatoes into strips.  Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water.  Drain potatoes and place on clean towel.  Pat as dry as you can with a paper towels.
Toss together potatoes, oil, and salt in a bowl.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer as best you can on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about, 12 to 18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.  (I turn them in 8 minutes.) Turn potatoes with a metal spatula a few times and rotate the baking sheets halfway through.  I cut the potatoes so there are four flat sides and depending on the size I might cut the sides to match the width of the pealer.
*You will have some leftover scraps that I usually add to a pot of water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  You can fry them up for breakfast or however you seem fit.  
 *
 Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

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!

Kale Persimmon 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!

Kale Persimmon Salad

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-Burrata-and-Persimmon-Salad

Kale Persimmon Salad:
4 – 6 servings
Salad
  • 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 Salted Pistachios – 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

Instructions:

 Vinaigrette
*
 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.
Salad
*
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.
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.

Kale-Persimmon-Salad

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.

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-

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

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-Crostini

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
Crostini
  • 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

Instructions:

Pesto

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

Crostini

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.

Assemble

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

  Purple-Basil-Pesto-Crostini

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.