We're enjoying these long days, loads of sunshine, and the availability of vaccines, and we hope you are too. I'm sharing an excellent kale salad because, before long, we'll all have more kale than we know what to do with! The second recipe is a vegetarian main course that incorporates the last vegetables from the root cellar and spring's first vegetables. The final recipe is for a delicious pound cake you will want to know about in time for strawberry season. Wishing you a wonderful spring!
KALE SALAD WITH GOLDEN RAISINS, PINE NUTS AND PARMESAN
Yield: 8 servings
This is hands down my favorite kale salad. We all know kale grows very happily in New Hampshire, so there is never a shortage of kale salad-making opportunities.
1 pound tender kale leaves
½ cup best quality olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
⅔ cup golden raisins
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish.
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
Local ingredients: kale
Wash and dry kale, then break or cut into small pieces.
Combine olive oil, orange and lemon juices, ½ teaspoon salt, and a good grinding of pepper. Pour dressing over kale, mix well and let stand for 15 minutes.
Add raisins and grated Parmesan to kale and mix well. Adjust seasoning as needed and top with toasted pine nuts and garnish with a few thin Parmesan slices.
Yield: 6 servings
We recently made seafood cakes for one of our weekly dinners and wanted to offer a vegetarian variant. These are delicious and great use of the incoming spring produce. You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these!
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" chunks
1 cup milk, heated until quite hot
5 tablespoons butter
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
2/3 cup peas
1 cup asparagus, small pieces
1 cup spinach
½ cup leeks, small slices
½ cup carrots, small dice
1 tablespoon dill
1 cup flour on a plate
1 egg, well beaten with one tablespoon water
2 cups breadcrumbs
Local ingredients: potatoes, peas, asparagus, leeks, carrots, spinach, egg
Place potatoes in a medium pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender. Drain and return to the pan. Dry over low heat for two minutes. Put through the coarse disc of a food mill. Add hot milk, butter, white pepper and nutmeg. Adjust salt.
Steam peas, asparagus, spinach, leek and carrots individually.
Fold cooked vegetables and dill into the mashed potatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool.
Scoop potatoes into ⅓ cup portions. Form patties. Bread the vegetable cakes by first dipping in flour, then in egg and finally in breadcrumbs.
Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet with a generous layer of vegetable oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, fry vegetable cakes for about three minutes on each side until nicely golden brown. Serve with lemon or lime wedge.
LEMON POUND CAKE (adapted from the NY Times)
Yield: 14 slices.
The New York Times featured this pound cake recipe by Otis Lee of the famous Detroit institution, Mr. Fofo's Deli. Sadly, Mr. Lee died of coronavirus complications in 2020. This is an excellent and versatile pound cake. We added candied lemon peel and glazed it with a simple lemon syrup. I suggest you enjoy with fresh strawberries this spring!
1 ½ cups butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
3 cups cake flour, plus more for the pan
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine salt
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ⅓ cups granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for simple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ cup candied lemon peel, cubed
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Local ingredients: butter, eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10" Bundt pan, then dust with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter, cream cheese and 3 ⅓ cups sugar for about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into a new large bowl.
Put eggs and extracts in the stand mixer bowl and beat on high for five minutes.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the eggs and combine at low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed. Occasionally stop and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix for three minutes at medium-high speed. Fold in candied lemon peel.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes and then test. The cake may take up to an hour. You are looking for the cake tester to come out clean.
While cake bakes, combine lemon juice and reserved ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for ten minutes. Let cool. (Or if you made your own candied lemon peel, use the syrup byproduct as a glaze for this cake.)
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for five minutes. Flip over onto a wire rack and paint with lemon simple syrup.
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