Kale and Roasted Squash with Chipotle-Yogurt Dressing

1 large bunch Lacinato kale (about 1lb.)

1 lb. winter squash – Delicata, dumpling, butternut, Red Kuri, Green Kuri

¼ C olive oil

1 t ground cumin

Sea salt

¼ C pumpkin seeds or pepitas

3 oz. crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese

Dressing

1 C plain yogurt

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T almond butter (can substitute tahini)

½ – 1 T chipotle in adobo sauce, minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 t sweet paprika

Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut open and seed the squash (peel if using butternut, but the others do not need peeling), and cut into 1-inch pieces. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with ¼ cup of olive oil, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, until tender and just browned in spots; remove from the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small food processor or in a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; the chipotle peppers are quite hot, so adjust the amount to your liking.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wash, pat dry and strip the ribs from the kale. Discard the ribs, stack and cut the kale into thin strips to produce ribbons; transfer the cut kale to a large mixing bowl and mix well with half the dressing. Let the kale sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to marinate and soften. (You can also mix the kale and dressing in a large resealable plastic bag, turning the bag over several times to accelerate the marinating.)

Before serving add the cooked squash cubes, and toss again, adding more dressing if necessary. Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese and pumpkin seeds. Serves 4-6. (Make Ahead: the dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)


Roasted Squash with Spiced Buttered Pistachios and Lemon Yogurt

1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), preferably kabocha, red kuri or acorn

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t sea salt, or more as needed
½ t freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (may substitute vegan butter, such as Earth Balance) ½ C raw shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
½ t ground cumin
½ t ground turmeric

1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 to 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


1 C full-fat Greek yogurt (may substitute low- or non-fat Greek yogurt or your favorite nondairy yogurt)

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Using a large, sharp knife, stab the squash in the middle and carefully work the knife down to cut the squash in half, going through the stem. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, and discard or reserve for another use. Cut the squash halves into 1 1/2- inch wedges, leaving the peel on.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the squash with the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, until the squash is very tender and golden brown with caramelized bits.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter has browned and started to foam, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pistachios, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, taste, and add more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Spread the yogurt sauce over a large serving platter or bowl. Arrange the squash on the sauce and spoon the buttered pistachios over everything. Sprinkle with another pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve. Serves 4-6.


Pea Shoots and Sugar Snap Peas with Preserved Lemon Goat Cheese Cream

½ lb sugar snap peas

4 C pea shoots, densely packed

4 oz soft goat cheese

¼ C crème fraiche

1 T preserved lemon, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Dressing

2 T lemon juice

4 T olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

1 t honey (optional)

¼ C fresh basil, chiffonade

1 T fresh chives, snipped

Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the snap peas into the pot and blanch for 90 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and immerse in ice water. Drain well and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, whip the goat cheese for 1-2 minutes, until very creamy. Add the crème fraiche and whip again on low, until well incorporated. Fold in the chopped preserved lemons with a spatula. Set aside. (You can cover and refrigerate this for up to a week.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. If you find the dressing too tart, add 1 teaspoon of honey. When you are ready to assemble the salad, gently toss the pea shoots and the sugar snap peas with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Add the basil and chives and toss again gently. Add more dressing if desired, or serve additional dressing on the side. Run a thick smear of the goat cheese cream along each plate and arrange some of the salad on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


Canning Tomatoes

To peel the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash tomatoes and cut a small ‘x’ on the top or bottom of each tomato. Gently place tomatoes in the boiling water, not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. or until the skin just starts to peel. Remove to a bowl to catch the tomato water. Cool. The tomato water in the bottom of the bowl will gel. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, slide off skins and discard. Chop tomatoes and add gelled tomato.

Fill jars with tomatoes to about ½-inch head space. Wipe the rims and place the lids on and rims to finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath covering with at least 1″ of water for 40 min. Remove from heat. If you prefer, you can leave the jars in the water to cool down before removing jars. Remove jars to a towel-lined counter. The jars will begin pinging as the lids seal, typically within 15 mins. After they are cool, check all the lids to make sure there is none with a slight bump on it. If so, refrigerate the jar until use. Or you can replace the lid and ring, making sure that the rim of the jar is impeccably clean, and re-process the jar with your next batch.


Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Brine

1 quart water

2 T kosher salt  or sea salt (do not use table salt)

2-3 t pickling spice

1 t red pepper flakes (optional)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

3 T snipped fresh dill or 2-3 sprigs dill

Optional – ½ – 1 C white vinegar

Very clean 1qt. wide-mouthed mason jar with screw top lid or wire-hinged jar with rubber seal

Vegetables – Kirby cucumbers, green beans, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, beets, turnips

Boil the water and pour it into a bowl, add the salt and pickling spices and then allow to cool.

Wash and peel (as needed) the vegetables you have selected to pickle. Cut into desired size and pack the clean jar with vegetables. Add the garlic and dill, then pour in the brine. The brine should cover the vegetables enough so that the liquid is about 1 inch below the top of the jar. Screw the top on the jar and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 days.

After this time, carefully open the jar (I prefer to place the jar in the kitchen sink). The liquid should be very fizzy and the lid should pop when opened, often causing some liquid to run over the top of the jar. Taste a vegetable, which should have a nice tang and a “dilly” flavor. If they are to your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator; if they aren’t fermented to your liking, close the jar and let it sit another 24 hours. If you prefer a more vinegar tang, you can pour off some of the brine and add the white vinegar. Once refrigerated, the pickles will continue to lacto-ferment, but at a much slower rate and the flavor will mellow over time. They will keep for several weeks, even a few months, but the flavors will mellow and if you use cucumbers, the texture will soften over time.