Roast Squash and Kale Salad with Cheddar and Almonds

by Caroline

I spotted this salad on the terrific Food52 blog and had to try it. I am not yet tired of kale salad in all its variations, and this one wisely adds cheese. I’ve linked to the original recipe so that you can see some specific amounts, but this is how I did it:

For 4-6 servings
one small kabocha squash
one bunch of kale
2-3 handfuls of chopped almonds
4-6 ounces of sharp cheddar (I used a caramelized onion cheddar I find at Trader Joe’s)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425.

Peel and seed the squash, cut it into bite-sized cubes, and toss with some olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and brown around the edges.

While the squash is roasting, strip the kale from its stems and slice the leaves into very thin ribbons. It’s easiest to do this by stacking up a pile of leaves, rolling them into a cylinder, and then cutting across the rolled-up leaves. Toss the leaves into a large bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over the leaves; I used a whole lemon.

When the squash is done, add that to the bowl of kale, and toss with the almonds, cheese, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you’re pressed for time, you can heap a couple spoonfuls of salad onto a slice of bread, smashing the squash and cheese, and make a fine bruschetta to take on the road:

Fall Fruits & Cucumber Salad

by Caroline

It’s not that often my kids come to the farmer’s market with me anymore. Our neighborhood market is Sunday morning, and it’s easier if I stock up in an early strike mission on my way home from a run, before the boys are even out of their pj’s. But we all went together recently, in combination with a stroll through the local block party, and Ben noticed the information booth stocked with recipes. He grabbed one for pumpkin pie (which I have promised to make for Thanksgiving), and then also this salad recipe. It was ages before we had all the right ingredients, ripe and ready at the same time; first we had the apples and dill but unripe pears, and by the time the pears were ripe the dill was gone and we didn’t have a cucumber. But finally, today, we had a proper alignment of produce and Ben and I shared this for lunch. It’s sweet and crunchy and delicious.

for the dressing:
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons chopped dill
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of brown sugar

Whisk together in a small bowl and set aside.

Core and slice, leaving the peel on for color and flavor:
Two crunchy tart apples
One ripe pear
One small seedless cucumber

Toss with the dressing and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chard, Chickpeas and Dukkah

by Caroline

Chard and cauliflower are two of my family’s favorite winter vegetables, but I’d never thought to combine them in one dish, nor to add chickpeas to make it a really hearty vegetarian dish (this would be a great way to keep your favorite vegetarians and vegans happy at Thanksgiving). Plus the dukkah is my son, Ben’s, new favorite thing: he is dipping carrots and cucumber sticks into it, sprinkling it on noodles, and eating it by the spoonful when he can. I can’t blame him — it’s a fabulous discovery for us.


1 large cauliflower (2 3/4 lbs.), cored and cut into florets about 1 1/2 in. wide
3/4 pound whole shallots, peeled and cut in half if large
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 pound Swiss chard, stems and ribs sliced and leaves chopped separately
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
About 1/2 cup Dukkah (recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a roasting pan, toss cauliflower and shallots with 3 tbsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 20 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, toss to coat, and roast until vegetables are very tender, 7 to 10 minutes more.
2. Stir in chard leaves, chickpeas, dukkah, and remaining 2 tbsp. oil. Roast until chard is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Stir; season to taste with more salt and dukkah.

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


1. Toast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-low heat until a shade darker, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool.
2. Whirl spices, salt, pepper, and thyme in a food processor until fairly finely ground.
3. Add hazelnuts and sesame seeds and pulse until coarsely ground.

Butternut Squash & Hominy Stew

by Caroline

This is absolutely not a recipe I would make just for my family, since my kids are at the stage when stews and other cooked food mixtures don’t appeal to them at all (although they will happily eat their own weird combinations of food, if they make them themselves). But, this recipe arrived with our CSA box days before a weekend away with a couple other families, and as I do when my parents come to visit, I figured I could use the four other adults as guinea pigs. I loved the idea of adding the ground almonds and sesame seeds (the result is not gritty at all); I loved that it used most of the week’s CSA vegetables in one colorful dish; I loved the surprising addition of hominy. I served it with the biscuits from the pear cobbler recipe I posted recently (leaving the sugar out of the biscuits) and it was a huge hit. It’s a delicious, hearty, chili-like stew that I’m looking forward to making again the next time I’m cooking for grownups.

Butternut Squash & Hominy Stew

2 onions, chopped
olive or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dry oregano
4 tablespoons mild ground chili
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 pounds tomatoes, chopped or crushed
a handful of almonds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup frozen peas (or a 10 ounce bag)
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

heat some oil in a large pot and saute the onions for 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, the chili powder and continue cooking another minute or so. Add the squash, mushrooms, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat, cover and simmer slowly until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Grind the almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add them to the stew with the cauliflower, tomatoes, and hominy and cook until the cauliflower is tender and the tomatoes have broken down. Add the peas and cilantro and cook through. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, chili). Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and more cilantro.

Cauliflower Compote

by Caroline

So, remember last week, I wrote about single words that can draw you into a recipe? Well, compote is definitely not one of those words for me. It just sounds like a food dump; I guess it sounds a bit too much like compost.

But the combination of ingredients in this recipe from our CSA caught my eye here. It’s not a novel mixture for us — we roast cauliflower with olives all the time — but it’s a familiar mixture cooked in a new (and faster) way.

I showed the recipe to Ben, expecting he might like it, and I was surprised at his reaction. “Compote! I LOVE compote! Do we have any fruit? Can we make a fruit compote?” And then he spun off, looking at the pears and apples, reminiscing about the spring’s strawberry-rhubarb compote, before coming back to me and my giant head of cauliflower. “Oh, sure. That’d be good.”

With that endorsement, I got cooking, and this is a lovely new way to do cauliflower.

I’m giving you the ingredient amounts as they were listed in the recipe, but of course one of the benefits of compote is that you can adapt according to your taste (and your supplies):

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets (I obviously had purple, but any kind will do)
1 large shallot or a couple cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 c olive oil
12 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
3-4 wide strips of lemon peel, minced
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/3 – 1/2 c chopped tomatoes (I left these out at first — my kids don’t like tomatoes — but added them to my leftovers the next day, and they tasted great)
1/4 c toasted pine nuts

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the cauliflower and shallot or garlic. Saute briskly with some salt for 2-3 minutes, then lower the heat and cover the skillet. Sweat for about 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Raise the heat and add the olives, lemon peel, parsley and tomato (if using). Saute just until everything is heated through and the dish smells fragrant. Finish with some pepper, sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve warm, as a side dish or over pasta.