Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Salad

6 Oct

Kale salad with apple and bulgurHere’s a very pretty and tasty fall salad recipe. The original was called “Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Tabbouleh.” I don’t know what the actual definition of tabbouleh is, but since it doesn’t have bulghur, parsley or mint, I thought that was a little confusing — although the ground walnuts have a somewhat bulghur-like bite.

The original also didn’t include “massaging” the kale, but ever since I started making my Massaged Kale Salad, I’ve been using this technique with all kale salads. It softens the kale and I think makes it a little less bitter.


1 red onion
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. ground sumac (available in Middle Eastern groceries)
½  tsp. kosher salt
2 cups (packed) shredded, stemmed kale leaves
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
cup diced apple
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt


First make the sumac onions. Thinly slice the red onion,  add 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. ground sumac and ½ tsp. kosher salt and toss to combine. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. lemon juice to the kale in a large bowl and “massage” the kale with your hands for a few minutes until the leaves soften a bit and turn glossy.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and toss well to combine.

Serve immediately or within a few hours.

(Keep any remaining sumac onions in the fridge and use as an ingredient in a green tossed salad.)

Serves 4 to 6

Tuscany Chicken

22 Sep

Chicken tuscanyHere’s a quick and easy recipe for a very flavorful chicken dish.

Because there are two of us, we had some leftover, and we both felt this dish tasted even better reheated than it did the first time we ate it!

I made a small mistake and put the basil in with the tomatoes and other ingredients, rather than sprinkling it on at the end. I don’t think it affected the flavor much, but it makes the photo look a little different than it would if I had sprinkled it on at the end — in case you’re wondering. I also threw in some parsley, which the recipe doesn’t call for. The parsley would probably be better sprinkled on just before serving as well.


1 tsp. olive oil
4 4-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried)


In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil for 1 minute. Add the chicken and saute for 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and water to the pan. Add the basil if you are using dried. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and have released some of their juice.

Add the chicken, cover and cook for 5 minutes more or until the chicken is cooked through (juices will be clear when chicken is pricked with a fork). Sprinkle with the basil.

Serves 4

Happy New Year!

12 Sep

apples & honeyI will not be posting a recipe this week because Tuesday is the Jewish New Year festival — and until the holiday starts Sunday night I will be busy in the kitchen!

To my Jewish friends, I wish a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

To everyone else, keep cooking!

Fresh Corn Salsa

8 Sep

Corn salsaWell, you could make this with frozen or canned corn, but it’s SO much better with fresh, and that’s SO easy to get right now that there’s no excuse.

This is a very easy dish to make, especially if you have a “corn zipper” tool to remove the corn from the cob. Leftovers will last about a week in the fridge.

Double the recipe if you’re serving a lot of people or taking this dish to a potluck.

Here’s a trick for cooking the corn easily:

Put it in the microwave, husks, silks and all, and nuke for 4 minutes at high for one ear or 8 minutes for two (don’t cook more than two at a time). When it’s done, cut about an inch off each ear above any stalk on the bottom. Then, starting at the top of the ear, squeeze gently and the corn will slide right out of the husks, without any silk (or very little) attached. You will probably need a potholder to do the squeezing, because the ear will be quite hot.


Cooked fresh corn from 2 – 3 cobs
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 small onion, preferably red, chopped fine
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice (or lemon juice if you don’t have lime)
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Allow flavors to mingle for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 4


1 Sep

GazpachoIt’s the perfect season for gazpacho! Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers abound, and the heat makes it a good time for a cold soup.

I have a former neighbor, Rob Musial, to thank for this recipe. In the late 1970s, we lived in Detroit’s Palmer Park apartment community, and the citizens’ council published a cookbook, What’s Cooking in Palmer Park. Rob contributed this gazpacho recipe. Because the Ponchartrain Wine Cellar was a classy Detroit restaurant at the time, and because Ponchartrain Drive was a main street in Palmer Park, he called it Ponchartrain Drive Wine Cellars Gazpacho Soup.

I flip to the recipe so often, that page has come loose from the book’s plastic spiral binding.

I usually cut the tomato, cucumber, celery and scallion into large chunks and pulse them a few times in the food processor to chop finely. Don’t puree — you want to keep some crunchy bits.


1 large onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 fat cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes (or 3 medium ones), peeled and well chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 dash of Tabasco sauce (or a few more if you like a little more spice)
3 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 celery sticks, finely chopped (optional)
5 cups tomato juice
croutons for garnish (optional)
sour cream for garnish (optional)


In a soup pot, saute the onion in the oil until they are tender.
Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off.
Add all the remaining ingredients except croutons and stir well.
Refrigerate for several hours. Serve chilled, garnished with croutons and/or sour cream if desired.

Fresh Corn Casserole

18 Aug

Corn pudding

Fresh corn is everywhere these days, from farmers’ markets to your local supermarket. In many states, including Michigan, it’s local produce — fresh and delicious — and a great buy at this time of year.

Here’s a good recipe for fresh corn if you want to do something besides eat it off the cob (which, honestly, I think is the best possible thing you can do with fresh corn).

Save the recipe to use again when corn season is over; it’s also fine with frozen corn.

Serve it as a main dish with a nice salad for a luncheon or light supper, or as a side dish with grilled fish or (if you’re not a kosher-keeper) chicken.


2 cups fresh corn kernels (4 or 5 ears)
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup cornmeal
1 small can diced green chilies
1½ tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

Puree 1 cup corn with melted butter and eggs in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the pureed mixture and blend well.

Pour into casserole and bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes until puffed and golden.

Cut into squares or wedges to serve.

Serves 8

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

11 Aug
Roasted cauliflower with tahiniI’ve never been a huge fan of boiled or steamed cauliflower, but I love this vegetable when it’s roasted. Roasting makes it slightly sweet, with a crisp outside and a tender interior.
Here is an easy recipe I got from Cooking Light magazine. You can find tahini (sesame paste) at a Middle Eastern grocery store if your local supermarket doesn’t have it. Note that the tahini tends to separate in the jar, so be sure to stir it well before measuring it out.
The tahini flavor is mild, and the capers, lemon juice and red pepper give it just a little zing.


1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups small cauliflower florets
Cooking spray
Half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional crushed red pepper (optional)


Preheat oven to 475°. Combine tahini, capers, olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cauliflower florets; toss to coat. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast 15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Remove from oven; squeeze juice of lemon over top. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and, if desired, additional red pepper.
Serves 4 to 6

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