November 11, 2013
WINTER RECIPES - salted caramel candies + kale chips + a sweet potato salad
These are, I would say, some pretty great recipes for winter.
Before you wrinkle your nose from hearing the word "kale chips", hear me out.
I have fond memories of kale from my childhood. No, I'm not talking about the smell. Nor the taste.
I have always hated kale. Ok, hate is a very strong word that I rarely use. Let's just say I've always disliked it.
Kale is a very important ingredient where I come from (Halland, a province in the south of Sweden), especially on "julbordet" (the Christmas table). It's usually cooked with cream, butter, salt and sometimes a little bit of sugar (I've never made it so I can't say for sure these are the exact ingredients but I think so).
But I digress. I was going to tell you about my memories of kale. My parents used to bring home this huge bag of kale every christmas. Like, really, really huge. Definitely taller than me. We sat around the table together, my mom, my dad and my big brother, removing the thick stems and tearing the kale into smaller pieces. Then my mom cooked it the way I described before. I thought the smell was terrible, but somehow it remains one of my strongest and fondest memories.
If you haven't heard, kale is pretty much a super-food. It's so nutritious that as a vegetarian I feel like I need to find ways to eat it and still enjoy it. Mixing it into hearty salads and making chips is definitely the way to go for me. I'm going to try making juices too.
I know it's a bit ambiguous, here I am, talking about nutrition and all and them I'm giving you a recipe for caramel candies. Well, to me it's all about finding a balance. I definitely don't want to deprive myself of eating baked goods or candy (it's part of my job!), so I try to eat fairly (with emphasis on fairly) healthy food during the weekdays. Don't you think these caramel candies would make a perfect gift though? Find a cute little box, fill it with candies and give it to someone you like.
1 bunch kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 150°C (300F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the thick stems from the leaves and tear into small pieces. Wash and dry pieces thoroughly.
Put kale in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Put kale in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until slightly brown, about 15-20 minutes
Brown rice, sweet potato and chick pea salad with roasted pecans and kale
200 ml brown rice (about 150 g)
2 sweet potatoes (about 500 g)
Olive oil, salt and black pepper
50 g pecans
3 tbsp dijon mustard (I used honey dijon)
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
400 g chick peas, cooked or tinned and drained
50 g kale (or a few leaves..), rinsed and chopped in smaller pieces
Cook rice according to instructions. Set aside.
Heat oven to 200°C (392F). Peel and cut sweet potatoes in smaller pieces. Put them in a pan together with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to make sure potatoes are covered with oil. Roast for about 25 minutes or until pieces are tender and slightly browned.
Toast pecans in a skillet until fragrant.
Mix mustard, balsamico, olive, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Mix rice, sweet potatoes, pecans, vinaigrette, chick peas and kale in a large bowl.
Salted vanilla caramel candies
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Note: This recipe makes rather soft but still chewy candies. If you want harder candies you can reduce the amount of cream to about 225 ml.
250 g granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
60 g golden syrup
25 g butter (I used salted, but unsalted works too)
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
Line a 20 cm (8 inch) square pan with baking paper.
Put sugar, cream, syrup, butter and vanilla seeds in a large saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until mixtures reaches 122°C (251F) on a sugar thermometer (which can take up 10-20 minutes). If you don't have a thermometer, drop a little bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water. The mixture should be able to form a firm ball. Pour mixture in the prepared pan and let cool for a few minutes before sprinkling sea salt on top. Let stand until firm, about 3-4 hours. Cut caramels with a sharp knife. If your knife sticks to the caramels, spray it with non-stick spray or brush some oil on it. Wrap candies in wax paper. Keeps for about 5-7 days in room temperature, and even longer in the fridge. If you store them in the fridge, remember to bring them to room temperature before eating.
Salted chocolate caramel candies
Add 2 tbsp cocoa powder along with the other ingredients at the beginning of the recipe.