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.





Kale chips

Printable recipe

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
3-4 servings

Printable recipe

200 ml brown rice (about 150 g)
2 sweet potatoes (about 500 g)
Olive oil, salt and black pepper

50 g pecans

Vinaigrette
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.

Printable recipe

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
sea salt

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.

Variations

Salted chocolate caramel candies
Add 2 tbsp cocoa powder along with the other ingredients at the beginning of the recipe.




 

29 comments:

  1. Three recipes in one post?! Love it!...I'm freaking out over that salad.

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  2. Those caramels look amazing! So do the kale chips, and I love the flavours in that salad. You are spoiling us with all these amazing recipes in one post:)

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  3. Everything looks absolutely delish - such beautiful photographs! And I certainly agree with you on finding a balance between sweets and healthy foods. I'm pretty much the same - eating healthier in weekdays and on weekends I splurge in a few sweet treats ;-) And speaking of kale, I'm currently writing on a post on a kale quiche to be posted later tonight.

    //Sonja

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  4. Thank you for the caramel recipe. I'm completely obsessed with chewy salted caramels at the moment, and have been wanting to make my own...

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  5. Åh, vad jag älskar dina bilder!!

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  6. Grönkålschips är fantastiskt gott, och går att variera i det oändliga med olika kryddor, sesamfrön, kakao etc.
    Salladen låter också oerhört god! Jag är stor grönkålsfantast och äter grönkål i praktiskt taget alla måltider under hösten och vintern, så vill du få inspiration till fler maträtter med den har jag en hel del recept.

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  7. that's lovely, as always! few questions: it's something else that i can replace the golden syrup? i don't think i'm going to find something like that here in brazil! what kind of paper did you wrap them? thank you! (;

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    1. Hi! Thank you so much :-)
      I think corn syrup would work, but I haven't tried!
      I've wrapped them in wax paper!

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  8. Hi thanks for these beautiful recipes and pics. I've never used golden syrup before.. Would you advise to substitute with brown sugar or honey? thanks a lot

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    1. Thank you! :-)
      I'm not sure if honey is such a good idea.. the caramels would get a strong taste from it. I would probably use corn syrup if replacing, although I haven't tried. Good luck!

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  9. Beautiful pictures! The chocolate salted caramels sound divine!

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  10. Så fina bilder! Och jag äääääälskar grönkål :-)

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  11. Love, love the photos, specially those of beautiful green kale! I am always trying to find a balance (sometimes it works and sometimes not really!) between eating healthy and satisfying my love for cakes, chocolate and basically anything sweet!

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  12. Fantastiska bilder som vanligt!
    Här är ett annorlunda recept på grönkål som jag inte har hunnit prova än, men som ser väldigt gott ut! Över huvud taget innehåller den bloggen massa bra vegetariska recept och flera av dem med grönkål. Men det kanske du redan vet? :)
    http://lillamatderiven.blogspot.se/2013/10/grillad-macka-med-gronkalspesto.html

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  13. Agh, I love kale chips! So easy and so delicious.

    I have tried before to make caramel candies, and they didn't turn out quite right. Perhaps I will give it another shot with this recipe. They look wonderful!

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  14. Hur formade du dem? vad för slags bägare hällde du dessa i? vill göra likadant godis imorn ^^

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    Replies
    1. Jag hällde kolasmeten i en bakform, 20x20 cm stor, klädd med bakplåtspapper. Låt kolan stelna och skär sedan i lagom stora bitar :-)

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  15. These cookies are making me smile. I would take down so many of them and have a great excuse since they are so nice.

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  16. It's really funny beacuse I making kale chips this summer as I was an opair in Us and loved it so much, that now all my freinds are trying it out, It is a perfect dupe for normal chips, when you need that extra bit of saltines :D

    www.homeandawaynina.blogspot.com

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  17. ll your photos are beautiful and everything looks delicious! i love kale chips but haven't made caramels before -- your recipes look great and simple so i look forward to trying them :)

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  18. Those caramels look amazing! I must try your recipe soon. I need to get my hands on kale chips again- I got crazy in the veggie patch this year and had more than 30 plants. Good that they like being frosted and it easies their bitterness, still have more than ten plans in the garden.

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  19. Hej! Jag undrar om du använder strösocker och vispgrädde i ditt recept som översatts från granulated sugar och heavy cream? Tack för all inspiration!

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    1. Det stämmer bra det! :-)
      Tack så hemskt mycket!

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  20. Hi! I'm From italy! I love your blog! Just a question...here it is difficult to find golden syrup. How can i substitute it??? Love! Alessandra♡

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  21. I make kale chips a lot, my children love them and the fact that they are kale makes me delighted when I see them eating piles of it. I'm guessing they would like your salted vanilla caramels too so I will have a go at those!

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  22. Hej! Jag testade att göra godiset fast när jag hällt upp det i en klädd form och låtit det stelna så var kanterna helt perfekta men det i mitten var alldeles sockrigt och konstigt. Förstår inte hur det kunde bli så, vet du vad jag kan ha gjort för fel?

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  23. Hi there, I made the caramel candies yesterday and I've let the block cool down for a day in the fridge, but it's just too soft to even handle (sticks to the knife and just stretches, stretches and stretches. Any idea on what could have gone wrong? I followed the recipe exactly, apart from using light syrup (ljus sirup) instead of golden syrup, as I read somewhere that it should work as a substitute. Do you think this could have caused the caramel to not set properly? Thanks for any ideas you may have... It tastes beyond delicious, but has to be eaten off the tin with a spoon...

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment! :-)