Kale Salad with Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch

Kale Salad with Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch

Kale Salad with Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch,
Breadcrumbs and Parmesan
Recipe by Nicole Putzel

Kale kale kale can get kinda boring but as the torn leaves mingle with her awesome Lemon Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, this “simple” salad emerges as anything but. Chef Nicole Putzel has managed to create an alluring salad where fresh breadcrumbs add a toasty crunchy texture while parmesan cheese adds salty, nutty, umami notes. All the various complex flavors in the dressing take the humble chopped kale to another level.

Nicole wrote,“Lemon basil is my absolute favorite variety of the herb. It has a bright citrusy flavor that is sweeter than traditional basil. The lemon basil gives the buttermilk ranch dressing an extra punch and tastes delicious with raw kale. The dressing recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of dressing , so you’ll have plenty left over to use in other salads.”

Kale Salad Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!

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Vegetarian Springtime Rigatoni

Vegetarian Springtime Rigatoni

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Buffalo Mozzarella
Recipe by Nicole Putzel

All hailing from Chicagoland, Chef Nicole Putzel and I were virtually introduced a few years back by our mutual friend and discerning foodie, Peg. We recently thought it might be fun to collaborate on some of our cooking experiences, especially during these challenging times.

Nicole sent me a copy of her delightful book just published last year, The Seasoned Plate: Delicious and Healthy Real Food. She says, “This cookbook is the result of a beautiful recipe: one of food, friendship, and wellness, told by the seasons.”

Throughout the seasons, Nicole would create a vegetable-centric recipe every Friday, often harvesting the produce from her own organic garden. Her friend Photographer Claudia Chocano would shoot the dishes, after which they would partake of the fruits of their labors together.

The first recipe I chose from the Spring section was this fresh, vibrant, vegetarian rigatoni dish. Nicole wrote, “This colorful pasta dish came together on an evening  when my house was filled with company and my guests asked for a tour of the vegetable garden. The broccoli, arugula, and basil were all ready for harvest and everyone was hungry, so voilà! This was a true crowd pleaser.”

Springtime Rigatoni Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!

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K-POP {Korean Popcorn} A Thank You, A Celebration, and A Giveaway

upodate

K-POP korean popcorn

K-POP {Korean Popcorn}

Fresh Popped Corn, Sesame Oil, Gochugaru,
Sesame Seeds, Korean Roasted Sea Salt, Seasoned Seaweed

Last month Taste With The Eyes turned six years old, the date came and went without any fanfare. But I simply cannot let the milestone go by without thanking you, my dear friends and readers. With your encouragement and inspiration I cooked, created, photographed and wrote over 700 posts since 2007.

That’s worthy of a little celebration. So I want to share something really good and really simple. Something you can enjoy with your friends! This popcorn was dreamt up on the spur of the moment when guests stopped by unexpectedly one evening while I was in the middle of cooking a Korean dish. I poured some Hite beers and popped some corn. With the ingredients that were sitting on my counter, I dressed the popped corn. It was an instant hit! A sweet, savory, spicy snack. And thanks to my friend Michelle, it has a name: K-POP!

The K-POP Kit

K-POP Korean Popcorn

Gourmet Popcorn
Toasted Sesame Oil
Gochugaru (red chili powder)
Roasted Sesame Seeds
Korean Roasted Sea Salt
Seasoned Seaweed (sugar, salt, sesame)

Heat a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add 3 T. canola oil and 1/2 cup corn kernels. Swirl pot to coat the kernels with oil. Cover and cook until the popping stops, about 5 minutes. Place the popcorn in a serving bowl. Sprinkle the popcorn with roasted sea salt, drizzle with sesame oil, season with spicy gochugaru, shake with sesame seeds, toss with the crispy crunchy seaweed. There are no exact measurements, just season according to your taste.

K-POP Korean Popcorn

K-POP Kit Giveaway

As a small token of my appreciation, I would love to send one of you a K-POP Kit. The Kit includes everything you need (except canola oil) to make many batches of this sweet, savory, spicy snack for your friends and family. Simply leave a comment on this post, and I will choose a winner randomly on August 31st. Thanks to you, it has been and continues to be an absolute pleasure to be the author of this culinary anthology…

UPDATE 8/9/2013:

K-POP Korean Popcorn is now a featured recipe in the Korea Herald Business.
Kamsahamnida K-Herald!

UPDATE 8/31/2013:

Congratulations to K-POP Winner ~ Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence!

A Farmers Market Dinner Featuring Salmon & Truffle Cream

farmers market dinner

Pan-Roasted King Salmon with White Truffle Cream
Farmers Market Wild Arugula, Heirloom Baby Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado
Pine Nuts, French Lentils, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Inspired by a trip to the Farmers Market, fresh king salmon was pan-roasted and served over organic French lentils seasoned with just a kiss of my Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette along with wild arugula, irresistible baby cherry tomatoes, lightly toasted pine nuts, and avocado.

The sauce is made with La Tartufata blended with creme fraiche which added a velvety nuance to the dish. A preserved truffle product from Gourmet Attitude, La Tartufata is an earthy intense white truffle cream. This dinner was a delightful marriage of earth, garden, and sea. It’s the third in a series of three meals, each featuring one of the preserved truffle goodies in the “Trio Boutique.” We especially liked dipping the little heirloom tomatoes in the truffle cream sauce…

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A Heavenly Dinner Featuring Truffle Carpaccio

cucumber carpaccio, truffle carpaccio, gourmet attitude

First Course:
Cucumber & Truffle Carpaccio with Bucheron
Olive Oil, Verjus, Fleur de Sel, Chives

ilet mignon, mushroom duxelles, potato cake, truffle carpaccio, bordelaise reduction

Second Course:
Filet Mignon Wrapped in Speck
Duxelles with Truffle, Potato Cake, Creme Fraiche, Truffle Carpaccio
Painted Bordelaise Reduction

Jupiter aligned with Mars. Our Creative Cooking Crew challenge for the month of February was to put an imaginative spin on “meat & potatoes.” A gift of Truffle Carpaccio arrived in the mail. My dear friend and savvy cook, FA, was coming to town. Meat. Potatoes. Truffles. Sounds like a party. Dinner party.

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A Sweet & Savory Dinner Featuring Truffle Honey

cooking with truffle honey, bacon wrapped pork loin

A Sweet & Savory Dinner ~ Featuring Truffle Honey

Pan-Seared & Roasted Pork Loin Wrapped in Bacon
Demilune of Baked Butternut Squash & Apple with Truffle Honey & Rosemary
Sauteed Purple Cabbage with Truffle Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Caraway Seeds

My generous friends at Gourmet Attitude in NYC, purveyors of fresh truffles and fine truffle products, sent a gift box called the “Trio Boutique” containing three jars of fancy truffle products ~ truffle honey, truffle carpaccio, and white truffle cream. Merci and Grazie! We thought it would be fun to cook three separate dinners, each featuring one of these preserved truffle goodies.

For the first truffle dinner, lean and mild pork loin was enhanced with thick smoky bacon. Nutty butternut squash was baked with gala apple and laced with truffle honey, rosemary and butter. Then for contrast, purple cabbage was sauteed with onion and butter, flavored with balsamic vinegar and toasted caraway seeds, finished with truffle honey. This rather common combination of pork, apples, and cabbage was elevated by the truffle honey and the pretty demilune squash presentation with a rosette of colorful cabbage. It’s a meal that exemplifies uncomplicated effortless elegance.

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Joël Robuchon, Claude Monet & 5 Years of Taste With The Eyes

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
A Menu of Small Tasting Portions

Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet
(book giveaway at the end of this post, thru July 6)

“Cap Martin, Near Menton”
Claude Monet

cap martin, near menton floral arrangement

“Cap Martin, Near Menton”
Floral Arrangement

On our trip to Las Vegas we “encountered” two ultra-gifted Frenchmen, artists Joël Robuchon and Claude Monet – the Chef and the Painter. It wasn’t until after I returned home that I realized how the two are ultimately connected…

The oil-on-canvas landscape painting “Cap Martin, Near Menton” is from Monet’s more experimental works of the French Riviera in 1884. We were delighted by the ingenious flower arrangement on display at the Bellagio Conservatory which has been modeled after Claude Monet’s painting.

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