Warm Winter Salad and Christmas Eve Dinner

I really don't know what kind of foodie I am since I failed to record in any way my Christmas Eve dinner. I think I got caught up in the festivities, the craziness, the hodgepodge and the "doesn't this just figures" like the lights going out and my uncle's fiance's cat having to be taken to the vet to be put down. No pictures, no recipes but I have recreated (and expanded to full on meal size) a brussel sprout recipe (shocking I know) that I made. On Christmas eve we enjoyed Prime Rib w/horseradish, Roasted Root Veggies (Parsnips, Blue Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Onion, Whole Garlic, Carrot tossed in a very light fresh herb, balsamic and olive oil mixture), Lemon-y Brussel Sprouts with Carmelized Leeks and Salad with my mom's lemon dressing. We also enjoyed Carrot Cake and Chocolate Mousse cake from Whole Foods for dessert and Mary's Gone Crackers with Fig Onion Jam and amazing Goat Cheese for appetizers. The Roasted Root Veg was delicious and managed to accommodate surprise guests, late guests and hearty appetites as well.

Despite having been very good and eaten great (healthy) foods over the holidays, post-Christmas I was looking back to my routine of having a good hearty salad at least once a day. The problem is, with winter, snow and cold, the last thing that is satisfying is a light raw salad. I wanted my greens (ok, almost everything I eat is vegetable based but still...) but I wanted something warming as well. I was out running when this salad came into my brain as I slushed through any number of now melting snow drifts, soaking my feet. I created a fresh, crisp but more importantly warm winter salad of kale, garbanzo beans and tomatoes.

Warm Winter Salad


1 bunch Kale, wash and rough chop
½ pint cherry tomatoes
.25 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and dried
.25 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp. olive oil

In a dry skillet or non-stick pan, toast the garbanzo beans over medium high heat. Keep pan moving so garbanzos don't stick. Toast for a few minutes until the beans start to get a golden hint and are fragrant.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet and heat. Add kale and coat with oil. Wilt for 2-3 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst. The greens should be crisp tender.

Remove from heat, adjust seasoning and toss goat cheese with the mixture.

The brussel sprouts I cooked on Christmas Eve might have rocket launched themselves into the number one spot on ways to cook Brussel Sprouts. In order to reduce the following recipe to make that, simply remove the cabbage, green beans and tofu and make according to the same directions. The following recipe I cooked up (or kicked up) in order to make my favorite food into a main dish and thus allow me to eat more, but still have other elements to make sure it was a balanced meal.

Brussel Sprouts, Red Cabbages, Green Beans and Carmelized Leeks


2 cups brussel sprouts, halved
1 cup red cabbage, rough chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
1 large leek, trimmed, cleaned and rough chopped
3 oz. baked tofu, cubed (savory flavor recommended)
1 lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a steamer, bring to a boil 3-4 cups of water and steam brussel sprouts, cabbage and green beans for 1.5-2 minutes, until the vegetables brighten and crisp. Remove from heat and shock in cold water to stop cooking. (You may also parboil) Set aside.

In a skillet or non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute leeks for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to caramelize. Add tofu into the skillet and cook until browning. Add back the brussel sprouts, cabbage and green beans and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few more minutes until the veggies are crisp, golden and toasty.

Remove from heat, squeeze the juice of the lemon over the mixture and toss. Adjust salt and pepper and serve.

One cool last tidbit: I have created a Tastebook of all of my recipes from this year, so that anyone who is interested in having all my original recipes in one place, categorized and with lots of pretty pictures, can now do so on Tastebook. There is a link to the right top. Or better yet, go there and make your own!