Saturday, October 13, 2012

Harvest Bounty Food Swap 2012

Today was my friend Melissa's second annual Harvest Bounty Food Swap at the local co-op. I'm happy to report that attendance doubled from last year, and there were lots of yummy things to trade for, including a lot of raw produce from community gardens. Along with home-canned goods, I came home with cabbage, Swiss chard, winter squashes, Daikon radishes, and a whole bunch of green and purple tomatillos.

We also had another great potluck. I took my favorite banana nut bread baked in a bundt pan to look fancy, but there were some fabulous dishes that others brought to share. One lady named Carmen brought a delicious shrimp and butternut squash risotto that I simply have to make at home. She even sent me home with an extra bowlful to have for lunch the next day! Wasn't that nice of her? 

The hostess with the most-ess, Melissa, brought an awesome pumpkin pie made from a real pumpkin (not from a can), and the crust was made with lard that she rendered herself. I liked the texture of the pie, and the balance of spice was spot on, not overbearing. Here is her recipe:

Melissa's Pumpkin Pie

About 2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup half-n-half (Melissa used heavy cream)

First combine the pumpkin and spices, then beat in eggs and gradually add cream. Stir just to combine and pour into blind-baked* crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until the tip of a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
*To blind bake the crust, bake covered with parchment and pie weights at 350 for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden. Cool completely.

But the best dish at the potluck, in my humble opinion, was this amazing Asian kale salad that a woman named Marsha brought. I have recently come around to including this superfood in my diet, but usually only thrown into soups or once in awhile as crispy, oven-baked chips. But I never thought I would enjoy it raw. Boy, was I wrong! This salad is SO GOOD! Y'all have to try it!

Asian Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, ribs removed and sliced thinly or chopped – approximately 1/2 pound chopped (OK to use the pre-cut bagged kale from store, but remove any really fat stem pieces)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned (I used two)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1 red pepper, diced (I used a large spicy red chile)
2 scallions, chopped (I used a thinly-sliced shallot)

1 clove garlic, crushed (I used four cloves!)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated (about 1 to 2 inch length of ginger root)
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce or teriyaki)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey squirt of sriracha, optional

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds/pepitas (I used 1/2 cup!)
1/8 cup toasted sesame seeds

1. Combine all veggies and craisins in a very large bowl.
2. Prepare dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir well and mix in all the items.
3. Pour dressing over veggies in bowl. Toss well. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.

Follow-Up (10/15/12): If you have leftover kale salad, it will wilt after being in the fridge for a day. It's still good like that (just with a softer texture), but another idea is to use it to make a delicious fried rice!

Kale Fried Rice

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar snap (or snow) peas
2 cups Asian kale salad
2 eggs
salt  and pepper
4 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
squirt of sriracha

In a large skillet, heat the oil and stir-fry the sugar snap or snow peas for a few minutes Add the kale salad to another section of the pan just to warm it up, and crack in two eggs, cooking them until just barely set. Add four cups of cooked rice, and the soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, granulated garlic, and sriracha. Toss everything together and continue to cook until everything is heated through.

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