I bought the perfect black blazer earlier this spring. I had been looking for one forever — it’s such a basic wardrobe staple that it had to be exactly right — and as soon I brought it home, I headed straight to my closet and started pulling out different tops and pants I could wear it with. I tried it on with jeans and Bensimons. With wedges and a skirt I hadn’t seen in ages. Then with jeans and flats. And then with those white jeans that had been buried way at the bottom of the trunk. And the dress jammed in the back of the closet. (Hello old friend!! Where have you been?) Does this happen to you? When you are excited about a new piece of clothing does it somehow make you see everything else in your closet with brand new eyes?
Well, last week, I think a pack of chicken chorizo sausage had a similar effect on the contents of my refrigerator. Whenever I have a few links in my kitchen, opening the fridge door on a weeknight at 6:30 seems somehow rich with potential — instead of fraught with peril. This week it was all excitement and experimenting: What should I wear my chorizo with? Last week I sliced up some links for a frittata with kale, potatoes, manchego, onions, and tomato. This week, I browned some slices and stuffed them in a tortilla with spinach, avocado, and a creamy cilantro dressing — a riff on a salad I order all the time at the local Tex-Mex joint. It almost feels like cheating, this having chorizo around. Like I need to suffer more for my dinner somehow. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.
Chicken Chorizo Taco with Spinach and Avocado
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 links smoked chicken chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds (or 1/2 link per eater)
4 whole wheat tortillas
4 handfuls fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
Make creamy cilantro dressing: Using a small food processor, blend together yogurt, cilantro,lime, cumin, and salt.*
In a small skillet (preferably cast-iron), fry chorizo rounds until crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes a side. Remove from skillet. Turn heat to medium-high and cook each tortilla until brown, about 30 seconds per side. Top each with a handful of spinach, chorizo rounds, avocado and a drizzle of cilantro dressing.
*If you are pressed for time and can’t deal with a food processor, you can skip the dressing and just garnish your taco with cilantro, lime, and yogurt (or sour cream).
Chorizo and Kale Frittata
1 link chorizo, sliced into coins
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onions or shallots
Handful of fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced into “coins” like thick potato chips (about 1⁄2 cup)
8 to 10 grape tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 handful washed and roughly chopped kale
1/3 cup shredded Manchego cheese (or cheddar or Jack)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives
Preheat the broiler. In a cast-iron (or oven-proof) skillet, fry the chorizo over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, 3 -5 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add oil and cook onions about 1 minute.
Push onions to side of the pan and add the potatoes in a single layer. Cook another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy and mostly cooked through. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the kale to the pan and stir until the leaves wilt. Add chorizo.
Whisk together the eggs, cheese, and herbs in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir lightly to make sure the spinach and potatoes are evenly distributed.
Let cook without stirring for about 2 minutes. When eggs are mostly cooked around the edges, transfer to the oven. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until eggs are cooked and top is slightly golden. Cut into pizza-like wedges and serve.
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Tags:chorizo and eggs·frittata recipes·kale recipes for kids·recipes for chorizo
I know. Bummer. An entire post devoted to salad. Not a BLT salad or a wedge of iceberg with thousand island dripping in and around the crevices. But a yawn-inducing, omega-3-rich, good-for-you, raw bowl of nutrients that falls into the “leafy green” category. Thanks, Jenny! Thanks for the big bowl of homework!
Go ahead, leave the page. Go lose yourself in some duck confit fried in lard. Cause then the secret of the salad’s hidden superpowers is still somewhat secure. You see, this concoction above may look like a dutiful mound of kale with grated ricotta salata and thinly shaved red onions, but it’s actually more than that. A lot more. I’m telling you, if you can get your kids to eat it, all kinds of amazingly freaky things start to happen. Like for starters, I think I can actually see Abby growing before my eyes, her shirt bursting at the buttons, Lou Ferrigno-style, right at the dinner table. And about three minutes after Phoebe inhaled her salty ribboned kale last Sunday, she had a sudden impulse to recite the quadratic formula, even though, as far as I know, trigonometry is not part of New York State’s third grade curriculum. (Yet.)
But the real magic is a little more subtle. When you — as in you mom and dad! — get up from the table you’ll suddenly notice that the guilt you have been carrying around with you all day about missing “parent observation day” at tennis has been replaced by a rush of happiness endorphins. And you know how you’ve been beating yourself up over the fact that your eight-year-old still can’t tell time? For at least a few days after you have served your children this salad, that hardly seems to register on the guilt-o-meter either. The remorse over the fried-in-butter beef-veal-pork double hot dog with spicy curly fries from Walter’s*? Gone. Completely cancelled out.
I’m telling you, this stuff is powerful. And, sadly, its applications of guilt-erasing possibilities: endless.
*Whattup MHS Tigers?!
Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata
The credit for this salad goes to my superhero friend Naria, who first made it for me for lunch last summer, then again last week at a delicious dinner party.
Wash and trim the stems off two large handfuls of kale. Chop into confetti-like strands as shown. Shred a boatload of ricotta salata on top, add about 1 tablespoon of red onion that has been sliced to the point of transparency. Add a few glugs of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and freshly ground pepper.
To feel really virtuous, serve with fish presents.
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Tags:kale for kids·kale recipes for kids·kale salad·kale salad with ricotta salata·kale with ricotta salata·salad recipes
Full disclosure here: I think I knew the winner of my Go-to Weeknight Dinner Contest almost as soon as I spied the Sausage, Kale, and Bean Stew entry submitted by “anna” on Day 1 of the contest. Every recipe that came in after this one, as far as I was concerned, had to pass the anna test — as in, is it as appealing sounding as anna’s stew? Because Anna’s Stew had all the hallmarks of a keeper in my house including:
1) A Quick Cook Time – from start to finish it took me about 20 minutes
2) A Forgiving Technique – For 10 of those minutes I was ignoring the sizzling sausages as I sat with my 7-year-old testing her on multiplication flash cards. It didn’t seem to affect the dish in the slightest.
3) An Easy Marketing Plan – It contained two solid ingredients that I could count on my kids eating without a fight (sausages and kale)
4) An Adventure Factor – It contained one (easily extractable) ingredient that I’ve been meaning to push on the kids (cannelini beans)
5) It was really f*%#@*g good!!!
However narrow-minded I was about choosing the winner, I remind you that one family’s keeper might be another family’s pet food, so please head over to the contest post to check out all 78 submissions (so awesome, btw — a big thank-you to everyone who sent something in) because there are a ton of delicious-sounding options. If I was giving out honorable mention, “bugawa” (#43) was a close second with her Jacques Pepin-inspired pork medallions in wine sauce — so tasty, but couldn’t compete with the one-dishiness of anna’s stew. And “Joanna’s” (#59) strategic two-in-one meal plan was incredibly hard for me to pass up (you can take the girl out of Real Simple) but sadly, included pasta, which my 9-year-old still won’t touch. (Why, God, why??)
Anna wins a $75 gift certificate to Allmodern.com. Thanks for playing everyone.
Anna’s Sausage, Bean, and Kale Stew
I halved the recipe for my family of four (if Abby ate 2 sausages, as called for here, she’d be eating about twice her own weight) but this below is written to serve 6 normal eaters or about 8 bird-like ones. Anna called for the sausages to be sliced into rounds after being browned — which might be more appealing for the kids — but I found it easier to crumble the meat with a fork in the first step.
Saute 1 onion (chopped) in Dutch Oven in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until softened. Add 2 garlic cloves (minced), salt, pepper, and a few flakes of crushed red pepper. Add in 8 links of Italian chicken or pork sausage (casings removed, crumbed with a fork) and cook until brown and heated through. Add one 32-ounce container chicken broth (add less if you like your stews more chunky, less brothy), a 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, and 2 14-ounce cans cannellini beans (rinsed and drained). Bring to a boil. Add 1 large bunch kale, simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve with a lot of freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread.
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Tags:kale recipes for kids·one dish dinner·one pot meal·sausage bean and kale stew