winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

I must make a confession, I'm not the best at naming recipes and at times, I struggle with what to call some of my recipes. Since most of the dishes I create and share are often not traditionally Indian and in some way are inspired by my environment and emotions, it's can get difficult. I don't like to name my dishes as "Indian ___" as it sounds odd. Those kind of names bug me as much as as I hear the word "chai ___" but when you go through the recipe there is no chai (tea) present. If I called this salad dressing as Indian spicy cilantro dressing, I'd be uncomfortable. I call this my "noun-adjective paradox" because it can .  So I usually defer to the much more simpler method of labeling my dishes with the prominent ingredients I use in them, I did it this time too. This delicious salad dressing today had me up for hours, wondering whether I should call it an Indian-inspired dressing or an Indian green goddess dressing. Whatever it might be called, this is one tasty and spicy green salad dressing to enjoy!

One of the best things I've finally tasted in 2016, is the pink lady apple. I'd heard of them before but never eaten one until recently. These ladies are a game changer, a life changer, they look good and they taste good. Their texture is crisp enough to dump it into a salad and if you slice them thin enough, it gives you just the right amount of sweetness and crispy texture to each bite you consume. Overall this salad is pretty "wintry", I put purple/red and regular good old green curly kale leaves, some cooked black lentils, avocado (not so winter) and the lady apples. It's a hearty salad and the dressing is very, very guilt free. I use Califia's unsweetened almond milk to make the base of the dressing, fresh cilantro leaves for flavor and color, add lime juice for acidity and fresh thai chilis and ginger for a kick. But to make it thick and give it body, this dressing needs some fat and plain almond butter does the trick here making it creamy enough to hold.

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this salad,

  • Any type of kale will work here, just shred it well and toss the midrib out. 
  • If you can't find lady apples use Granny smith apples the tartness works well.
  • If you cut the apples and don't want them to brown. Soak them in an ice cold water bath with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice. Drain the slices before you add them to the salad.
  • I like to presoak my lentils as it does make them cook faster when it comes to boiling. 
winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing | A Brown Table

winter black lentil salad with spicy cilantro dressing

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

for the salad

1 cup cooked black lentils

4 cups shredded kale leaves (I used a mix red and green varieties)

1 large avocado, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 pink lady apple, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pepitas, toasted

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. And toss to combine. Keep aside refrigerated until ready to serve with the salad dressing. Salad dressing can be added and tossed with salad or served on the side . 

spicy cilantro dressing

yields: about 1 1/2 cups

ingredients

1 cup Califia unsweetened almond milk

4 tablespoons almond butter, unsweetened

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

4 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

6 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon thai chili peppers, chopped

1 teaspoon fine grain salt

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Serve with the winter salad. 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms but all opinions expressed are solely my own.

kale and sausage bread pudding

kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table

Visiting M's parent's on their little farm out in Virigina, is always a treat! It's quiet, the internet is slow so you're basically cut off from the world but in many ways it's a blessing. You get to disconnect from everything else that's going on and you're forced to relax. You get to appreciate everything you have in your life a little more and start to pay attention to things around you. In many ways it's the best gift we could give ourselves. A brief respite from our lives. 

For some reason, it was apparently colder in CA than it was here on the East Coast, this Christmas. It's been raining like crazy, the fields were soaked in water and there were many moments that I almost slipped and broke my behind in the muck when I went to visit the mules and animals on the farm. M's mom loves her animals and raises goats that she milks herself to make goat milk soap. A couple of years ago, she taught me how to milk a goat, it's an interesting experience! I don't even know how to describe it. They now have two donkeys and they protect the goats from coyotes! I had no idea donkeys could scare coyotes off. 

Christmas morning, I baked a batch of popovers from Bon Appetit Christmas issue and some cheddar biscuits with herbs. Basically, we've been eating constantly every day. There is no rest for the tummy when we go to visit family. I think it is the general theme of our family vacations for both of us as we don't visit that them often so our trip transforms into a daily request of all our favorite dishes that we've missed.  

On one morning, I baked a kale and sausage bread pudding with M's mom. So here she is cooking with me in the kitchen and we're cooking a savory bread pudding (in many ways this is also a casserole). 

I'm also giving away this gorgeous baking dish from Le Creuset! All you need to do is a leave a comment and tell me what you want to cook in it and I will pick a randomwinner! The contest is only open to legal US residents and ends on January 3rd 2016 at 12 pm. Have an amazing New Year friends!!!

Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Goats and Sheep, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas at the Farm Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas Day Breakfast Scene | A Brown Table
Jersey Cows and a Donkey, Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding| A Brown Table
DSC_4377 - Version 2.jpg

Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish;

  • I added less salt than I normally would since the sausage I used was heavily seasoned. Adjust your salt amounts if you know that how the sausage will taste. I prefer to stick to the lower amount because you can always sprinkle a little salt later over the pudding when serving.
  • Use whatever type of kale or bread you like. Mustard greens and chard leaves will also work well in this recipe. 
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
Peacock in Virginia | A Brown Table

kale and sausage bread pudding

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat or rye bread country style, diced into 1" cubes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup cooked Italian breakfast sausage (I used spicy pork)

2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup packed kale leaves, torn (midrib discarded)

5 fresh sage leaves, julienned

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 375F. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Mix the cubes pieces of bread along with the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Spread this out on the lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the bread is browned and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

2. Take a medium-sized skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage and cook until the sausage is completely cooked and lightly browned.  Drain the fat and keep the sausage aside. 

3. Lightly butter a 1 quart oval baking dish and keep aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Fold in the kale, sage, and sausage. Carefully fold in the toasted croutons. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, lightly wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

4. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Remove the cling film and bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes until the center is firm to touch. A knife should come out clean from the center of the bread pudding. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Le Creuset for sponsoring this giveaway. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo

sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table

This week has been busy, we've been trying to get contractors lined up for all the different projects for our new house. Apparently, all contractors in the Bay are busy until next year so there's that but we finally managed to rope a few people in after a lot of googling, yelp research and asking people. With all the chaos that is to ensue, I'm super excited about the prospect of all the fun aspects of working on a home and making it my own. 

My first cover in print just came out last week. Every issue of the Edible Silicon Valley magazine features the work of one local artist (from the food industry) and this time the lovely folks at Edible SV did a little feature on my work and also asked me to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. You can find this issue at most stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and also online at their website

Edible Silicon Valley Fall 2015| Cover by Nik Sharma Photography

A lot can be said about a sandwich, in many ways I think of it as a gateway to my heart because a good sandwich can take me to my happy place. I like mine toasted and grilled, stuffed pretty full, yet pressed down and to compact and hold everything inside together. Most of the time, my sandwiches have cheese and if there's cheese, there'd better be some amount of heat involved to melt it.

These sandwiches have two stages of grilling. The first is when big, fat thick slices of garam masala seasoned sweet potatoes go on the grates and the second time it's the panini stuffed with kale leaves,cheese and crispy bacon. And along with this panini there's a hot and spicy Sriracha flavored mayo to dip and enjoy every bite! I also like to top each sandwich off with a fresh fried egg which also works perfect for a weekend brunch item.

To get the recipe and learn how to make this panini, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!


sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table
sweet potato panini with sriracha mayo | A Brown Table

Disclaimer: Thank you to West Elm for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.