Giving thanks dinner part 2: Warm kale and pumpkin salad

My parents live in France. Yep, black folks do live in France as well. They moved there after my dad retired and have been enjoying “La douce vie” in the Lot Garonne area for the past 7 years now. This week they are in Holland to help my sister and her baby boy move into their new home. This baby boy is actually not so much a baby anymore (he turned three this year) but being the only grand child so far, and thus my only nephew, he is the families joy and pride. You will definitely be hearing more about him in future posts as he is already a serious gourmand and kitchen prince, even at his tender age. (You do get why I so adore the child, don’t you?). So baby sitting at my house is mostly spent in the kitchen which of course is just fine by me!

I took advantage of their visit and had them over for dinner. Since we don’t get to see eachother often I always do my best to make it special. As I was still in the thanksgiving mode I made the warm kale and pumpkin salad that I served for thanksgiving again and added some other goodies. My dad being an incurable carnivore I had to have some kind of fleshy substance on the menu to not alienate him too much. But since I avoid red meat relentlessly a good chunck of fresh tuna was as far as I was willing to go. So out came the Ottolenghi cookbook again for this delish recipe I had spotted ages ago but had not gotten round to make yet. It’s tuna in a pistachio crust!!! I believe that in a former life I must have been persian royalty for there are few things that make me more a glow than pistachio and pomegranate seeds. Both were on this menu. They both so remind me of precious stones, which I equally adore but are harder to come by (For me at least, or for now at least. You know until the recession lights up and stuff…..).

Anyway, let me tell you what else was on the menu. So to accompany the salad and pistachio crusted tuna I precooked some roseval potato wedges in boiling salted water before coating them in some polenta and ghee and baking them super crispy in a steaming hot oven. A trick I picked up from the domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. With this I served beetroot pesto as a dip made with coriander instead of basil. Than to round things off we had roasted plum galettes with cardamom yoghurt! I know, you might need to have a lie down now cause you’re so disappointed not to have been invited to dinner. But you will have the second best thing which is some of the recipes so you can do this yourself.

I was so busy setting the table and the mood that I hardly had time to take pictures so I will feature some of these goodies in future posts. However as promised here is the recipe for the kale and pumpkin salad which is a perfect dish for both kapha and pitta. In summer it is even a good idea for Pitta’s to have this salad raw. Vata don’t eat this too often. The kale might leave you feeling bloated and give you gas. If you do eat it make sure you cook the veggies really well and serve with an avocado sliced on top.

And as a tiny extra I have also added the recipe for the beetroot pesto which you see on the left hand side in the photo below.

Warm kale and pumpkin salad (adapted from a recipe by Sara Raven)

For 3 to4 persons

  • 300 grams pumpkin peeled and cored and sliced very thinly in to ribbons on a mandoline
  • 300 grams thinly sliced kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • juice of half a lemon
  • dash of cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seeds
  • seeds from a quarter pomegranate
  • 1 ripe avocado in slices (optional for vata)

First roast the pumpkin seeds till crunchy in a dry pan. Set aside.

Now heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan. When hot drop in the fennel and cumin seeds and bake for 30 seconds till fragrant. Put the pumpkin ribbons in the pan and fry for 3 minutes stirring every now and than so they don’t catch. Lower the heat and now squeeze in the lemon juice , sprinkle in the cinnamon and add some salt to taste. Stir the pumpkin. Cook for a further 3 minutes until the pumpkin is softer but still a tiny bit crunchy.

Now turn up the heat to high again. Should the pan be very dry add a dash of olive oil more. Drop in the kale and stir fry on high heat stirring frequently until the kale just starts to wilt. Season with salt if needed and liberally with cracked pepper. If needed you can also add some more lemon juice. Spread on a  shallow serving dish and drape the avocado slices on top if using. Otherwise directly sprinkle with the pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.

Beetroot coriander pesto

Serves 4  as a dip

  • 2 medium sized cooked beetroots (I used organic precooked because I happened to have them in the house)
  • juice from 3/4 lime
  • a good slug of extra vergine olive oil
  • a handful of coriander leaves plus some whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of himalaya rock salt
  • 30 grams of grated parmesan cheese (pitta and kapha substitute pecorino cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted pinenuts (kapha substitute sunflower seeds) plus some seeds for garnish
  • a thin slice of fresh ginger

Put everything in a food processor and process to a creamy dip. Garnish with roasted pinenuts or sunflower seeds and whole coriander leaves.


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