Saturday, December 17, 2016

Winter Veg with Fruity Vinaigrette

Another traditional side dish for the holidays is winter squash, in various preparation... baked, mashed, roasted etc. The braised recipe below with added kale, mushrooms and a fruity vinaigrette is a colorful addition for your Christmas Dinner Menu. It is a hearty, almost zero mile dish with winter squash stored from your summer garden harvest and fresh kale from the winter garden.  
As for harvesting your winter kale... the hardy leaves of kale will freeze solid in temperatures of -5C. If the leaves are frozen solid, wait until the weather has warmed up and the leaves have thawed out before you harvest. When it is safe to harvest, pick the outer leaves first. They are less hardy than the younger leaves in the center of the plant.

For variety of the fruit vinaigrette, there are a few local Oil and Vinegar Tasting rooms in the Comox Valley. If you have not tried this new specialty, go with a few girlfriends and guaranteed you will leave with some new favorite flavors and a few Christmas gifts for the foodies on your list. I have gathered a good selection from 'Signature Oil and Vinegar' near the new Thrifty Foods. My favorite two Olive Oils are: Butter and Whole Fruit Lemon. As for the vinegar; I can't live without Blackberry-Ginger Dark Balsamic, and the White Balsamic Cranberry Pear and White Balsamic Coconut are good enough to drink! The helpful staff will guide you through tasting and choosing flavors that appeal to individual taste, usage and preference. I started with 8 different flavors in 60ml bottles and graduated to purchasing the 200ml size of my favorites. 
'Signature Oil and Vinegar' is now located in the Crown Isle Shopping Centre at 207B - 444 Lerwick Road Courtenay and Tyee Plaza, Shoppers Row in Campbell River.
My current collection from 'Signature Oil and Vinegar'
WINTER VEG WITH FRUITY VINAIGRETTE       Yield: 3-4 servings 
There is a wide variety of fruit infused vinegar and oils available. Substitute your favorites in the vinaigrette.
The Fruity Vinaigrette:
2 1/2 Tbsp. seedless raspberry or blackberry jam
2 Tbsp. Raspberry or Blackberry-Ginger Dark Balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2-3 Tbsp. Whole Fruit Lemon Olive Oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the jam, vinegar and mustard until smooth. Add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, whisk again. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate in a jar, stir before using. This can be made a few days ahead of time.

The Veg:
6 large, organic, crimini mushrooms -cleaned and cut into chunks
1 medium white onion -large dice
3-4 Tbsp. butter or Butter Olive Oil (or extra-virgin olive oil) -divided
3 cups peeled -cubed Ambercup or Buttercup squash
A bunch of fresh garden kale
1/2 cup whole, roasted pecans

Strip the kale leaves off the stems and slice into strips about 1/2 inch wide, set aside. Chop the kale stems into 1/2 inch long bits, keep separate from the leaves.
In a medium sauté pan, melt half of the butter, add diced onion and mushrooms. Sauté over medium heat until lightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside. 

Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the squash cubes and kale stems. Quickly brown the squash lightly, turn the heat to medium/low, add the kale leaves, cover the pan and braise for about 8 minutes or until the squash is cooked through but not mushy. Check it every few minutes. Add the cooked mushroom mixture and drizzle with about half to two thirds of the vinaigrette. Mix and taste, add more dressing for desired flavor. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve warm immediately. 

Till next time... Bon Appétit!

www.gourmetbysallyrae.com
Recipe and Photo by Sally Rae

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