• Tuscan Kale, Pomegranate & Blood Orange Citrus Salad

    When winter rolls around, I get giddy about eating and cooking with some of my favorite fruits.  Pomegranates are like prized jewels from Persephone's underworld that add beauty and brilliance to all kinds of dishes, as well as eaten out of hand (or over the kitchen sink!). The tarocco blood orange is another red rich fruit which adds not only vibrant color to a dish, but also a subtle sweetness and texture. Pair those two flavors with the healthy and hearty kale and you have a winter salad that's a marriage made in heaven.

    Tuscan Kale, Pomegranate & Blood Orange Citrus Salad

    1 bunch Lacinato Tuscan Kale

    1 pomegranate or 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

    2 blood oranges*

    1 Tablespoon Banyuls or sherry wine vinegar

    2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 Teaspoon kosher salt

    1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

    2 Tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

    2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

    To Prepare the salad: 

    Remove the stems from the kale leaves, reserve for another use.  Stack the leaf "filets" on top of one another and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch strips.  Wash and dry well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    If using a whole pomegranate, cut into quarters and remove the seeds over a bowl to catch any juices.  Discard the peel and the pith. (Remove any white pith that falls out with the seeds, as it will be bitter tasting.)  Set aside.

    Cut the each end of the blood oranges so a good portion of the orange is exposed.  Slice the peel and pith off the orange, going back to remove any white pith that may have been missed.  It helps to use a small, sharp paring knife, starting at the top and curve the knife blade around the flesh of the orange.  After the peel and pith has been removed, hold the orange in your hand and carefully cut on either side of each segment and let it fall into a small bowl. Squeeze out any juice from the remaining peel and pith into the bowl.  Set aside.

    To make the vinaigrette, strain off the juice from the pomegranate and blood orange.  if there is no pomegranate juice and/or little blood orange juice, use another orange and squeeze juice into bowl.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.

    To assemble the salad, place the kale in a large bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds, blood orange segments and nuts.  Add a portion of the vinaigrette and toss until all the ingredients are just barely coated. Add more vinaigrette as needed until the salad has enough vinaigrette to be well-coated and glossy, but not over dressed.

    Serves 4-6 as a salad course.

    *use other citrus varieties when not in season

  • Bella Spotlight: Tuscan Grill

    The Tuscan Grill is an Alice Waters slow food favorite. Handcrafted by Tuscan metalsmiths and modeled from an 18th-century Italian design, this grill is a functional and versatile new addition to the home and kitchen. "There is a universal magic in fire that transforms food as it grills," Alice Waters writes in her book The Art of Simple Food. "Grilling is nothing like cooking on a stove top or in a gas or electric oven: There's an unpredictability to it, a wild side, an immediacy that sets it apart." Bella Cucina founder Alisa Barry first encountered the Tuscan Grill while apprenticing with Waters at acclaimed restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Remaining true to its roots, the Bella Cucina Tuscan Grill is made from high-quality hand-forged steel. The result is a treasured cooking tool that enables year round artful eating and entertaining -- both indoors and out. "Once you have tasted slow cooked foods on the Tuscan Grill, you may never go back to gas grill cooking again. Cooking over hardwood is the best way to impart natural flavor when grilling," says Barry. The Tuscan Grill is available in two sizes: Originale (18.5" w x 16" d) to fit traditional indoor and outdoor fireplaces and Grande (25" w x 18.5" d) for indoor hearth cooking or outdoor fire pit cooking. The Grande size was custom-designed by Alisa Barry and is a popular size for those who enjoy entertaining. The grill is easy to clean with adjustable height settings, allowing food to cook at high, medium or low temperatures. The wooden handles allow the grill to be adjusted without the use of oven mitts and features a steel drip pan to collect juices to create a beautiful sauce or serve au jus. Invest in a Tuscan Grill and enjoy the depth of flavor that only a woodfire grill can impact. Pair the grill with any of our savory salts for an easy and excellent meal. This week only, both sizes of the grill are on sale: Originale $99 and Grande $149. Give the perfect gift to your favorite grilling aficionado. Try these inspired grill recipes: Tuscan Lemon & Rosemary Chicken Under a Brick Sardinian Sausage Spiedini Grilled Apricot & Radicchio Mint Salad

  • Caesar Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing


    photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
    Caesar Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing
    This dressing is a bit of a twist on the traditional caesar dressing. We use Meyer Lemon Relish instead of fresh lemon juice to give the salad a more vibrant color, texture and flavor.
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic juice of half lemon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    3 Tablespoons Meyer Lemon Relish juice of 1/2 lemon 2 filets anchovies {salt pack is best} Freshly grated Parmesan cheese {use the good stuff, please}
    1 head of romaine lettuce, tender young leaves best
    Bring a small saucepan of water over high heat until it boils.Carefully lower in the eggs, trying not to crack the shell. Cook one egg for five minutes, and the other two eggs for nine minutes, removing the egg and placing it in cold water to stop the cooking.  Let cool.Cut the five minute egg in half. Remove the runny yolk into a mixing bowl large enough to toss the greens. Add the lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Rinse and remove any bones of the anchovies and chop the filets into a fine mince.  Add the Meyer Lemon Relish, lemon juice,  anchovies and 2 Tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.  Whisk well to incorporate all the ingredients.   Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
    To assemble the caesar salad: 
    To prepare the salad, remove any big, tough outer leaves of lettuce and set aside for another use. Slice the remaining head of lettuce into four quarters. Remove the core and disgard.  Toss the lettuce with the dressing until well coated, but not drenched.
    Place the dressed lettuce onto a plate or platter.  Scatter a Tablespoon or two of grated Parmesan over the dressed salad greens.   Cut the eggs in half and arrange around the lettuce leaves.  Sprinkle the eggs with fresh cracked pepper. Serve with Parmesan crostini.
      To make crostini: Preheat oven 350 degrees. Slice a baguette into ½ inch slices and place on a sheet pan.  Brush the baguette slices lightly with melted butter.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese onto each slice. Bake for 10 minutes  or until golden brown.
    buon appetito!
    Serves 4 - 6

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