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A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Monday, August 5, 2013

GCC:Kale Salad with Brussels Sprout Leaves and Lemon Vinaigrette

We are excited to be hosting our Gutsy Cooks this month with our Top Chef recipe theme. 

We didn't have a ton of time to determine our theme so we kind of just thought of what was inspiring our cooking currently. With a new season of Top Chef starting we are definitely intrigued by their challenges, techniques and often even unusual ingredients. We are huge Top Chef fans so it just kind of seemed like a good theme to go with = Top Chef  recipes.

This week we went with a recipe; Kale Salad with Brussels Sprout Leaves & Lemon Leaves, from Season 10 which happened in Seattle (another "of course" choice.) It is a recipe from Brooke Williamson, who is only the 2nd female Top Chef ever chosen. We both actually think that's pretty cool.

There are a few reasons this recipe appealed to us. 1) It's summer = light recipes just sound good. 2) It has Kale and Brussels Sprouts = 2 Super foods we have great affinity toward. 3) It's rare a Top Chef makes a salad for the judges = it's even more rare that the judges feel a salad is Top Chef  "Worthy." But this salad met the mark with the judges. They were quite impressed. 

We immediately made a few tweaks to the recipe but subtle ones. The first was with the beets. Our local market had these beautiful golden beets that just said, "choose me." So we went with golden beets as opposed to the typical red beets. 

We also decided adding some bacon would really complete the flavors. ( WE REALLY THINK THIS TWEAK MADE THE SALAD FOR OUR PALATES.) 

The recipe calls for anchovy fillets. Funny, 12 years ago I would have never used anchovies in ANYTHING. 5 years ago I would have only went with Anchovy paste to make a Cesar salad maybe. But today fillets of anchovies are just fine.

These little fishy things really do bring a unique flavor to a dish like this. 

But the thing that really made this salad (in addition to the bacon) was the beet vinaigrette. Wow, this was good. 

We actually added a bit less olive oil than the recipe called for which made the vinaigrette more like a puree. This was a fantastic omission. 

We also added,as mentioned before, some bacon bits. I don't know for some reason these flavors were just screaming to us, "add bacon." And we were quite happy we followed our gut on this one. Because let me tell you with the bacon addition this salad was not only delicious it was also a main dish. 

This salad was a hit. Obviously, not an everyday side salad that we typically make when we do make salad but rather a meal in itself.

We hope all of our Gutsy Cooks will join us this month as we try to do some Top Chef replication. Even non- Gutsy Cooks can jump on over to Monica's Sweetbites Blog and check out the recipes and cook with us. 


Kale Salad with Brussels Sprout Leaves & Lemon Vinaigrette

Season 10

We were excited to hear that Top Chef would be filmed in Seattle for season 10. We ended up being
somewhat disappointed to see so few Seattle food spots highlighted in the season and that the last 4 episodes were actually on a cruise and in Alaska. We felt a bit short handed. Few women have won Top Chef so it was exciting when Brooke Williamson won the season. This is her recipe for a great, bright salad that the judges raved about.

Brooke Williamson Top Chef, Season 10, Episode 1

For the salad:
One head curly kale, torn and de-stemmed
8 anchovy filets, julienned
Separated outer leaves from 6 large Brussels sprouts

For the lemon vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons whole grain mustard
One shallot finely diced
1 tablespoons honey
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 filets of white anchovies, finely chopped
For the beet vinaigrette:
One small shallot, diced
One clove garlic
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegarSalt to taste
One medium red beet, cooked, peeled and diced3 tablespoons olive oil

To make the salad:
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl

To make the lemon vinaigrette:
Whisk all ingredients together until well combined

To make the beet vinaigrette:
Place all ingredients in blender except for the oil. Puree until smooth and slowly drizzle the oil into the blender.

Place the beet vinaigrette on bottom of plate. Toss greens with lemon vinaigrette and place a mound of salad on top of the beet vinaigrette. Garnish with kale chips if desired. 


  1. Ohh man, that looks good.. and I'm NOT A FAN of kale, beets or brussels sprouts... you choose the only ingredients that I just cannot get past!!!! So I took a pass.. but I may teak it, because the vinaigrette is sounding pretty awesome and bacon, HELLO no brainer!

    This week my office is prepping for a HUGE move to our new shinny new space/building and I been coming home way to late to do anything but fix a bowl of cereal.. but, I will catch up!

    Love the pictures!

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