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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 | Author:

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Whole Foods Market to our farm for an amazing lunch prepared by Chef Hayden Smissen. Luckily, Chef Hayden has generously shared some recipes from that lovely fall afternoon. The following kale salad has become one of my favorites and the vegetable and bean spreads are finger licking good. I highly suggest giving these a try!


Lacinato Kale Salad with Pickled Baby Fennel

Serves 4


Ingredients For Pickled Baby Fennel (prepare 24 hrs ahead)

4 heads Willie Green’s baby fennel; trimmed (leaving a little green on the stem) and then quartered

1 small beet peeled and quartered

2 cups cider vinegar

2 cups water

3 TB. salt



Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Add the beet and fennel. Immediately remove from the heat and allow standing for 1 hr. Transfer fennel, beets and liquid to glass container and refrigerate overnight. Strain fennel from beets and liquid before adding to salad. Reserve pickling liquid for salad dressing.


Ingredients For Kale Salad;

1 recipe pickled baby fennel (above)

1 bunch Willie Green’s lacinato kale

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

½ cup Asiago cheese, shaved

1 tsp. red chile flakes

2 TB. olive oil

The juice of 2 lemons (Meyer lemons if they are in season)

Smoked Sea Salt (Alder is best) to taste



Cut the kale across the leaves in ½ inch ribbons until you reach the thicker tough end of the stem. Discard tougher portion. Toss sliced kale with olive oil and lemon juice until it is evenly coated. Add toasted pine nuts, asiago, chile flakes, and pickled baby fennel. Toss well. Add some of the pickling liquid from the baby fennel if you wish for a tangier dressing. Finish with smoked salt. Serve immediately.



Fresh Cannellini Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Spread

Serves 4 – 6



1 LB. Willie Green’s fresh cannellini beans

½  head white cauliflower, chopped with stem into 2 inch pieces

1 TB. garlic, minced

3 shallots, minced

½ cup capers, strained

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne

1 TB. fresh oregano (leaves only) or 1 tsp. dried oregano

2 cups olive oil

1 cup lemon juice

Sea salt to taste (you will need more for fresh beans than for canned)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium pot, cover fresh beans with 6 inches of unsalted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer fresh beans until very soft (time will depend on dryness of the beans). While the beans are simmering, heat an oven safe cask iron skillet to maximum heat without adding oil. Dry sear cauliflower pieces while agitating pan constantly. When the cauliflower has softened and browned (about 3 minutes), place skillet into preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove skillet and allow to cool. Once the cauliflower has cooled, place into a food processor with garlic, shallots, capers, cumin, cayenne and oregano. Pulse until finely minced.


Once the beans have finished cooking, strain any excess water and allow them to cool.  Add them to the  cauliflower mixture in the food processor and puree on low while slowly adding the olive oil and then lemon juice. Season with salt to taste. If the spread is too thick, adjust by adding small amounts of water until you reach your desired consistency.


Enjoy as a vegetable dip or cracker/bread spread. Make ahead and store in refrigerator until ½ hour prior to serving.


Carrot, Roasted Garlic, and Caramelized Onion Spread

Serves 4 – 6



1LB. Willie Green’s baby carrots

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small white onion, sliced julienne

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1 ½ cups olive oil, separated



Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Boil carrots in unsalted water for 25 minutes or until soft. Coat garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in preheated oven on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes or until garlic is completely soft and brown.  Sauté onions over medium high heat in a skillet with 1 TB of olive oil until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Chill cooked carrots, garlic, and onions completely. It is important that they are very cold before you puree them to ensure proper consistency. Puree carrots, garlic and onion in a food processor on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until completely smooth. Slowly drizzle olive oil into food processor as it blends. Season with sea salt to taste.


Enjoy as a vegetable dip or cracker/bread spread. Make ahead and store in refrigerator until ½ hour prior to serving.


Thank you Chef Hayden! You can learn more from him at Whole Foods Market Westlake where he reguarly teaches classes:

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