I’m a little later getting this post up than I’d hoped. This is mainly because I was in a foul mood when I returned to Seattle from my trip to Portugal, Brussels and Paris.
Monday was especially rough. I woke to a gunmetal sky and crushing rain. The idea of returning to the daily mundanities of doing dishes, answering email and paying bills left me huddled beneath the covers, imagining myself back to the limestone streets of Lisbon. Eventually, I managed to roll out of bed, dress and get on with the business of day-to-day life.
Somewhere in the middle of this stormy week, a small shift took hold. I unpacked my suitcases and fell into the familiar rhythms of cooking breakfast, doing laundry, watering plants. I snuggled my cat and brewed pots of tea. I settled into being Home.
When I was finally ready to sit down and write this post, it occurred to me that those little rituals of home are what cured me of my post-travel blues. And none more so than the pleasure of being back in my own kitchen, cooking for loved ones.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And while I’m not a huge fan of all the holiday pomp, I am ever in favor of cooking for those you love. I made this salad for Beau and I this week and realized that it would be right at home on the holiday table. Any leftover salad is wonderful with pieces of roast chicken (or turkey) tossed in. And I have a hunch that a few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce would play right along with the sweet squash and toasty pine nuts.
I’m finally feeling happy to be home. I’m looking forward to the traditions that make the holidays bright. And, more than ever, I’m appreciating the little rituals that connect our days. For me, one of those rituals is sharing my travels and photos and recipes with you. So thank you for being here, part of the home it feels so good to return to!
Swiss Chard and Winter Squash Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 2 lbs. delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting the squash
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 small shallot, minced (should yield 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly torn if large
- 3 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly torn if large
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
* Notes: I like the way the delicata looks in this salad and the fact that you don’t have to peel it , but any winter squash will work here. If you’re using a different squash, I recommend cutting it into 3/4 cubes (for a squash like butternut) or 1/2 inch slices (for a squash like acorn). Cook time will vary depending on the squash and how thickly you’ve cut it, but should range from 20-35 minutes.
- For this salad, I look for Swiss chard with white stems. The ones with red and orange stems have a mineral beet flavor that I don't like as well in this recipe.
- I use lacinato kale in raw salads because I think it's the most tender.
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet pan and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, turning squash after 10 minutes, until light golden-brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes total. When the squash is done roasting, set it aside to cool.
While the squash is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, combine the shallot, red wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, a generous pinch of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. If you have time, let this sit for 10-15 minutes to mellow the shallot. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
To assemble, place the Swiss chard and kale in a large bowl. Add the mint, parsley, 2/3 of the cooled squash and half the pine nuts to the bowl with the greens. Lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Taste and add a bit more dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on a serving platter and top with the rest of the squash and pine nuts. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.