Suzi's Blog

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Peaches and Pine Nuts


Kale is in. Quinoa stays in. Everyone loves peaches. And no one can turn down a pine nut — unless of course you are stuck with an allergy. In which case, just omit!

Kale, by the way, was also in about 800 years ago. Popular food in the dark ages, then the Middle Ages came and kale — for unknown reasons — just fell out of favor. Fortunately, it was still cultivated, new species have been created and now there is a kale boom. I do like kale chips but the best way to enjoy kale is just this way in a lovely salad with complementary flavors.

Honestly, this is a combination I would have had a bit of trouble imagining. But thanks to Linda Aldredge and Food and Wine Magazine, here’s an exciting different and thoroughly refreshing recipe. And it tastes just as good as it looks in that beautiful picture.

Here at Cooking by the Book, we made a few touches to the recipe, going for every bit of gusto. This was served last night to our monthly group of celiac patients and families. Working with the Columbia-Presbyterian Center for Celiac Disease, we have monthly events with a mission: just because you have celiac disease does not mean you have to lose a beat when it comes to food.

Last night’s menu was this salad, a spicy cod entry and flourless chocolate cake. Celiac or not, you’d love this meal. And, as a starter, this salad is a perfect preview for the evening. It’s a visual barrage as you look at the interesting kale, the nuts, the quinoa and the glistening reflections created by the dressing. It’s a trumpeting announcement that food is served.

The combination of ingredients here gives you an experience you will not have had. The peach is a lovely sweet touch, something you quickly notice with your eyes and immediately stab at with your fork. All to good reward.

This is an excellent summer salad, one that you can use with peaches, nectarines, plums or any other fruit of your choice. Berries? Why not?


Quinoa and Kale Salad with Peaches and Pine Nuts

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6


Quinoa Salad:
  • 1 pound Tuscan kale stems discarded and leaves cut into ½-inch ribbons
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
  • ¾ cup toasted Quinoa
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup ripe peach slices about one medium peach (tossed with honey and lemon juice to taste depending on the ripeness of the peach)
  • 1 cup roasted sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup chiffonade mint leaves for garnish

In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the quinoa until al dente, following the package directions. Drain well and spread on a baking sheet to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

In a large bowl make the dressing: whisk mustard with the lemon juice and olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the kale, toss well and let stand until barely wilted, 15 minutes massaging well. Toss gently the quinoa, pine nuts, roasted carrots, peaches and red bell pepper to the Kale. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint if desired and serve.


Source: Adapted by Cooking by the Book from Food and Wine Magazine, August 2013

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑1000


Pavolva with Peaches and Blueberries






Anna Pavlova was a famed Russian ballerina who was loved, if not worshipped, around the world. In 1926, in Wellington, New Zealand, she was performing and a hotel chef was creating. The chef wanted to honor Anna with something light, something ethereal. He succeeded.

There are many, many pavlova recipes. Essentially, a large meringue shell with high sides is baked, then filled with something rich and light[custard, whipped cream, …] and finally adorned with fresh fruit. Or chocolate, of course.

In their delectable book Meringue, authors Linda K. Jackson and Jennifer Evan Gardner have a whole chapter devoted to pavlovas:

  • Chocolate Angle
  • Raspberry
  • Chocolate Flecked with Chocolate Mascarpone and Strawberries
  • Brown Sugar Plum
  • Balsamic Strawberries
  • Banana Cream
  • Cherries Jubilee
  • Lemon with Lemon Curd and Blueberries
  • Kiwi with Lime Zest
  • Classic Berry

And what did Suzen do? Her own thing, of course. And I had not a complaint. This is the perfect dessert to answer the question: “What do I do with …”

We had peaches and blueberries in full summer abundance awaiting their fate. This no better ending for a perfectly ripe peach than meringue and whipped cream. Suzen followed the recipe for Classic Berry Pavlova but substituted the fruit du jour.

You make this on a day when the humidity is low and the fruit is fresh. It won’t endure a night in the fridge, so make it just before consuming. Leftovers? No, not a chance. Soggy, sad, soggy. But why on earth would you have any leftovers?

If you want the elegance of a Russian ballerina, then your first slice of pavlova should be accompanied by a cold sample of fine dessert wine. Don’t skimp with the pavlovas!


Classic Fruit Pavlova

Yield: serves 8


For the meringue shell:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the whipped cream filling:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the fruit topping:

  • 4 cups of fresh berries, or
  • 4 cups mixed of peach slices and blueberries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar [optional]


Begin with the meringue shell which will take a few hours from start to finish. Work that time into you meal planning.

Preheat your oven to 350⁰F.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add vinegar and salt and beat on medium-high until soft peaks forms. Add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating until all of the sugar is incorporated. Continue beating  on high until the meringue is stiff glossy peaks. Beat in the cornstarch, about 1 minute more.

Like a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pip or spoon the meringue into a 1-inch circle, making the sides higher than the center. Bake for  5 minutes then lower the temperature to 250⁰ and continue to bake for 1 hour more. Turn the heat off the oven but leave the meringue shell in the oven for 3 hours or more [even overnight] to that it contuse to dry. When completely cool, loosen the meringue by gently peeling it of the parchment or by sliding an offset spatula underneath the shell.

Whip the cream sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until stiff.

Rinse the fruit and dry. Toss with sugar if you desire.

To assemble the pavlova, gently transfer the meringue shell to your serving plate. Sped whipped filling in your shell just up to the higher border. Top with the fruit in the design of your choice. The classic is a spiral. You can simply pile the fruit on for a less formal appearance.

Serve immediately.

Source: Meringue by Linda K. Jackson and Jennifer Evan Gardner

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/100th second, ISO 200 and F/5, 1/50th second, ISO 3200 respectively