like the good modern family that i'm from, christmas often involves latkes. it really makes perfect sense when hanukkah overlaps with christmas and when you have a chrismukkah bush in your living room.
we listen to sufjan christmas, we make latkes, we leave out rugelach or something of the sort for santa and his reindeers...
but this year, since hanukkah is long gone (and since there's just no way you are going to get another latke inside of me until late 2014), there's been a big fat question mark over what i will cook for christmas. eggmama asked me what i wanted to bring for the eggfamily christmas and my mind went completely blank.
what is a christmas dinner?
is it lamb? is it goat? is it a ham?
all of the christmas dinner scenes from all of my favorite christmas stories flashed before me and i searched high and low for ideas. fruit cake? figgy pudding? marzipan things? a bird? a root vegetable gratin? i think i said something about hummus.
and then it hit me like a structure of reindeer antlers to the face: chinese food for a merry jewish christmas! duh.
(i mean, i guess we kind of do that with our annual dumplings of the world festival, but that's not happening until january this year.)
around the same time as my epiphany, i had a violent craving for scallion pancakes. but ohmygosh i feel like such a blobbbbb because of all the christmas cookies that i've been eating! so instead i made scallion pancake croutons and then tossed a salad about it. festive, right?!
kale & sesame salad with scallion pancake croutons
makes 2-4 servings
for the croutons:
1 c flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c boiling water
1/4 c cold water
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 stalks scallions, minced
a few grinds of black pepper
a few pinches of red chili flakes
a few tb of canola or vegetable oil, for pan-frying
for the salad:
1 bunch kale, cut very thinly (i like it raw, but you are welcome to sauté it...or massage it...)
salt + pepper, to taste
2 stalks scallions, minced
2 radishes, chopped
2 slices of bacon (i use turkey bacon), cooked and chopped
1 tb toasted sesame seeds
a few tablespoons of this sesame sauce (i always have some on hand in the fridge, but if you're just making it for this salad, you can make a half recipe.)
to make the croutons:
in a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. mix in the boiling water to form a crumbly/mealy mixture. add remaining 1/2 cup of flour and cold water to form a dough. on a floured surface, knead until smooth. transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let sit for 20 minutes.
preheat oven to 375.
on a floured surface, roll out dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. brush with sesame oil, and sprinkle evenly with scallions, chili flakes, and black pepper. roll it up like a jelly roll, and then roll the jelly roll into a spiral shape, tucking the ends under, so you have a circle. flatten out the circle until it is 1/2 inch thick.
heat a pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with canola or vegetable oil. brown the pancake on each side. once it's cooked through, remove it from heat, and then cut it into about 3/4-inch pieces. (because of the layers in the dough, they won't hold in perfect cube shapes, but that's ok!) toast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crispy.
let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
to make the salad:
place kale in a bowl and season it lightly with salt and pepper.
add remaining ingredients and then dress to taste.