Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

In his book, Thanksgiving, Sam Sifton makes the case that salads have no business being a part of the Thanksgiving spread.

“A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hit of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.” {Sam Sifton, via Cup of Jo}

Well folks, it’s tomorrow.

I hope that each and every one of you had the happiest of Thanksgivings full of family, football, and most importantly, lots of good food. Am I right or am I right that you kind of never want to look at food again?

I’m also wagering that you have lots of leftovers hanging out in your fridge.

I’ve been making this little salad at least once a week all fall, and I’ve been dying to share it with y’all. It dawned on me a couple days ago that many of these veggies were probably on your thanksgiving tables, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for those leftovers. They’re about to be a truly great salad.

In the directions, I walk you through roasting the veggies, but really you can throw your already cooked leftovers in there and it will be a winner. It’s completely adaptable, so go wild!

Roasted sweet potatoes or yams with candied pecans? Add it.

The always present brussels that the kids wouldn’t touch? Add them.

Cranberry sauce? Why not?

How are you using up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry they are

{This genius recipe is from the lovely lady behind Naturally Ella, Erin. Very, very rarely do I follow recipes exactly. There are usually things I add or take away in order to improve or adapt the recipe to our tastes. I didn’t have to do any of that for this ingredient list. It’s pretty much perfection. I do have a few procedural short cuts to add though, so I thought I’d share it.}

1 loaf of Erin’s cornbread

To Roast
1 small sweet potato, cubed
about 15 brussels sprouts, quartered

To Toss
about 2 cups of spinach, {this is your salad base so adjust accordingly for how much you think you’ll eat}
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

The Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sweet whole grain mustard {we use Handelmeier}

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.

Whip up a loaf of Erin’s cornbread and pop it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. {To keep dirty bowls to a minimum, I always combine my wet ingredients in a mixing bowl first and then place a sieve over the bowl and measure my dry ingredients into it.}

While the cornbread is cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Leaving the skin on, because there are tons of nutrients in that stuff, chop your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off the base and quarter the brussels. Put them in your roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a toss and put them in the oven to roast for around 45 minutes.

about 15 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, chop your cornbread into little squares, toss with olive oil and rosemary and add them to the roasting pan to toast them up.

While those finish, put your spinach in a large mixing bowl and crumble the cheese over it. Also go ahead and shake up your dressing. {I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake. Super easy and beats the heck out of the store bought stuff in terms of flavor.}

When the veggies and croutons come out of the oven, transfer them to the big bowl and pour the dressing over the whole thing. Give it a toss and serve.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

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Peach and Rosemary Polenta Cake with Honey Buttercream

One of the wonderful things about the expat community is how incredibly welcoming it is to newcomers. It’s easy to make friends in that kind of environment, especially for us wallflowers, but the community is also tends to be fluid. Most folks, at least here in Munich, tend to be on fixed term contracts and will be leaving after a year or two. So as wonderful as it is making friends from all over the world, you know that eventually they will be moving on to new places or going back to old familiar ones. It’s lovely having friends all over the world, but it’s also a bit lonely when all of your friends have left while you’ve stayed behind.

But then… they come back!

It seems like our house has been {and will continue to be for a few more months at least} a revolving door. Friends and family have made our sofa bed their home and lots of great visiting has been happening over a couple beers and a table full of food. These awesome people have also unwittingly been guinea pigs for lots of new recipes so for that, thank you.

Today one of my friends from my au pair year is arriving and, since food is my love language, naturally I made cake. So here’s to catching up, trips down memory lane, great conversations, trips to the Wies’n, and tons of great food.

Peach and Rosemary Polenta Cake with Honey Brown Butter{cream} from Kiwi+Peach

Peach and Rosemary Polenta Cake

{inspired by Adventures in Cooking}
The whole recipe is reduced to make a two layer cake instead of three only because I don’t have three pans. Aside from adding the peaches, I replaced the sugar in the cake with honey so some amounts of other ingredients also had to change to compensate for the differences. 

The Dry
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour {I used spelt.}
1/3 cup uncooked polenta {or cornmeal. It’s the same thing. I can’t get cornmeal here, so I went with polenta}
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda

The Wet
3 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp apple juice {I used unfiltered.}
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cloves, crushed and ground

To Fold
2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 small peaches, cubed

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium sized mixing bowl and then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and honey. Then add the olive oil, apple juice, vanilla, and spices and stir until it’s combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients in batches and mix until it’s just combined. Don’t want to over mix it! Gently fold in the peaches and the chopped rosemary.

Pour the batter up into two 6 inch cake pans and bake for 30 minutes.

When they’re finished transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before icing.

Peach and Rosemary Polenta Cake with Honey Buttercream from Kiwi+Peach

Honey Buttercream

{from Adventures in Cooking}

1 stick {140g} butter
1 cup powdered sugar {icing sugar for the Kiwis}
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp cream {or in my case, soy cream}, optional but recommended

First step is to brown the butter. The short version is melt the butter over medium heat then let it keep cooking until it goes from light yellow to a rich tan color, little black bits start to form, and it starts to smell like nutty toffee. {Eva over at Adventures in Cooking explains this process beautifully, so if you’re unsure head over there and read up.} When you get to that point, set it off the heat to cool for a bit then pour it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap. Pop the bowl in the fridge until the butter is cooled and firmed enough to use for the buttercream.

When you poke it the butter should feel soft but your finger shouldn’t sink in. Let’s make some buttercream!

Sift your powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add them to the bowl along with the honey. Beat them all together until you like the consistency. If it’s a bit thick, add some cream to smooth it out.

Peach and Rosemary Polenta Cake with Honey Brown Butter{cream} from Kiwi+Peach