Salad

No More Hating Kale Salad

Kale.How do foods suddenly come into fashion when they taste so bad? It was sometime in 2011 when I starting noticing kale.  The superfood of the century had made it’s arrival and we were supposed to like it. Well, I didn’t. I tried to, believe me I did.  But raw kale tastes like tough, bitter, leather to me.  Hubby likes it baked into chips which I will do on occasion even though I am not a huge fan.  Olive oil, salt, bake it until it’s crispy and looks dead...it IS actually pretty good.  But I feel like it is kind of cheating on the superfood scale.  Is it actually a green vegetable when you cook it until it turns brown? I kind of threw in the towel on liking kale.

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Firstborn daughter didn't give up so easily.  She lives in restaurant mecca New York City so she was seeing the kale revolution (Kalution?) in full force.  She grew up in a healthy household and we always ate freshly prepared foods so she had her work cut out for her to live a healthy lifestyle when she literally lived above a bar.  No Joke, her downstairs neighbor was  Wicked Willy's.

But health was on her mind and so she started eating kale salads. She was warming up to it, but not quite there, when she joined the family in North Carolina for Baby Girl’s birthday last February.  We went to a tapas bar and much to my surprise, Firstborn Daughter ordered kale salad.  (Yes.  You can even get kale in a tapas bar in the South.)  She said “I don’t really like kale but I feel like I need to add some health to our meal.” Low and behold, it was good! She got enough information out of the waitress to take home the idea and try it. Good olive oil (1/4 cup) lemon juice (1/2 medium lemon) salt (1/2 tsp) Toss kale with a heavy dose of dressing and leave to sit.  Leave it to sit was the key ingredient.

Restaurant in Durham, North Carolina
Restaurant in Durham, North Carolina

The next week she tried her experiment on the roommates.  She is a lover of avocado, not easy to afford in New York but occasionally worth it, so it was her go-to ingredient to make something tasty out of kale.  She prepared Anne's Glazed Chicken, set it on her kale salad with some tomatoes for color and she felt healthy just looking at it.  Good news is that it also tasted great.

It was good...but I still wasn't a kale convert.  I needed more.  The amazing MaryAnne stepped in again (see MaryAnne's Girlfriend Party Salmon) and brought kale salad to dinner one night.  Her salad was really tasty and not just kale tasty.  The real kicker was that I put the leftover salad in the refrigerator because kale is so sturdy it doesn't easily wilt so you can eat it as leftovers.  But I forgot it was there the next day and when I took it out a couple days later it was delicious!  Really delicious!!  A salad that is good, has major health benefits, and lasts for days... now that is worth writing about.

Kale, ribs removed.
Kale, ribs removed.
Massaging the kale.
Massaging the kale.

"Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food." - Hippocrates

*****

No More Hating Kale Salad

1-2 bunches fresh kale, stems and ribs removed, chopped or torn into pieces1/3 cup pomegranate seeds1/3 cup marcona almonds1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

For Dressing:5 T creme fraiche (can substitute sour cream if necessary)4 T olive oil2 tsp honey or agave nectar2 T chopped shallot4 T apple cider vinegar1 tsp salt1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Put kale into a large bowl.  Mix together dressing ingredients and pour a generous amount over kale.  Using your hands, literally massage the dressing into the kale, adding more dressing until all the kale is covered with dressing.  Leave for at least one hour.Toss kale with pomegranate, almonds and cheese.  Add more dressing if necessary to make the salad very moist.

*****

Credit:  MaryAnne said the dressing (or close to it) is from The Sprouted Kitchen.

Sue's Watermelon Salad

“Twelve lucky women with only one thing on their minds (to enjoy themselves!) will gather at a beautiful hacienda to ‘Step Out’ of their ordinary lives for an evening.  The hostesses will see to it that the margaritas keep flowing, the dinner is delectable, and the Tarot card reader has his deck stacked.  A tattoo artist will be on hand to put ‘em anywhere you want ‘em, and the colorist will dye your hair to match.  The tattoos and hair color are temporary, but the memories are indelible.  Guys, don’t wait up.”

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It was 1998 and that was the description of the first fundraising auction item I ever hosted. It was the brainchild of two amazing women, my co-hostesses and auction co-chairs; the gals that taught me how to run fundraisers.  Our school, meaning our children’s school, had never held a fundraiser and these two women decided it was time.  Wonderful friends, they brought me in to form the event-chair-trifecta that changed the world.  Okay, maybe not the world, but at least the little world of our preschool and elementary school which is still hosting the same fundraising event to this day.

I learned so much from my friends during the six months or more that we planned, met, schemed and struggled with how to get a community involved and participating in a new event to raise money for a school.  They taught me many things, but the thing I remembered most and used numerous times in the years to come was how to create an auction item out of nothing.  We looked at our audience, analyzed our best buyers, scrutinized what would sell and decided one thing for sure....our mom’s needed a night out.  There was no question that someone would see that description and put together a group to pay the big bucks that our school needed.  And they did.

We had the time of our lives.  My two friends and I donned our aprons, mixed the margaritas and whipped up a simple dinner for a group of wonderful, happy, thankful, loving women.  The guests sat by the pool, they talked, they laughed and they swam.  They drank, they ate, they dyed their hair and got tattoos and had their fortunes read.  I felt like I had won the auction by having them there.

Whenever I come across this recipe I smile.  I smile at the memory.  I smile because of the education I received from my two friends.  And I smile because this salad was so darn good that it matched the night perfectly.

Sue's Watermelon Salad
Sue's Watermelon Salad

"When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." - Wayne Dyer

*****

Sue’s Watermelon Salad

2 T sweetened shredded dried coconut8 cups peeled and cubed seedless watermelon (1 small watermelon)1/2 cup peeled and cubed jicama (1/2 medium jicama)2-1/2 cups peeled and cubed cucumber (1 large cucumber)1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

In a small pan over medium-low heat, stir coconut until lightly toasted.  Remove from heat and set aside. Mix together all other ingredients in a large bowl.Spoon salad onto plates and sprinkle coconut on top.

*****

Credit:  Sue originally got a similar version of this recipe from Sunset magazine.