Kale and I never used to get along. My first job was in a pizza parlor. Every morning we had to fill the salad display with ice and prepared salads. These displays were edged with large leaves of kale which we kept in a bucket with water when not on display. They smelled horrible. It wasn’t being kept in the water; they smelled horrible when they were freshly delivered. I often put the produce order away and they stunk right off the truck. I couldn’t imagine how people could eat the stuff. I knew they did, but it was smelly and the leaves were tuff and fibrous. It was even worse if you were hung over.
Twenty some years later a coworker offered me his salad that he wasn’t going to eat. Kale and I had met a few times at the store and farmer’s market but there had been no real introduction. This kale looked different and it didn’t seem to smell, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. But this coworker had pretty good taste and the salad had sesame and ginger in it. You can sell me just about anything if it’s been coated in sesame and ginger. It was love at first bite and kale and I have been spending a lot of quality time together since. It’s even managed to introduce me to some of its other leafy friends like sorrel, mustard, and beet. A gate opened and suddenly there was a whole new leafy world available!
This is my ode to that life changing salad.
Sesame Ginger Kale Salad
½ Tbsp. shredded fresh ginger
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 ½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
4-5 cups finely chopped kale
1 cup shredded carrot
½ cup diced red onion
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Combine the ginger, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and sesame oil in a closed container and shake to mix or in a small bowl and whisk together.
Add the kale, carrot, and onion to a salad bowl. Add the dressing and sesame seeds and toss the salad to combine all ingredients. Enjoy!
Last week was one long week. The roofers showed up Monday for the new roof, I started a new job, and allergy season hit like Mohammad Ali. By Friday night I was all in. Good news showed up in my inbox from Denison Farm though, strawberry season has started! They’re a few weeks early, but I’ll take it! The first strawberries of the season were enough to draw my itchy, watery, exhausted rear out the door and down to the farmer’s market. I had planned on getting at least a half flat, but since they only had about a flat left by the time I made it down there. There was a line behind me, so I settled for a couple of pints. There will be more strawberries to come.
The first strawberries call for something simple, I’ve waited all year to taste fresh strawberries, I want to taste the strawberry. So I settled for a classic, which is all I could handle through allergy fog anyway. I used raw almonds, if you use salted almonds I would leave the salt out.
Strawberry & Spinach Salad
2 handfuls spinach
7-8 strawberries, halved
7-8 almonds, rough chopped
Thin drizzle olive oil
Thin drizzle balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle coarse salt
Sprinkle course pepper
Layer each ingredient onto a plate, enjoy!
Raw broccoli isn’t high on my list of favorites. To be totally honest, it’s not on my list of favorites, it’s in the okay section. It’s just so…fibrous. It takes forever to chew and takes over the taste of everything else. So for this salad I do one of the following: defrost a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it, steam chopped fresh broccoli, or shred the broccoli. Shredded broccoli is my favorite but it takes the most work and clean up (drag out the mandolin, try not to maim myself using it, then clean the mandolin trying to get all the little bits of broccoli off of it). The picture is of defrosted and chopped broccoli.
This salad is supper yummy and filling. It has tons of crunch and the cranberries give it just the right amount of sweet. Poppy seed dressing (at least Annie’s brand) is pretty sweet as well. This is the only salad I use it with so far. The broccoli can take all that sweetness in stride and still be tasty broccoli. Continue reading →
I’ve been on an oatmeal kick lately. It could be that I discovered making it in the microwave. Three minutes and BAM! Done. It could also have something to do with the fact that I didn’t realize I had oatmeal and bought more, now I have lots of oatmeal.
This idea hit me while I was wondering what to do with the juice leftover from Not My Mom’s Fruit Salad. Why not replace the water with juice when I make my oatmeal?
Worked like a charm. I usually put more sugar than I like to admit in my oatmeal and I didn’t put any in when I used juice. The sweetness might have come from the dried pineapple as well. Topped with some lightly salted nuts it was totally yummy! Yep, salted nuts, they’ll help open the taste receptors in your mouth. They probably added to the seeming sweetness of this oatmeal.
I didn’t have a whole cup of juice, more like ¾, so I added water until I had a full cup. If you like cooked nuts, add them before cooking. I don’t, so I add them after. I used tropical juice, dried pineapple, and cashews, but I don’t see why any combination wouldn’t work. Continue reading →
As a kid you don’t really question the names of things, but as we grow older we may notice the inconsistencies of our language. Salad is one such inconsistency. As a child I never once pondered why a fruit dish heaped in whipped cream would be called salad and served with the main meal. Even as I learned to make whipped cream for said fruit dish, I never once questioned why it was called salad. It was what it was and I did not question it (I’m sure there is some existential story in here if I really dug for it). Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t eat many salads made from greens, they were too expensive. But at some point I asked, why do we call this salad?
This question grew when I first started visiting buffets and was baffled to find mousse and whipped cream at the salad bar. Aren’t they supposed to be on the dessert bar? Why do we call it chicken salad? Why do we call it egg salad? While you can argue the token celery and green onion in chicken salad, there were no vegetables in our egg salad.
The fruit salad my mom made was a monument to the 60s and 70s. The ingredients were easy: canned fruit salad (canned grapes are really, really sad), an apple, a banana, and as many maraschino cherries as you thought you could afford to include dressed with whipped cream. As whipped topping came down in price the whipped cream was replaced with whipped topping. Fruit salad was served at holiday dinners as part of the meal, not to be confused with the pie that we would have for dessert. By the next day it was a sad dish as the cream would have started to separate, the bananas turn brown and mushy, and you could see the poor canned grapes. All the maraschino cherries would have been dug out by then of course.
So this is not my mom’s fruit salad. I’m sure her original recipe would have called for coconut; however, since she did not like coconut ours never had it. Tropical fruit would have cost way too much when I was growing up and nobody but health nuts eat yogurt. This salad will last a couple days in the fridge without separating looking sad. I kept the maraschino cherries though, but you might want to wear gloves when you cut them in half. They can stain your nails. Continue reading →
Have you had those days in the kitchen? I had one of those days in the kitchen. I had exactly what I was going to make all planned out. I cut up all the costarring ingredients only to find out my star ingredient had gone bad. Guess it’s been a few days longer than I thought.
So then I decided to make this dressing. Curry is one of my favorite flavors and it’s something I always have in the house, only, I couldn’t find it. I took most of the stuff off my seasoning shelf and no curry. Seriously? I was tired, I was grumpy, my food wasn’t turning out right after lots of work and cleaning out the fridge to see what was actually still edible. There HAD to be curry. Of course there was, I just had to get a stool and nearly empty the cupboard before I could find it. Success! And tasty success it is!
Warning! This is a fiery dressing. Know how kitchen advice from professionals always tell you to wear gloves to cut up hot peppers? Ya, I never do that. It’s never been a problem, still isn’t. The advice that you should wash your hands immediately after handling them? That one I usually follow. Usually. Apparently not today. This information over at Livestrong is good stuff and what I ended up doing after touching the really sensitive skin around my eye (but thankfully not my eye!). Make sure you use a good quantity of soap and the aloe really does help. Somedays being in the kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart. Continue reading →
Sometimes being lazy pays off. Not the kind of lazy where you find yourself at the end of your weekend having not showered for days and the whole time spent watching movies or playing video games kind of lazy. Although, that kind of lazy is certainly okay and needed on occasion. I’m talking about the kind of lazy that says, “That sounds like a great recipe but too much work so I’ll make some shortcuts.” The second kind of lazy is what I choose today.
I was looking for a St. Patrick’s Day kind of recipe. Parsnips were a common food until the potato was introduced and remained popular until the 1900s. I also had a shload of parsnips in my fridge. I had bought several pounds from a farmer. Luckily parsnips last pretty much forever in the fridge and become sweeter with time. I found a recipe that sounded yummy but I was far too lazy to spend all that time sautéing the veg until it was tender. Since I was roasting I might as well add lots of garlic to the soup. And then I found out that the only onion I had was a red onion. I wasn’t sure what red onion would do to the color of the soup and didn’t want to find out but I remembered that I had a leek in the fridge. What could go better with parsnip and garlic than leek!
The result was a rich and creamy, yet low calorie soup. If you use a low or nonfat stock the only fat is the oil you roast in and you really don’t need that much. The soup is filling as well with a good dose of fiber.
The soup went together relatively fast. Once the veg is cut up you can throw it in the oven, set the timer and go do something else. Once the roasting is done you basically just have to blend. Pureed soup always seems so fancy to me but it was pretty darn easy.
The flavors blended well, adding their notes to the chorus without overwhelming the parsnip flavor. I’m a bit of a garlic head so I will probably add more next time. If you are not a garlic head, this had just the right amount. I used homemade low fat stock that was full of flavor, if you use store bought stock you will want to consider adding a pinch of this or that to the stock as it heats. Continue reading →
Traditionally family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, um…yep, those two I guess) we have celery stuffed with jar cheese. There are two kinds that we usually use, the white cheese stuff with pineapple and the yellow cheese stuff with pimento. For quite some time I’ve questioned what exactly this stuff is made of, not that I really want to know. I just have the uneasy feeling that it wasn’t really cheese and if it wasn’t really cheese what could it possibly be? I will say the empty jars make great glasses for kids. We always had a collection of “cheese glasses” that were used for kids or drinks in small quantities. They’re hard to break and, at least use to be, decorative.
My brother even branched out a couple times and bought packaged cheese balls when he was requested to pick up the cheese for the celery. It doesn’t really work very well, doesn’t spread like it should for this job, and again, I’m not really sure it’s cheese or mostly cheese.
This last Christmas was the first without Mom. All kinds of things were up in the air, different people cooked the feast, it was even more potluck than it usually is, so I thought I would break the jar cheese tradition.
This recipe contains real cheese, well, cream cheese. The point being, I know what’s in it. It might not be good for me from a nutritional stand point, but at least I can pronounce it. It has a much more complex flavor than the jar cheese. That’s okay; our tastes have changed a bit from the bland 70s. And while it will last for a while in the fridge, it won’t last forever on the shelf.
The Boursin style spread is not only good for stuffing celery, but as a dip, or even a really tasty sandwich spread. Continue reading →
I love store bought drinks that come in glass bottles. Coffees, teas, juices, their bottles all get reused at my house, usually for dressing, smoothies, or water. Since they’re glass they’re dishwasher safe (always a must for me). I like em because if something happens to them I get to splurge by picking up another full one. If they get to used looking, I just recycle them. Continue reading →
Deep fried what? When I found these once before, that was what everybody asked. A local store had them in their display of dried foods from a local vendor. They were okay, a bit hard but tasty and a refreshing change.
I had a chance to visit The Oregon Zoo last week and so made a detour to one of my favorite stores, Uwajimaya. I hadn’t been there in years and my friend was up for the further adventure. Continue reading →