Tag Archives: dressing

Kale Salad

i’m eating leftover kale as a snack RIGHT NOW.

I have a lot of flaws.  I’m impatient, competitive and sometimes I listen to the same song 4235 times in a row.  I quote Liz Lemon and wait to see if anyone notices, I yell at pedestrians for crossing where there’s no crosswalk and do EXACTLY the same thing myself, I cheat at cards and I would agree to watch a documentary only if I was also reading a book.  I am 28 years old and still make fart jokes, I eat mini marshmallows straight from the bag and I never listen to my voicemail.

But!  I also eat a shitload of kale, so I figure it all balances out.

Realistically, I eat this salad 2-3 times a week.  Because I LOVE it.  People I’ve made it for have scoffed, heartily, at this salad, because technically the kale is raw.  But they have all been turned by the power of kale salad.  Once, a 7 year old ate this salad voluntarily.  I dress this salad in one of three ways: sesame-soy dressing, lemon-parmesan dressing, or garlic-tahini dressing.  Any of the three will change your life.  Additionally, you get to enjoy the smug sense of superiority you can only get from eating something REALLY healthy.  Later, when you eat french fries while drinking a beer in a bar, you can say to everyone in shouting distance “IT’S FINE, I ATE A LOT OF RAW KALE EARLIER.”  Everyone will really appreciate it.

The main drawback to this salad is that it’s about 100% more labor intensive than I like cooking to be.  You have to wash the kale (it’s a sandy vegetable), rip out the bitter, overly cruciferous spines, rip up the leaves, massage the lot with salt, then rinse all the salt off, then wring it out, then dress it.  It’s like a 20 minute process.  But it’s worth it.  I had the best run of my life after having had coffee, 4 gallons of water and kale salad.  It’s magic.  (I also just realized this salad is vegan the only way food is acceptably vegan: accidentally.)  Because I haven’t written a blog post in 7 years, I’m going to give you all three dressing recipes.  You’re welcome.

Kale Salad

2 bunches of kale (I make two bunches for only myself.  If you’re making it for guests, probably go 3-4.)

2 tablespoons or so of kosher salt

Dressing of choice*

put on some usher or something while you’re washing, it’s gonna be awhile.

So basically, the salt cooks the kale a little.  It wilts the leaves, takes away the bitterness and shrinks it.  So!  You wash the kale leaves very well (sandy!), rip out the spines of the leaves, and rip up the leaves.  Put all the ripped up leaves in a big bowl.

When you’ve washed and ripped all the kale (approximately 2 months after starting the process), sprinkle about a couple teaspoons or so of kosher salt all over the kale.  Don’t be afraid of saltiness, because you’re going to rinse all the salt off later.  Massage the salt into the kale for 2 minutes.  If possible, draft someone else to do the massaging, because why not!

this picture is actually from when i was in denver a couple months ago and made kale salad for sue. she also now eats it multiple times a week.

After massaging, you can let the kale sit for awhile, kind of marinating in the salt, if you like your kale really wilted.  If not, rinse the salt off right after the massaging and the kale will be more crunchy and bouncy.  When you’re ready to rinse it off, put all the kale in a colander and rinse it very well.

too salty kale is tragic.

If you do a bad job, the kale will be too salty and everyone will cry.  So rinse it well.  Then, take it in handfuls and squeeze out all the excess water, putting the kale back into the big bowl.  Then dress it and try not to eat it all while you make the rest of dinner.

*Dressing options:

Soy-sesame – My favorite.  2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, black pepper.  If you have sweet Thai chili sauce, put a couple teaspoons of that in there too.

Lemon-parmesan – juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup or so fresh parmesan, salt and pepper.

Garlic-tahini – 1-2 cloves garlic, zested on a microplane, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons of tahini paste, salt and pepper.  In the interest of being honest, I will admit that I copied this recipe from a kale salad they have at Whole Foods in the pre-made salad section, which I eat when I am lazy.

– Cat

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Filed under Dressings, Salad, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Caesar Salad Dressing

i went traditional with romaine, but i'm not happy about it.

From the ages of 15-19, I subsisted on chicken Caesar salads, these weird calzone/sub sandwiches from Hungry Howie’s, whole Snickers bars (most of which Sue purchased for me) and cans of Coke, which, I drank in the morning.  I considered myself an authority on greater Detroit area chicken Caesar salads, and can tell you several things.

1. Romaine lettuce is pointless.  Why don’t they use spinach?

2. The best chicken Caesar salad in metro Detroit, and THE WORLD, can be found at Ya-Ya’s Chicken, and though a lot of them have closed, I know there’s one at 12 and Woodward in Royal Oak, Michigan.  (Sidenote: I just Googled locations and there are 4 Ya-Ya’s in Flint [?], and also some in Florida, apparently.  So there you go.)  The reason is the dressing, which is parmesan cheesey, and lemony and creamy and peppery and perfect, not too sharp, but full of flavor.

3. Real Caesar dressing has anchovy paste in it, best make your peace with that.  (I will also tell you that I had actual, whole, pickled anchovies recently while Sue and I were in Seattle and they were surprisingly GROSS.  As in- I thought they would be gross.  And then they were even grosser than that.)

My Caesar dressing is easy, fast AND can be assembled in a jar.  1 container for making AND for storing?!  Yes.  I’m always looking for reasons to validate  my extensive jar collection.

Caesar Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise, NOT Miracle Whip, though that pains me to say, because I love it

2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (depending on the size, you want about a tablespoon of minced garlic)

2 tbsp whole grain mustard

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp anchovy paste

juice of 2 lemons

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

copious amounts of freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything together in a jar.  Put it on lettuce.  That’s it.

here is another picture! sue's rule is 2 pictures or no post. she's 100% right, and i am an impatient cook.

– Cat

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Filed under Dressings, Salad, Vegetables

Apple and Pecan Stuffing

I grew up hating stuffing.  Stuffing was smooshy, mushy, soggy and disgusting, like a kleenex you find in the laundry.  It used to be you served the stuffing you cooked inside the turkey, but Alton Brown has taught me that isn’t safe, thank God, because actual stuffing, cooked outside the turkey, turns out to be delicious.  I’ve actually only made stuffing twice, but I’ve made savory bread puddings before, which is essentially what stuffing is.  In fact, when I lived in Los Angeles, Sue and I went to a very fancy restaurant in Santa Monica called the Lobster and had one of the most expensive dinners I’ve ever paid for myself.  We had a great number of fantastic things (including Sue introducing me to shots of limoncello after dinner, I’ve since made my own limoncello and now I keep some in my freezer in a mason jar – and I believe Sue had a 3 lb lobster), but I think my favorite thing was a savory bread pudding, lightly sweet, like it had cornbread in it, with some delicious melty cheese like Gruyere, and whole, fried, crispy sage leaves on top.  We talked about it for days.  Anyway, that bread pudding has been the inspiration (along with my mom’s traditional stuffing recipe) for all stuffings I’ve ever made, and will ever make.  The apples were my idea, because I had one apple leftover from the pie I made.  The pecans are my mom’s idea, they are delicious in stuffing.  She also puts mushrooms in hers instead of carrots, but Dom hates mushrooms so I left them out.  I’m working on him though, he’ll come around on mushrooms one of these days.

Apple and Pecan Stuffing

2 tsp bacon fat (I told you, I keep it in a jar in my fridge, and I suggest you do the same.)

1 big onion, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

2-3 big carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 green apple, peeled and chopped

a big loaf of white peasant bread (enough to fill a 9X13 baking pan), roughly chopped or torn into more or less bite sized pieces (Alright, my mother and I part ways on this.  She uses some hearty nut bread in her stuffing along with the white, and I’ve made it that way as well, and it is delicious, but the white peasant bread absorbs the liquid SO WELL, and it crisps up on top SO WELL, and so I didn’t put any wheat bread in this time.  Sorry Mom.)

1 quart chicken stock

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

salt and pepper

In a big sauce pan on medium heat, cook together the bacon fat, onion, carrot, garlic, celery and apple until softened and the onions are translucent.  While those things are cooking, tear up the bread and put it in the 9×13 baking pan I mentioned, or in a big bowl.  Sprinkle 3/4 tsp poultry seasoning and some salt and pepper on the veggies in the pan, and the other 3/4 tsp poultry seasoning and some more salt and pepper on the bread and mix it around.  When the veggies are soft, toss the bread and veggies and most of the cheese together, and mix well, everything should be evenly incorporated.  Then, pack it all into the 9×13 pan, pour the chicken stock over the whole lot and mash it around some more.  Finally, sprinkle the top with a little more cheese and the toasted pecans, and you’re ready to bake it.  I make this ahead of time, ALWAYS, because it’s the easiest thing in the world to make ahead of time.  When you’re ready to cook it, bake it on 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the top is nice and brown.  Serve it up with plenty of gravy from whatever bird you cooked.

this was nice, because i'm making prime rib for actual thanksgiving this year.

– Cat

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Filed under Recipes, Sides, Thanksgiving Sides