Tag Archives: salad

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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Asparagus and Radish Spring Salad

Here is a secret: raw asparagus is fantastic.  I think I like it better than cooked asparagus.  And while I do prefer my radishes smeared with butter and salt, I’m not opposed to them in other preparations.  Like in this salad, for instance.  The raw asparagus is pretty sweet, for a vegetable that makes your pee smell weird.  So the sharp, lightly bitter crunch of the radish is lovely with the tender, buttery asparagus.  The lemony mustard vinaigrette is clean and springy, the whole salad is beautiful and wonderful like violin playing unicorns who never eat fried food or use foul language.

Asparagus notes:  1. You can store asparagus for a few days after you buy it at room temperature, stuck in a glass or jar of water.  2.  To trim asparagus, snap the yucky, dry, tough end off, letting the asparagus spear choose where to break.  It will snap at the best point.

Asparagus and Radish Spring Salad

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced into teeny, tiny slices

1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed, sliced thinly

1 bag of arugula

1 cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese

juice of 2 lemons

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Method:  Mix together the vegetables in a large bowl, sprinkle with the cheese and toss.  Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the dressing over the salad.

so precious. just like baby bunnies eating Peeps shaped like baby bunnies.

– Cat

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Mediterranean Salad

This is more than a salad, it’s multiple layers of Mediterranean goodness. The salad consists of arugula, mixed greens, lamb, feta, and a tzatziki style dressing.  I serve this salad with scalloped sweet potatoes with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. This may seem a little odd to you, but these flavors pair together beautifully. There are many steps to this salad, but it’s not really a long process.

Lamb:

I recommend lamb loin chops, in my opinion these are the best for grilling. You want to avoid a cut that is too fatty, or any cut that is meant to be braised (such as shoulder) You will need about 1/2 lb per person.

Lamb marinade:

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ cup of greek yogurt (or plain if you don’t have access to greek yogurt)

1 sprig of fresh dill, chopped (or a pinch of dry)

¼ c olive oil

2 tsp cumin

Juice from ½ of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and marinate lamb for at least 1 hour.

Scalloped Potatoes:

2 large sweet potatoes

1 Large Russet potatoes

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

¾ of half and half or cream

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. This is a perfect use for a mandolin, but I don’t have one, so I just use a knife and patience.  Mix the cinnamon and nutmeg together in a small dish. In a 9X9 square baking dish place a layer of sweet potatoes, slightly overlapping.  Sprinkle half of the spice mixture evenly over the potatoes, sprinkle lightly with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Next, layer on the russet potatoes and sprinkle on the remainder of the spice mix, salt and pepper.  Finish with a layer of sweet potatoes. Pour the cream evenly over the potatoes and cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Tzatziki:

1 cucumber  peeled, seeded and chopped

1 Tbs chopped fresh dill

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

2 cups greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

I usually chop my cucumbers for tzatziki sauce because I like the texture. However, you could also grate the cucumbers for a smoother sauce.  This sauce needs to be made at least an hour before eating to allow the flavors to merry. It also can be keep for a week in the fridge.

Salad:

Equal amounts of arugula and mixed greens, about 1 ½ cups each

½ cup of crumbled feta

Drizzle of olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Assembly:

Grill the lamb to medium rare (or more if you insist) LET IT REST. Resting is important for meat, it allows the juices to redistribute which makes it juicy and delicious. Let the meat rest for about 10 mins and then cut into thin strips. Toss the lamb with the salad. This will slightly melt the feta (mmm, yum).

To plate this dish, place a square of the scalloped potatoes on the plate. Use tongs to place a large helping of salad onto the plate, top this with a drizzle of the tzatziki sauce.  Enjoy!

On a side note, the following day i had left over scalloped potatoes, so i warmed them and topped them with a handful of arugula and a poached egg. It was delightful.

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Filed under Meat, Recipes