Tag Archives: vegetables

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



Filed under Dressings, Salad, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Minestrone Soup with Sausage

Actual G chat between Sue and Cat:

Sue: We should do a soup week.

Cat: We’ve posted a lot of soups, I feel like.

Sue: Yes, but there are so many more.

Cat: Do you think we could come up with that many new soups?

Sue: YES.

Minestrone, clam chowder, ham and bean, chili, tomato soup, bisques, curried cauliflower soup, butternut squash bisque, corn and poblano, beef and barley, wedding soup.

Should I keep going?

Split pea soup.

CREAM OF MUSHROOM, broccoli cheese, hot and sour.

Caitlyn: Oh ok, noted.

Sue: OH I could try and make the Brazilian coconut curry shrimp soup.

And chicken and dumplings!

I have a problem.

Caitlyn: Yeah what’s with you and soup?

Sue: I really love soup!

10 minutes later

Sue: Mulligatwany! Black bean and sausage!

It’s true, I have a problem, I love soup a little too much. If you would like, you can look back at all of my other soup posts and hear me humbly profess my (extremely) deep love for soup. So instead of telling you that, I’m bout’ to drop some soupy knowledge.

Have you ever wondered to yourself, where did the word restaurant come from? Oh wait; you’re not a dork like me? I’m still going to tell you. In 16th century France the word restaurer referred to a highly concentrated inexpensive broth that was supposed to ease physical exhaustion. The little food carts they served it from were called restaurants. As a result of the French Revolution, many noblemen, their families and entourages fled France. Chefs were among these refugees. One particular soup lover (a man after my own heart), Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, opened a public eating house in Boston called “Julien’s Restorator.” This was his translation of the French word restaurant into English. Bostonians later referred to it as Julien’s Restaurant. Julien’s claim to fame was one particular soup, turtle to be exact, that had vegetables cut into long narrow strings, thus the term to julienne vegetables.

It’s all about the soup, people. You know that saying that you can tell the quality of a chef by their ability to make a soup from scratch? It’s true.

On to minestrone, a famous Italian soup. Minestrone means “big soup”, and it’s pretty much that- a big pot of delicious vegetables.  Minestrone is another one of those soups that just doesn’t really have a master recipe. It almost always contains beans, tomatoes, onions, celery, stock, and some starch (rice or pasta)…but even that’s not always true.  It is generally made from seasonal vegetables, and can be either vegetarian or not.  Although, it is often made without meat, it is almost always made with stock- which by definition is not vegetarian. Would you like to know what the difference is between broth and stock? It’s the bones. Would you like to know what bones contribute? You’ll have to wait for another soup post.

So this recipe is a hodgepodge of many recipes, as per usual. While I was making this I actually had to cut down some of the ingredients because my pot wasn’t big enough for everything I wanted to add…and I was using a 5.5 quart Dutch oven.  The balance still worked out perfectly. So- get your biggest pot, and get to it.

Sausage Minestrone Soup


1 lb sausage, mix of sweet and hot

1 Tbs olive oil

1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery, sliced

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

1 can great northern beans, rinsed

2 cups tomato juice, about 3 of the little cans

6-8 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes

1 zucchini, diced

1 summer squash, diced

1 cup pasta*

2 Tbs freshly chopped basil


In a large pot cook the sausage, breaking up into bite size pieces with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until the onions are transparent. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans and stir to combine. Add the tomato juice, chicken stock, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook for 40 minutes until the vegetables have softened, and the flavors have married.

This is my favorite kind of stock, it can be yours too!

Add the zucchini, squash, tomatoes and pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the pasta is tender. Stir in the basil and serve.

A few notes:

The hot Italian sausage adds a significant amount of flavor to this, use more if you want, but definitely don’t use less.

You can use any kind of pasta you like, minestrone commonly comes with rice or orzo. If you choose to use those reduce the amount to ½ cup. I used these little baby penne pastas, they were delightful (I’m a sucker for all things in a tinier version than usual).

I used kidney beans and great northern beans. I used great northern beans because I love them, I also bought a can of butter beans (another love) but I ran out of room in the pot. If you like the added protein you can add up to 3 cans of beans. Just don’t omit the kidney beans, whatever you do (you can, but why?).

Add whatever veggies you like, kale or spinach would be an excellent addition.


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Filed under Recipes, Soup

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coriander Rice and Veggies

I wanted to call this post Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pile of Health, but I thought it wouldn’t read well in Google searches.

Trader Joe’s has an interesting new product called “Bag of Stir Fry Stuff”, which has chopped up baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas, broccoli and Napa cabbage.  It seems like the kind of thing that exists to solve some other problem, like their fruit leather Odds and Ends (which is a bag of the trimmings from giant sheets of fruit leather).  The problem was probably: How can we make more money off of stuff we’d probably just throw away otherwise?  The solution is obviously:  Put it in a bag and find a cutesy name for it.

Normally, I am strenuously opposed to produce that is pre-chopped.  I hate that someone can fool me into paying more for something that is exactly the same as something that is cheaper.  I come from a long line of overblown dramatics, so getting pretty worked up about something like pre-chopped produce is routine for me, and luckily my boyfriend finds it amusing.  Recently Dom got a satisfying laugh at me while we were standing in the produce section at Trader Joe’s and I was agonizing over buying the pre-skinned and chopped sweet potatoes, because even though I really didn’t want to spend the time peeling and chopping those things if I bought the regular kind, I REALLY didn’t want to buy a bag of pre-peeled, pre-chopped sweet potatoes.  In the end, I bought the regular ones and felt superior through the whole arduous process of peeling and chopping them.

This Bag of Stir Fry Stuff, though, barreled right through the chink in my anti-marketing armor labeled: Stuff She Will Buy if it Saves her Chopping Many Items, Rather Than Just One Item.  It has baby bok choy AND carrots AND snow peas AND broccoli AND Napa cabbage!!!!  That’s enough saved chopping time to run a mile and a half.  Or, watch the Daily Show while eating cheese.

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

1 lb chicken (I used 4 boneless breasts, but you could use thighs, bone in parts, a whole chicken, anything)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

juice of 1 lime,  plus the squeezed limes

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped (no need to peel it)

2 tbsp Sriracha

1/3 cup coconut milk

3 green onions, roughly chopped

Whisk all the ingredients together (it will be chunky) and pour over the chicken.  I marinate stuff in big Ziploc bags, because that’s what my mom does.

see, the marinade is all big and weird, but it doesn't matter.

2-24 hours of marinating should do it.  When you’re ready to grill it, turn the grill on high and OIL THE GRATE.   Remove the chicken from the marinade, and grill 4-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Coriander Rice

1/2 a sweet onion, chopped

2 tbsp butter

2 cups brown rice

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric (will make the rice that pretty, pretty yellow)

4 cups water or chicken stock or coconut milk

3 green onions, chopped

In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the onions in the butter until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Pour the dry rice into the pan and stir it around in the liquid for a couple minutes, then put in the coriander and liquid.  Cook, mostly covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.  When done cooking, stir in the green onions.

Stir Fried Vegetables

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp soy sauce or ponzu

2 tbsp Sriracha

2 tbsp brown sugar

juice of 1 lime

2-3 tbsp water

a whole bunch of chopped veggies (I used a bag of frozen edamame and  pre-chopped, pre-washed Bag of Stir Fry Stuff, which was AWESOME.  But you could use carrots, any kind of cabbage, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, anything.)

In a saucepan on medium heat, put in everything but the veggies.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until it thickens up a bit.  Dump in all the veggies and cook until just shy of the point you like your veggies cooked to.  I like a crisp vegetable, so I cooked mine for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

– Cat

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Filed under BBQ, Poultry, Recipes, Sides

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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Filed under Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian