Kale in the Raw

Over the past year we have developed a truly lovely weekend ritual with friends we met at the playground. Every Sunday we are able to, we take turns hosting the other family for playtime and dinner. All of our children love frolicking about together, and the Mummies and Daddies love chitchatting and a night off from cooking/cleaning.

As I was prepping our turn for dinner while the girls were napping, I realized that my menu planning had been done too early that morning. In my drowsy state, I had concocted a meal with ingredients that I didn’t actually have. Kale as it turns out, though it shares its hue with baby broccoli, is most certainly not baby broccoli.

I’ve already written about my affinity for kale, but I’ll be honest – I’m a one trick pony with this leafy green having honed my kale chip skills quite sharply. They’re pretty tasty. But since we were serving linguini alla carbonara (it’s not just for winter anymore) it made more sense to have a fresh veggie or salad rather than a salty, slightly warm chip … even if they are pretty tasty.

As I was patting dry the curlicue, verdant leaves riddled with purple veins, I tapped away on Google hoping to save the dinner by finding a raw application of kale. My plan b included serving personal ramekins of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies.

Success! Tom Philpott wrote a fantastic and engaging piece about using raw kale in a salad – explaining among other things, possible origins and why it needs to be chopped as fine as “confetti” as he so vividly puts it. I LOVE getting the back-story and understanding mechanics … center that around food and I’m done *swoon*. He also included a truly delicious Ceaser-salad-style recipe. Since I was lacking every critical ingredient other than kale, I employed his suggested technique and threw together a hearty yet surprisingly light salad. And no, it wasn’t bitter it was bright!

Raw Kale Salad

Wash and pat dry small bundle of kale (we used purple kale), cutting out ribs. Roll leaves tightly and chop chiffonade style, place in large bowl. Pour over the kale a simple vinaigrette (I used what was left in the bottle of my red wine vinegar, and threw in a little less olive oil, whisked in a dash of sugar and a bit more than that dried basil). Probably about 1 cup worth of dressing. Toss and let sit for a good long while to macerate (ours sat for 2 hours covered in fridge). Add chopped celery (for crunch and color) and halved grape tomatoes (for sweetness and color), toss and serve.

Tom was right, it keeps well … behold leftovers the next day:

Advertisements

Omega-3 Cookies

Saturday mornings we herd the two little ones post-pancake breakfast into the stroller and we hit the road to visit our neighborhood Farmer’s Market. After I ogle the heirloom tomatoes to see if one is worthy for my lunch, we hit the mini doughnut stand (that’s a vegetable, right?), loop around the road wishing I had bought less at the grocers and then head for the nearby park rife with mulch and giggling children.

Today however there was a stand toppling with peaches at a reduced price. Cobbler I thought … and it was pretty much downhill from there. This is what our kitchen looked like this evening after one round of cleaning:

So it turned out to be a peach crumble – thanks Ina! – and what’s left of it is hiding under two bowls and spoons. Yup, we ate all of it.

Because the oven was already at temperature and the crumble needed a while to bake, I decided to make walnut biscuits (aka cookies in our multicultural household). Walnuts are perfect for our girls to bulk up on, and while they are crazy about eating almonds as a snack they look at me like I’ve played a dirty trick on them when I try to get them to eat walnuts.

I adapted a recipe for Vanilla Crescents (in Philippa Vanstone’s 500 Cookies) – replacing almonds with walnuts, doubling the quantity of nuts and halving the sugar. The girls adore these just sweet enough biscuits that crumble with omega-3 goodness.

Cut 1 stick softened butter into 1 cup of flour making. Grind 2 cups walnuts, using fork to incorporate walnut meal into butter/flour mix. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, using fork to incorporate. Form large ball (should be slightly sticky), divide evenly into 16 mini balls, shape as desired making each biscuit 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Bake at 350 for 20 mins or until light golden color. Can spend a week in the fridge if they survive that long!