One Year + a Sweet and Nutty Kale Salad
A little under a year ago I volunteered one of my days planting seeds in a hot house for CultivateTO, a non-profit organization that operates a back yard CSA program in Toronto. We spent the day planting mostly tomato seeds, more varieties than I’ve ever heard of, then gathered for a meal afterwards. I didn’t realize that it was a potluck, so I came empty handed, but one of the girls brought a kale salad that was tossed with avocado, shaved parm, pine nuts, dried currents, and a home made balsamic vinegar dressing. I’ve been seeing kale salad all over the place, and loved kale cooked, but for some reason was never sold on having it in a salad. Believe it or not, but this was my first time having kale salad. I went for seconds and thirds, a little greedy for a girl that didn’t bring any food, don’t ya think? So that’s how the kale salad love affair began and it just recently occurred to me that one unexpected meal really changed the way I cooked over the past year.
Speaking of the past year, I initially wanted this post to be about celebrating a wonderful year of a little space, where I come to share my love for food with all of you guys – old friends, new friends, family, and random strangers. In just over a year, almost 50000 of you have landed here. I know that it’s not a lot in a world where site traffic is measured in a different order of magnitude, but almost 50000 people have laid eyes on my pictures and words and some of them actually came back, and that’s crazy awesome to me :) Thank you, everyone!
Over the past year, I haven’t been working, so I had plenty of long, peaceful, and sometimes lazy days to dream up, experiment with, and photograph everything that you see here. There were many mornings spent in bed with cookbooks, magazines, a laptop, and my dog friend, Benji, building this blog, reading, researching, and writing.
My work situation has changed recently, and long lazy mornings no more. Benji’s not happy about this at all.
A full time job means that there will likely be changes around here as well, good ones, I hope :) I’m sure I’m missing a famous person quote here, but I like to believe that limitation fuels creativity, and I’m really looking forward to embracing the limitations of time, ingredients, and available daylight to grow this blog in different and interesting ways. I’m not sure what those ways will be yet, but please stick around.
Since I started off with a little kale salad story, I’d like to introduce on of my favourite winter versions. I’ve kale-ified of of my mom’s recipes – a delicious apple, pineapple, walnut, and celery salad. With some kale thrown in, mayo replaced with a honey walnut dressing, and some tart dried cranberries, it almost makes me not want winter to end. Almost.
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
- water, to thin
- 4 cups of chopped kale (I used lacinato, but any type will work)
- a few pinches of salt
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small apple, cored and cubed (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 2 stalks celery, split lengthwise and chopped
- 1/3 cup of the dressing, or more to taste
- dried cranberries and walnut pieces to garnish
- To make the dressing, process the walnuts in a food process until very finely ground.
- Add the honey, salt, and vinegar and continue to process until really smooth.
- Add water, about 1 Tbsp. at a time to reach the desired consistency.
- To make the salad, start by massaging the chopped kale with a few pinches of sea salt and olive oil. Add the apple, pineapple, and celery, then toss with 1/3 cup of the dressing. Reserve remaining dressing for later use. Top with walnuts and cranberries.
- Makes about 2 servings.