Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kale Me Once and Kale Me Twice and Kale Me Once Again

Happy New Year!  Hope you all finished your 2012 with much satisfaction and started the new one on a happy and healthy note.  We have started our routine with kids back in school, hubby back to work and me doing the things that I do (cook, clean, chauffeur, administer play dates, workout when I can and stay healthy).

Speaking of staying healthy, I was introduced to kale by a friend of mine not long ago.  This was at a dinner party and she had prepared this fantastic kale salad (the dinosaur kind) with Pecorino cheese dusted all over it.  It was one of the most unassuming and most delicious salads that I had ever had!  In fact, I loved it so much that I had three servings of it that night.  I asked how she made it and it was as simple as one could think, except that you really need to make this one in advance in order for the dressing to really do its job on the giant kale leaves.  From that night on, I can honestly say that I am a kale addict!  I have been buying kale from my Farmer's Market every weekend; making kale salad and storing it in large containers in my refrigerator.  Typically, these last me for 2-3 days which I have everyday for lunch with different variations.  The only difference is that I buy the curly ones not the dinosaur since that's what my market has to offer.

Some facts about kale (courtesy of Wikipedia): Kale is a form of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head.  Some kale plants can reach the height of six or seven feet.  Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and rich in calcium.  The most common leaves that you might find are the curly kale and the dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan kale or Tuscan cabbage).  I don't remember seeing kale in Iran, but that doesn't mean there may not be any.  So, here is a simple kale salad recipe that you can add your favorite ingredients to.

Fresh Curly Kale

Basic Kale Salad

A bunch of fresh kale about 8 cups – washed, dried and de-stemmed
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Wash and thoroughly dry the kale.  Using your fingers, take the stem off of each leaf.  Break off the leaves into smaller pieces and put in a container.  Mix all the other ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the chopped kale.  Close the container and shake gently side to side.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours up to 3 days.

I thought this might be a healthy option for your upcoming Superbowl party!  Set up a "Kale Salad Bar" with different "add-on" options so people can create their own favorite kale salad.  I think this will be a hit, don't you?

Here's a kale salad with cooked garbanzo beans and cherry tomatoes that I had the other day.

 Kale Salad with Garbanzo Beans & Cherry Tomatoes

 Another day, I had my kale salad with 1/2 of a persimmon that I sliced with some toasted pumpkin seeds.

 Kale Salad with Persimmon and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Today, I added crumbled feta cheese, sliced Persian cucumbers and toasted pistachio nuts on top and it was absolutely delicious.

Kale Salad with Feta, Persian Cucumbers & Pistachios

For your upcoming Superbowl, you can add as many options as you like to your kale salad bar and let your guests make their own favorite combination.

And yes, I consider garbanzo beans, persimmon, Persian cucumber, pistachios and feta cheese Persian ingredients ;)

Have a wonderful weekend.