It feels like Spring is almost here. After a string of grey days, the sun is out and it’s light out until after 7. I went for a quick run and was energized by all the smiley people out for walks. Then, with renewed energy and a growling belly, I got to work.
Kale is always on those lists of healthy food you probably don’t eat but should. I never did until I was introduced to it by my friend Rob, who made a salad of thin-sliced raw lacinato kale, lemon juice, and ricota salata. Simple and so good. Then a week later I had an elegant vegan version with citrus at Shojin, that again changed my opinion of kale (the nice people and enthusiastic vibe at Shojin could make anything taste good).
I ended up with 5 lbs of the best clementines I’ve ever had in my life (Whole Foods shopping frenzy), and found a bunch of some very fresh looking kale. So here’s my take on raw kale salad:
Lacinato kale and tangerine salad:
1/2 lb (approx) lacinato kale
5 TBS fresh squeezed tangerine juice (from 2-3 tangerines)
2 tangerines, peeled, broken in half and thinly sliced
1/2 clove minced garlic
1 TBS good tasting olive oil
2-3 TBS sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
Wash kale, cut out the center rib, and then stack leaves and cut crosswise into half-inch strips.
Make dressing: in small bowl, add garlic and pinch of salt, and with a pestle or the round side of a lemon zester, mash garlic to a paste. Add tangerine juice and olive oil and stir with a fork to blend it. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the tangerines are not very sweet, consider adding a touch of sugar or honey.
Put dressing in the bottom of bowl, add kale, and toss. Top with almonds and tangerine slices, and lots of freshly ground pepper.
I’ve always been intimidated by Thai cooking, but this seemed do-able. Except for the key ingredient: holy basil. Pim had it growing in her garden when she wrote that entry. I’ve got nothing growing in my thawing garden, and the basil I bought a couple days ago is looking sad. So here’s my adaptation of the spicy pork stir fry:
6 cloves finely chopped garlic
2-3 Thai bird chilies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper cut into small strips
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp canola oil
3 TBS fish sauce
2TBS soy sauce
4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
Continue stirring the pork and breaking into pieces as it cooks.
When it’s almost fully cooked, add fish sauce, soy sauce, peppers, and onions. Stir until the peppers are cooked to your liking.
Take off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Serve with steamed rice. Serves 4 hungry people.