Dinosaur Kale Salad

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Finally – a post about kale. I am admittedly late to the game as the kale explosion has been going on for a few years and this leafy green is everywhere! A few things I have learned about kale recently through much research and experimentation:

*There are three common types of kale : curly (most common), red leaf, and dinosaur (aka lacinato/Tuscan) kale. They can be used interchangeably but in general red leaf is best for chips and dinosaur is best for raw salads (and converting so-called kale haters).

*Massage your dressing in and let the salad sit a few hours (or 24!) in the fridge to soften and flavour everything.

* Kale stays fresh SO much longer than lettuce ! Mine keeps for several weeks in the fridge (just in a bag or de- stemmed, torn, washed, dried and in a salad spinner or jar in the fridge). If you find your whole bunch has wilted, cut 1/2″ off the bottoms and place in a glass on cold water on the counter for a few hours – it will crisp right up! Once it is yellowing at the edges it is time to be sacrificed to the compost gods.

*Green smoothies aren’t worth it. We should only be having raw kale a few times a week to avoid thyroid issues (read more about why here). I would much rather enjoy a few kale salads each week than drink something concocted to mask the texture and flavour of my beloved green.

This salad started off with the common lemon-garlic-oil blend seem all over the blogosphere but has a bit of a twist (basil and tomatoes). Think of deconstructed caesar salad meets bruschetta. The gentle textured dinosaur kale and unique blend of flavours and will win over those previously claiming to “hate kale”.

This recipe is about a balance of flavours. Most of the lemon-garlic-oil kale salads I found looked like garlic salads to me – start off with just half or a whole clove – you can always add more.

Adapted significantly from Marin Mamma Cooks

Bruschetta Dinosaur Kale Salad or Kale Haters Salad

1 bunch of dinosaur kale , destemmed and cut in a chiffonade

1 pinch of salt

1/2-1 clove of garlic

Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tablespoons

3 tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Fresh cracked black pepper

Two small handfuls of fresh Parmesan

5-10 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon of fresh chives, minced

5 basil leaves, cut in chiffinade

Small handful of sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or butters breadcrumbs (opt.)

Mince the garlic then add salt and smash into paste with knife or pestle.

Put garlic and salt in jar and add lemon juice, oil, chives, and sugar and shake well

Massage into kale (rub into leaves with your hands until wilted)

Sprinkle pepper and one handful of cheese on salad and toss

Sprinkle the rest of cheese on top of salad and arrange tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with basil and refrigerate 1-24 hours or more before serving. If you are adding nuts or buttered breadcrumbs, add these just before serving.

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Ridiculously Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

easy and very yummy

I looked at many recipes of pineapple upside down cakes before coming up with this variation a while ago, which is now my husband’s favourite cake. So easy, smells amazing cooking, and quite frugal. I have used a vanilla cake mix for the base in this cake, but you could easily use white or yellow cake mix, angel food cake mix, or a homemade white cake recipe.

1 package of supermoist vanilla cake mix
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup dark or spiced rum
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
15-20 maraschino cherries or canned bing cherries, drained
1 can of name brand pineapple slices or fresh pineapple slices, juice reserved

Preheat oven to 350 f.
In your square or cake or casserole dish/pan, add the butter, vanilla, brown sugar and rum, and put in oven until melted together.
Stir mix and add pineapple slices with a cherry in the middle and around the outside in a nice arrangement. Place in oven for another 5 minutes.
Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 cup. Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon, then pour evenly on top of pineapple/cherry arrangement and bake for 30-40 min, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Immediately when you take it out of the oven, run a knife around the edges and then flip over onto a plate.
Leave the pan on for 5 min to allow the sugar rum glaze to drizzle over.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and store in fridge.