Dinosaur Kale Salad

IMG_4861.JPG

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.

Best Ever Cucumber Sandwiches

I am getting ready to entertain, and trying out new recipes. My husband does not like cucumber sandwiches, apparently, but inhaled about 6 of these little guys in 2 min and went on and on about how delicious it was. So, even if you don’t see your crew as a tea sandwich kind of crowd, leave the crusts on and give it a go (I liked it better with the crusts off and did this for my own sandwiches) and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. The cream cheese spread is very much like a super delicious and fresh version of Tim Horton’s garlic and herb cream cheese and would be good on anything carb based, really. Very light and satisfying meal paired with soup and cured meats (we ate it with Hungarian salami- so good!)

____________________

Recipe adapted from Dayles Incredible Links.

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2- 3/4 of a container of whipped cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of room temp. butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 loaf sliced, firm-textured bread
  • dash of paprika

Run a fork along the sides of the cucumber to ensure the marinade is absorbed. Slice thinly, but not so thin they are transparent, and place in a pie plate filled with the vinegar and water. Leave to marinate for 30 min or so.

Meanwhile, cream the butter in a small bowl with a fork or butter knife, and then add whipped cream cheese (Philly makes this- it is so good) salt and pepper, dill, paprika, and onion and garlic powders.

Spread cream cheese mix on both sides of bread (not too thick).

Drain cucumbers on paper towels or cloth.

Arrange cucumbers in one even layer over one side of prepared bread.

Cut sandwiches with a a nice bread knife diagonally and remove crusts (whipping knife often) for cute tea sandwiches, or leave the crusts on if you are looking for something heartier.

Hashbrown Casserole

I recently took this to a holiday breakfast and it was a big hit! Great anytime of the day and super easy, but not very healthy. I looked at dozens of recipes and tried a few out before perfecting this one, which is pretty damn good. You could add bacon but I don’t as I usually have a few vegetarians in my midst, and green onions or chives are almost as good as the leeks, but I find raw white onions are too much.
Any good melting cheese (or a combo) works – try mozzarella, jack, cheddar, or parmesan.
Kids love it, and great as a side dish to any meat and a salad in addition to breakfast.
A potluck hit! photo (4)

1 can of cream of chicken, cream of celery, or cream of mushroom soup
1/2 container of sour cream
1 cup of milk
1 cup of cheddar, mozz, or jack cheese
1 package of frozen hash browns, thawed
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 tsp. paprika
1.5 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1.5 tsp. cracked black pepper (or to taste)
2 fresh leeks, with top 3 outer layers peeled away and dark green top cut off
(or 3 green onions, fresh, diced or 1/2 cup of chives)
1 cup of mozz. jack, or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350
Butter a large casserole dish (sometimes I make two small casseroles with this recipe and freeze one for a quick side dish)
In a large bowl, whisk together soup, milk and sour cream until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir.
Dump bag of hashbrowns on top of creamy mix in bowl, and pour melted butter overtop. Sprinkle on paprika, salt, and pepper.
Stir well
Pour into casserole dish and top with cheese
Bake uncovered for 30-40 min or until golden and bubbly like in photo.