Friday, February 24, 2012

Trying New Things

I'm never opposed to trying new things in the food realm, but it is easy to just use what you know.  Do you ever feel stuck in a cooking rut?  I typically buy my old favorites when shopping for produce. Case in point, kale. It's one of those things I had never tried until recently.  I'm kind of bummed that I'm just now discovering how delicious it can be.  It's also super convenient because of how hearty the leaves are.  It's not like spinach or lettuce in that it won't wilt if you dress your salad then store it for a couple of days.  As a matter of fact, it even gets tastier! The first time I tried it I made Kale Chips.  The hubs and I both liked them, but they didn't knock our socks off by any means.  I was actually a little disappointed because I had been hearing about how delicious they are.  Fast forward a few weeks and my class had a tasting day during their weekly Global Gardens class. Kale was one of the items they had been growing so the teacher brought some in and we got to talking about it.  I told her about my kale chip experience and she shared this salad recipe with me.  I'm so glad she did, now I can whole heartedly say I love kale!  If you've never tried it, hopefully I can inspire you to try something new.  Skip the chips and go for the salad (this coming from the girl who usually would do the opposite, just ask my jeans!)

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Parmesan
Serves one
6-8 ounces of kale 
6-8 dried apricots
1/3 or so cup cooked beans *I used chick peas
1/4 or so cup almonds
8-10 flakes of Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 avocado
salt and pepper

Fold the pieces of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem.  Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the beans, the almonds, and the cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together.  Just before eating, slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad.

This recipe can be really flexible too, use any beans you love and whatever nuts you have in the house.  I acutally mixed up a bigger batch and it kept really nicely in the fridge for a couple of days.

*On a side note, if you aren't familiar with Global Gardens, here's a little intro from their website:
Global Gardens is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering students and communities through hands on-science education. We believe helping students create a garden is a way to not only assist them in learning about science, health and the environment but also challenge them to become caring, forward thinking and confident individuals. Global Gardens is committed to planting seeds of change!
Our school is very fortunate to participate in Global Gardens and have gardens on our campus.  My class' garden is a Pizza Garden where they planned for, built and take care of all kinds of herbs and veggies that go on a pizza. Their garden is even round and divided into "slices".

1 comment:

momof3girls said...

I keep hearing about kale to, but I have not been sure what to do with it. Thanks for the recipe-sounds yummy!