Farmer B has left for the East, and only the farm gods know when we’ll meet again. She left us the best possible gift to remember her by, however – a huge bag full of farm-fresh produce. Tiny sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and enormous amounts of curly kale. Duck and I spent the day with her before she boarded her train and we all decided to check out the Grand Lake farmer’s market for the first time. That impressive market, which is quite a party with live music, slides for the kids, and stands with prepared food of all kinds, yielded up Japanese eggplants, dry-farmed tomatoes, mountain blueberries, and perfectly ripe avocados, among other treasures.
We may still be mourning the loss of our favorite farm girl, but a body’s got to eat, right? It’s been robust at mealtimes for the past couple days, with my Cafe Gratitude-style rice bowl and Duck’s buckwheat soba with portobella mushrooms and zucchini, so I wanted something very light tonight. I wanted kale salad.
Specifically, I wanted a kale salad someone brought to a potluck I went to a few months ago, but with my brain fog I can now no longer remember who made it or what it tasted like, just that it was heavenly and I was so surprised and delighted at how tender and wonderful raw kale could be.
So I used the awesome-pants search feature over at Food Blog Search to seek out some kale salad recipes. I found a few different ones, but several of them involved lightly sauteeing the kale, and this quest had become, for me, all about the raw. I found one totally raw salad (with some variation) in three different places. I first read about it on the I Am Gluten Free blog, and then found another version on the Diet, Dessert, and Dogs blog, and finally watched a YouTube video of it being made! By this time I was sold. This isn’t the salad I went looking for, but it fit perfectly with the ingredients I had on hand, sounded delicious, and I was apparently going to get to do something called “massaging the kale.”
I decided to accompany it with a raw beet salad (I used a New York Times recipe as my starting point) and finish it up with a slice of green melon for dessert. (I know, the food combiners, who taught me about eating raw, are rolling over in their wheatgrass patches at my eating melon after a meal…) All in all, a delicious and incredibly colorful dinner.
The recipes are so simple, but I’ll write them out anyways. The part I’ve expanded on is the kale salad directions; every time I massaged the kale my hands would get oily and slippery and then I’d go to pick up a knife to cut open the avocado, etc. and it would be a bad scene. (Somehow the Raw Coach in the video doesn’t seem to have this problem!) So I thought a little guide to what order things should be done in would be helpful.
Raw Kale Salad with Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes
Makes 2 light, dinner-sized servings
1 bunch kale
Olive oil (about 2 T. or to taste)
1 t. sea salt
1 large, ripe avocado, cut in half and pitted
1 large, very flavorful tomato, diced, or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1-3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional – I didn’t use onion because I had none)
Juice of 1 lemon
Wash the kale thoroughly. Devein it (take out the stem all the way up the leaves) and either cut into small squares or, the method I prefer, chiffonade. (Roll the leaves up into tubes and slice thin strips across the tubes, resulting in very fine strips of kale.) Put kale in large bowl.
Prepare the rest of your ingredients – chop tomatoes, slice green onions, cut avocado in half, remove seed, and get a spoon ready, placing it alongside the avocado. Measure out 1 t. sea salt into a small dish. Squeeze lemon juice into another small dish. Set all these aside.
Pour olive oil (about 2 T.) over the kale. Then, after washing hands thoroughly, “massage” the kale, running your fingers through it again and again until it is entirely coated with the olive oil. Add in the salt and continue to massage until kale wilts down a bit.
Pick up an avocado half and squeeze the whole thing over the bowl until all the flesh comes out. Repeat with the other half. You can use your spoon if any last bits cling to the inside of the peel. Then massage the avocado into the kale until smooth. Add in tomato, onion, and lemon juice, and toss thoroughly. Taste to see if it needs any additional salt. Wash your gooey hands, and enjoy!
This recipe has been added to roundup of kale recipes over at Book of Yum, one of my favorite GF (mostly) vegan blogs!
Very Simple Raw Beet Salad (based on a slightly more elaborate Mark Bittman recipe from the New York Times)
Serves 1 to 2 as an accompanying dish
1 large beet, peeled and grated
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 T. olive oil
1 T. sherry vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Mix together all ingredients except grated beet to form dressing, then toss beet with dressing.