Hail Caesar, I mean “Hail Kale!”  The vegetable of course.  Sorry about that.  I have been watching a lot of tv series on DVD lately, since we are sans an actual TV, and Rome season 1 and 2 have been the most recent.  We would normally be watching episodes of Lost or How I Met Your Mother, but alas, the video rental shops feature slim pickings when it comes to tv series.  It has broadened our horizons, though.  Now I know more about Henry VIII from The Tudors (we checked out the story line on wiki and it was pretty bang on) and I know more about how people in California live (Californication season 1).  Turns out that basically people were just doing a lot of hanky-panky.  Back in the day in Britain and recently in California.  Who knew?

Back from the gutter people, let’s get down to business.  Salad.  Kale.  Who even knows what kale is?  It is a leafy green veg similar to swiss chard.  It’s quite firm and on the bitter side.  It is nice as a side, steamed and slathered with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.  A very nice change from spinach.  Sorry to all you spinach lovers, but I just don’t like how it gets so soggy when steamed.  Kale retains its bite and it a stunning green.

I guess I first encountered kale during my second year of university.  The first 2 years I lived in a house that rotated people through five rooms.  I was a regular and so was the owner’s daughter.  It was good times, good time I say!  In those days I relied on a stirfry mix that came in a red box and included the sauce.  How many times did I make that?  Now I know how to make a stirfry out of fresh vegetables, but how fun to look back on my so-called “home-cooking.”  At least I wasn’t spending my dinners at MicDics!

Anyways, in the second year I had a roommate that was Dutch.  One day he mixed kale with mashed potatoes and called it delicious.  It was a Dutch delicacy.  Little did I know that it would be the favorite dish of my future husband or that I would be living the Boerenkool life on a daily basis in the actual country, but I digress.  I soon found myself checking out this mystery vegetable.  It was touted as a superfood.  Extremely healthy for the body.  How could an athlete pass that up?

Years later, an organic store in Calgary popped up and offered a cookbook – Planet Organic Market.  This is a cookbook basically every Canadian speed skater owns because we are all about the nutritious and delicious.   Gotta fuel the body, you know?  It just so happens that this salad is a fave of these skater cookbook owners.  This is a virtual superfood feast!  Not only that, it has wonderful colour, crunch and an unexpected taste.  This salad is dinner party worthy.  Think slaw with a kale base.  It especially looks great on a plate in the fall with its deep saturated hues.  Try it this autumn, you will “fall” for it just like the rest of us!  Oh that was bad…

Hail to the Kale Salad – adapted from Planet Organic Market Cookbook

1 bunch (about 5-6 leaves) chopped

3 cups grated carrots

Half a head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced

0.5 cup each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Vinaigrette:

0.5 cup oil (I use veg oil, but hemp or flax oil bumps up the nutrition)

0.33 cup soya sauce (the recipe calls for Braggs Liquid Aminos which I also use, but soya sauce is just more readily available)

5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tp dried oregano

Start but washing the kale.  You need to de-stem these babies and here is the easiest way.  Grab the end of the stem with one hand.  With the other hand make a claw and run your fingers on either side of the stem.  This will pull all of the leaf off of the stem.  Discard the stems and chop the leaves.  Shred the carrots on a box grater and thinly slice the cabbage.  Throw it all into a huge bowl. 

Mix up the vinaigrette in a trusty jar and pour over the kale mixture immediately.  Stir and coat everything. 

Now here is where I digress from the original recipe.  They want you to roast the seeds in a pan and then coat them in tamari.  You can definitely do this step, but turns out the coating just comes off once the seeds hit the vinaigrette in the salad.  I usually just buy salted seeds and roast them and then toss them in with the salad.  The roasting brings out their flavour and their saltedness is basically what you are going for with the tamari. 

Toss it all together and let sit for 30 minutes (they say 2 hours! Who can wait that long?).  This gives the leaves a chance to soak up all that good vinaigrette.  You can leave it for longer or if you just can’t wait, like you just got home from training and are about to parish from hunger, then dig immediately! 

 This is a massive salad (serves 4-6 hungry athletes) so you can half it or it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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