Summer Blueberry Kale Salad has so much good-for-you stuff going on. We’ve got the kale, obviously; blueberries, which we know are packed with antioxidants; plus some healthy nuts and seeds, shredded carrots, and for sweetness a few dried cranberries. Everything is tossed together with an easy peasy honey balsamic vinaigrette.
Some people fear raw kale because on the stalk, it’s tough and you may not know what to do with it. But really, making a raw kale salad is no more difficult than any other kind of green salad, except for this one thing: add the dressing to the greens alone first and mix it well. When I say “mix well” I mean it, no gentle tossing. This isn’t baby spinach or field greens. Your hands are your best utensils so wash up and use them to “massage” the dressing into the greens. The idea here is that by “massaging” the kale with the dressing, the you are breaking down the kale just enough that it becomes tender and delicious. You know you’re doing the right thing when you see the kale turn from a dull, dark green to a bright, shiny green.
My Nana was a most extraordinary lady. Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since we lost her. As this is Holy Week there are surely parallels to be made about resurrection and new life. But frankly, they do not bring me comfort because they do not bring back her smile or her dancing or her enthusiasm for life which was contagious to those around her. I feel like I should do more here in tribute to her; I want to do more here in tribute to her, given the profound impact she has had on my life. At her memorial service I talked about how I believed that Nana’s legacy was that she taught us the language of food. She showed us how we can channel our feelings of grief, joy, and frustration into the preparation of food and use it to show other people that we care about them. It would seem fitting then, that tomorrow we plan a huge dinner in honor and remembrance of her. But the idea of doing so seems like an overwhelming task because there is simply so much to say, both with words and with food. Where do you even begin?
Answer: You begin with bunnies. Pear bunnies, to be exact.
I am a pack-my-lunch kind of girl. This would probably be a good opportunity to go off on a tangent about how packing your lunch will keep your food and caloric budget in check. You know how it is – you go out for lunch with every intention of ordering the grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette. But then you sit down and before you know it the server comes to get your order and in a moment of weakness you decide that your salad needs french fries, crispy chicken, and ranch. After all, it’s been a rough day, some crispy chicken won’t hurt. You deserve a treat. Clearly, packing your lunch that day would have been a healthier option. Blah blah blah. You know it, I know it. When it comes to rationalizing, I’m the queen. I can rationalize just about anything. A reason to eat that crispy chicken salad? Please, I could write a whole page about it. Given my proclivity for food-related rationalization it is in my best interests to pack lunch most days so that I can maintain some control over what I’m eating. This works well for me in the end because I am nothing if not a person who likes to be in control. Suffice it to say, when I find something new that works well for me to make ahead on the weekend and pack for my lunches during the week, I’m pretty siked about it.
When it comes to holiday dinners, the unofficial motto in my family is “Prepare enough food for everyone that is coming to dinner. Then make more.” I always laugh when I get cooking magazines that feature holiday dinners with about 3 things on the plate. Are you kidding me? We have three different vegetables alone! Plus salad, and bread, and a variety of meat, need I go on? So. Much. Food. Good food. Food that people you love have taken the time and effort to prepare because they know that you will savor it. How can you not sample a little bit of everything? Then perhaps a little bit more? And before you know it, the skinny pants you wore thinking that they would help keep your food consumption under control are digging into your belly and you’re counting the seconds until it’s socially acceptable to go upstairs and put on your pajama bottoms so that you can finally get some relief and when you do you want to shout “Thank you Sweet Jesus!” because in that moment you can’t imagine anything better than that blessed elastic waistband. Phew!