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Kale Glorious Kale

22 Jan

kale 1

A few years back, before kale became all the craze in LA and the world’s new super food, Rigo showed up one night holding two voluminous dark green leafy bouquets and thrust them at me with great vigor.  “What’s that?”, I asked him with genuine ignorance.  “It’s kale!”, he told me excitedly. “Do something with it.”

Do something with it?, I thought to myself. What the heck was I going to do with it?  I had no idea how to manage this new, nutrient dense, slightly bitter, and very intimidating vegetable.  So I had to rely on my Italian roots and my love of Mediterranean ingredients.  I immersed myself in the kitchen and emerged a few hours later with the tastiest kale salad that my taste buds have ever experienced.  It was as if they were screaming at me between every bite, “Give us more of the delicious and nutritious!”.   It was so tasty, in fact, that Rigo decided to enter this salad in a food contest at work.  The theme on that occasion was “green foods”…or maybe it was “cold dishes”…or it could have actually been “healthy dishes”….hmmm….anyway that’s irrelevant.  The important part is, this salad won first place, and it has gone on to have a successful career in the food world as it has been a hit at every party, dinner, potluck, and random celebration where it has made an appearance.

It is my pleasure to share this recipe for our award-winning kale salad:

Kale (1 bunch or one bag)
Sun dried tomatoes in oil — julienne sliced from trader joes (about 1/2 jar with the oil for one salad)
Pine nuts (toasted in the toaster oven) – I use about 1/4 cup for one salad
Crumbled feta cheese — about 1/4 cup or 4 oz
1. Remove the stems, wash, dry, and chop the kale.
2. Add the sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
2. Season with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
3. Add a little salt.
4. Add the feta cheese last and toss well.
You can store this salad in the fridge overnight because the kale is very sturdy and gets softer but will not wilt. Sometimes I make it the night before and then eat it for lunch the next day.
Note: When I make the dressing, I use a one part oil to one part balsamic ratio because the tomatoes already add some oil to the salad. But I also like to be heavy on the vinegar. You can adjust the ratios according to your taste.  Be sure to use a good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Also, feel free to add extra of any of the ingredients.
2nd Note: Rigo likes to “massage” the kale first by adding some lemon juice to the leaves and rubbing the leaves together between his fingers or hands. This will make the kale nice and soft from the get-go. If you opt for the lemon juice massage I recommend adding a higher ratio of oil in the dressing.

Buon appetito amici!

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