Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Turn Over a New Leaf, or, How to eat a bunch of kale every day.

Our mother & stepfather live in the charming beachside town of Half Moon Bay, California. I love to visit them for so many reasons (they are fabulous, the beach is nearby and the pelicans fly right along the waves if you sit on the beach early enough in the morning, they live much nearer to my siblings and the all-important nephew), and one of them is the coastal farms all around and the Californian ecological ethos that makes it possible to get good, fresh, local, healthy food.

A fairly recent addition to the area, and the list of places I like to visit when I'm out there, is a local chain of grocery stores (pardon me--community markets) called The New Leaf. The store seems kind of like Whole Foods at first, and it is, but if Whole Foods weren't evil and corporate, but actually what they present themselves to be: committed to sustainable agriculture, commerce and community. They source as much as they can locally, produce-wise, and tell you where stuff comes from and the staff is super friendly and like to let you taste things and make conversation. It's probably a lot like what Whole Foods was like when it was a whippersnapper.

Last time we were out there, my mom pointed out, in the deli case, a kale salad that she & Mike had been enjoying a lot lately, and knowing how I feel about kale (and worried that vegan me will starve if she doesn't get tons of special food for me), she got two big containers of it. You guys, I lived on that stuff for the week I was there, and I never ever got sick of it even a little bit. It was good on its own, and it was good with avocado on top and it was good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ended up going back to get more, I ate so much of it. So of course when I left, I wrote down the ingredients listed on the label and promised myself that I would try to duplicate it at home because I really need to eat more green leafies.

Here's the list:
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
sesame seeds
red onion
liquid aminos (Bragg's)
lemon juice
olive oil

So here's what I did tonight, when I finally made this salad at home, and it turned out to be just as good as the New Leaf's version:
  • Wash and stem two bunches of farmer's market kale, then tear or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • Put the kale in a mixing bowl with a half teaspoon of salt and massage the kale until it wilted down and turned emerald green and was stewing in its own sweet juices.
  • Chop half a red onion into dicey pieces, add to bowl.
  • Add a handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Mine were raw, but you could toast them, I suppose.
  • Add another big handful of sunflower seeds. Again, mine were raw, but this is optional.
  • Add a generous pile of sesame seeds. These were toasted, because that's what I've got and that's how I like them.
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into small bowl.
  • Add a generous squirt of Bragg's Liquid Aminos. (Maybe I'll measure next time, but I think it would be hard to go wrong here.)
  • Add a couple of generous squirts of flax oil. (I know it's not on the list, but if you're going to eat healthy, you might as well go all the way. Also, flax oil has a really lovely nutty flavor that I have grown quite fond of.)
  • Add a little olive oil, because you can't go wrong with olive oil. Probably not necessary, what with the flax oil, but it was on the list, so I added some.
  • Whisk to emulsify and pour into the salad bowl.
  • Toss that salad up and you're ready to eat!
This is a recipe that will keep in the fridge for a while. Make a whole bunch and take it for lunch every day! Mix it up by adding apple slices and raisins, or topping it with baked tofu, or tempeh cooked in some delicious manner, or add home made croutons just before eating or eat it over rice or other cooked grains. It's great in the summer, because you don't cook anything, and great in the winter because there's only kale and onions at the farmer's market in the winter. It's great nutritionally because between the kale and the seeds you get a ton of calcium and proteins and other good stuff. It's cheap, too, and it feels like a real meal. I'm full right now. So full. And I have lunch for tomorrow. Did I mention that the whole thing only took me about half an hour?


Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...This sounds so good! I think I'm going to have to make this soon. How crucial do you think the liquid aminos are? I'm not sure I'm up for an ingredient hunt.

batgirl said...

I'm so glad that you reverse engineered this recipe. Mom made some for a BBQ at Maren's this past weekend and it was awesome. I plan on making some today and taking it with me to campus on my long days. You rock, Jess.

Jess Shambler said...

Kellie: Liquid Aminos are good to have, but not totally necessary. You could probably just as easily add a dash of soy sauce, no problem.

Laura: YOU rock. One of the things that's great about this recipe is that you don't have to have any special equipment or even to cook anything to enjoy it.