"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fresh Kale Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

This past Saturday, I stopped by the Farmers' Market after I finished a two-hour workout at Hipline Dance Studio. After having a very busy, and stressful week at work, I needed to have some "me" time to release some of the stressful energy, and get ready (mentally and physically) to celebrate Father's Day with my husband and the kids.

I love the Farmers' Market this time of year. I particularly love the smell of fresh fruits and vegetables. I love the different types of produce this season brings. I love discovering new items at the market. My latest discovery is the versatility of Kale. I used to only know how to sautee Kale, and did not think you could do a whole lot with it other than perhaps Kale chips, which I also recently tried thanks to my friends Evelyn and Rene. Well, last week, I had a Kale salad at work. And, I loved it! So, this weekend, I decided to get a couple of bunches of Kales (green and purple colors). I also decided to make a Kale salad -- my first experiment with Kale. The result? A delicious summer salad!

We took the salad to an outdoor evening summer concert at our Church/School. It was a perfect side dish. I have written down the rough recipe below. I don't like store-bought salad dressing (you should all know this by now!). So, I made my own lemon basil vinaigrette!

I hope you try it and enjoy!

  • Fresh green and purple kale (wash well, then chop finely, and dry well in a salad spinner) - amount depends on how much salad you want (about 2 cups for 2 people). 
  • 1 medium lemon cucumber (in abundance at the Farmers' Market during the summer, but you can use other cucumbers or roasted summer squash and zucchinis).
  • 1 cup of cherry or small heirloom tomatoes (washed and sliced in half).
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced fresh fennel (get a small fennel bulb, rinse it, and slice about a 1/3 to a 1/2 of it).
  • About 1 cup of roasted beets (see below). 
  • 1/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese (or Pre-shredded).
  • 1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds (lightly toasted).
  • Salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Lemon basil vinaigrette (see below). 

Roasted Beets
1 fresh red beet, peeled, largely diced, seasoned with salt and pepper, and olive oil, and roast in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Recipe
  • 1 large lemon (juice only) - Meyer lemon works best.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey (use more or less depending on how sour or sweet your lemon is).
  • 1 Teaspoon of chopped fresh basil (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried Italian Seasoning).
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste. 
Combine all ingredients well in an empty small jar (like an old jelly jar) and shake well until emulsified (consistency of a dressing). Taste. Add a small amount of some or all of the ingredients, to adjust the taste to your desire. (Feel free to use your favorite store-bought dressing. I like to make my own dressing.) 

Directions for Tossing the Salad
Combine kale, cucumber, tomatoes, fennel, and roasted beets. Mix in the vinaigrette dressing. Add the Parmesan Cheese and toasted almonds, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For some extra flavor and freshness, add some diced avocados. This also stores well in the Fridge.

Until next time . . . Cheers!


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