Thursday, December 11, 2014

Colorful Kale Slaw


I have never had a green thumb. If something grows in the ground, I can usually find a way to kill it. I cannot grow a tomato to save my life and my spinach plants sprouted like they were going to do something and then got a glimpse of their gardener and curled up and died. So the only explanation I have for the beautiful kale I grew this year is that the stuff cannot be murdered. Seriously, if I can grow kale, anyone can grow kale. The problem is, I grew gorgeous kale and then had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I mean, I want to add kale to my repertoire, but it isn't something that comes naturally for me. I can't remember ever having kale as a child and I can barely get my own kids to eat turnip greens, so kale has been a bit of a challenge. I think it is quite ironic that the most successful plant I grew in my garden this year was the one I knew the least about. I've tried making kale chips, which did not meet with much enthusiasm from my family at all. While I kept searching for kale recipes to try, my kale kept growing, getting bigger, curlier and greener, taunting me make something with it.

So, I was quite interested when I happened to see Ina Garten on her show making a winter slaw with kale. Ina used kale, radicchio, and Brussels sprouts, finely chopped and topped with a lemony vinaigrette. I decided to try a kale slaw for myself, but I needed to make a few changes from Ina's recipe. First, I am not a fan of radicchio, so I traded it for some purple cabbage. Taking Ina's advice, I finely shredded the kale, cabbage and the Brussels sprouts. The purple cabbage and the dark green kale were absolutely beautiful together. Also, my family thought the lemony vinaigrette was a little tart for their tastes, so I made some changes to the dressing. I chose to eliminate the parmesan cheese that Ina added to her slaw. Additionally, Ina's recipe called for dried cranberries, which I used, but I thought it could use something nutty. I just happened to have a bag of sweetened, orange flavored almonds and cranberries that my friend Merri introduced me to when we went to the beach last year.

Merri is one of the best cooks I know and she has lots of good food ideas. She told me she often adds these flavorful almonds and cranberries to her salads. After one taste, I was hooked, so I keep a bag of them in my pantry at all times. I thought the orange flavor would be a great addition to the kale.

Here is what I ended up with. A sweeter version of Ina's kale slaw. I just love the purple and green together. Just looking at this pretty slaw makes me happy. I am also thrilled to be actually using my beautiful kale in a dish.  Here's the recipe. Be makes a huge bowl of slaw. See what you think!

6 large leaves of kale with the center spines removed
1/2 head of purple cabbage
8 Brussels sprouts, with the stems trimmed and cored.
1 bag of orange cranberry almondine
1 c. dried cranberries
Juice of 1 lemon
2/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. sugar
3 T. water
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 t. lime juice
2 t. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Finely shred cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts and put in large bowl. Add the orange cranberry almondine and dried cranberries to the shredded vegetables. In a separate bowl whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the slaw.

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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