I love trying new things. I especially love trying new foods. Thanks largely to the internet and food blogs a vast world of food has been open to me that honestly didn’t even know existed before, and I plan to take full advantage of it. I’ve learned to doubt myself when I think I won’t like something, and most of the time I end up liking it! Luckily Evan is normally good for the ride, too, even if he is a little less enthusiastic about it.
This winter I experimented with some winter squash that I had never worked with before. That’s right, I jumped on the butternut squash bandwagon hard. It really is delicious, and you really can do so much with it. Anyways, in addition to cooking with butternut squash, I tried my hand at spaghetti squash. Evan happened to come into the kitchen after work as I was pulling the roasted spaghetti squash out of the oven. After saying a happy hello, he spotted the yellow gourd and his face fell. “Is that what we’re having for dinner??” You would have thought I slapped a puppy. I explained that it was spaghetti squash and that I was really excited to try it. He begrudgingly said he would try it once I told him he could have leftovers from the fridge if he didn’t like it. I made this recipe for spaghetti squash with marinara and meatballs, handed a small portion to Evan and waited for his reaction. He was flabbergasted. Flabbergasted! (Sorry, I don’t get to use that word very often and it just looks so ridiculous that I had to use it twice.)
He was pretty sure I had done some sort of kitchen magic to turn the squash into something edible. He said, “This is a miracle! I can’t believe something so weird turned into something so delicious!” This was the same week I started this blog and he animatedly asked if I was going to put this recipe on here. I explained that I didn’t take any pictures of the recipe and hadn’t planned on it, but he was so impressed with the turn around that it deserved at least a shout out on here! Honestly, spaghetti squash isn’t my fave. I didn’t dislike it or anything, but I don’t think I would ever crave it. I made it in a different way as well (largely using this recipe) and I felt again that it was good, but not great. But I’m glad I tried it! If you have a spaghetti squash recipe you love, let me know! I’d love to give it a try!
All of this talk of trying out trendy ingredients with mixed results brings us to todays recipe. Remember when kale started blowing up the blogosphere? I was curious about the green, leafy thing, but it wasn’t until I learned that it’s $1/bunch at the grocery store that my interest was really peaked. $1?! That’s like 1/3 of the price of spinach! So I tried cooking it in some recipes, and I loved it! I started buying it pretty much every week and I continued to love it more and more. Until one day I decided I would make a kale salad from one of my most trusted blogs. I loved cooked kale, so why not try it raw? Well, it was a disaster. The kale was so firm it was near impossible to eat and the dressing was WAY too strong for me. I resigned myself to the possibility that maybe I just didn’t like raw kale. It was so cheap and delicious when cooked, that I could get over it’s raw toughness. Then one day I stumbled upon this recipe that explained that you have to massage kale first if you want to eat it raw. That’s right. You massage it. And then like magic it’s delicious! You give it a little lovin’ and it gives you the tenderness you always wanted from it. That’s a trade I can make. You should definitely make this beautiful, delicious salad!
Apple Cranberry Kale Salad
- 1 bunch of kale
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 apple chopped
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (could use another kind of nut or sunflower seeds)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Wash and chop kale into bite-sized pieces and place in bowl with salt. Massage for two minutes or until dark green and tender. If you think it has been massaged enough, taste a piece and continue to massage if it is not tender enough for you. Add cranberries, chopped apple, and chopped peanuts and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad and toss again.
Recipe lightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
STEP BY STEP PHOTOS
Chop kale into bite sized pieces as shown above. Fold leaf in half and cut the leaves from the tough stem. Then chop the leaves into bite sized pieces.
Put the cut leaves in a bowl with the salt. Now here comes the fun part. Massage that kale! Massage it for about 2 minutes or until it is dark green and tender. If you think it’s done, just give one of the leaves a taste. If it’s still tough, keep massaging. If you think it’s tender enough, continue with the recipe!
This is what the kale will look like after massaging. It will be dark and reduced in volume.
Add the cranberries, chopped apple, and chopped peanuts. Toss to combine.
Mix together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Plate and enjoy! For a truly sublime meal, pair it with a delicious smoothie!
P.S. I added a new page to the site for my recipe bucket list! Check it out!