Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A New Kale Salad (for me)

This salad is inspired by the restaurant Salvio Volpe and a blog site of which I cannot remember the name - but it seems to be written by a woman in perhaps New York state, and the theme is 'getting shit done' or something like that. I think she used to write for the New York times, if she doesn't still do so. Humorous blog....wish I could remember the name.

One of the things I love about this salad is that it reminds me of my sister as I stand, precisely mincing the kale into even, delicate shreds (the perfect size to get stuck in my teeth!). It is a super easy salad that can be made up of only a few ingredients (kale, oil, lemon, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper) as a side salad but also expands out nicely to a texturally rich one dish meal with the addition of chicken, beluga lentils, etc.

This salad lasts days in the fridge, dressed (add the cheese and hemp just before serving to keep the textures defined). The dressing is a riff on a Ceasar salad dressing. You could substitute apple cider dressing, or create a lighter salad (less oil) by just tossing the greens with a really nice (but NOT $200 dollar nice) balsamic dressing and olive oil.

Ingredients for the Giant Bowl (as seen above) - serves 10 standard servings (maybe 12)

3 bunches kale (I used one bunch black, one bunch curly green and one bunch curly purple)
Approximately 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup hemp seeds
1 cup olive oil
2 lemons
6 to 8 white anchovies, rinsed in tepid/warm water
2 cloves garlic
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Chop the kale into thin slices, then chop across these roughly every 1/2 inch to give you delicate, finely sliced kale. Transfer the kale to a large bowl.
2.Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and whirl until smooth.
3. Toss the kale with 3/4 of the salad dressing - reserve the rest to adjust the final salad balance. If the remaining dressing is not needed for the kale salad, reserve for other salads in the fridge.
4. You can either store the salad as is in the fridge, and top with cheese and hemp seeds as needed, or if you are serving the whole thing in one evening, toss in the cheese and hemp seeds, fluff a bit so you get a nice colour and textural mix and serve.

One of my favourite flavour combinations is kale with pecans, so of course as soon as I started eating the bowl pictured above, I made the following addition - so you can also consider adding toasted pecans. The pecans pictured below are salt and peppered for extra punch.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Puffy Eyes, the Smell of Raw Chicken and Other Horrible Things

This post is not for Jenny, the most positive person I know.

I love cooking. I love thinking about food, the history, the politics, the flavours, the weird cultural practices, the chemistry and of course the actual practice of cooking and eating.

On the other hand, after a life of being immersed in it, there are also many things to do with cooking that annoy me (that is putting it mildly). What follows is a short list of my favourite cooking hates.

  • Puffy eyes from onslaught of tears due to chopping onions
  • Peeling sticky sweet garlic (love the results HATE peeling the thin film that refused to release)
  • Cooking show cooks who talk nostalgically about how their mom influenced their career
  • Washing spinach
  • The smell of raw chicken
  • Prepackaged fish cakes
  • Green peppers - unless literally just picked of a plant and eaten within ten minutes
  • Being sprayed with greywater
  • Correction - having even a drop of grey water on me
  • Smelling like lamb after cooking of a ton on the bbq
  • Any amount of water inside rubber gloves 
  • Lemon and chocolate combined in any form
  • Water running down my sleeves
  • Those cooks who spent their youth in university, then decided to become a chef, resulting in a unsubstantiated kitchen arrogance (its not all of you, just a memorable few)
  • Most farm raised fish (i don't have a problem with guppies)
  • I don't really like washing lettuce either
  • Washing dishes that did not need to be dirtied
  • Stinky washcloths, tea towels etc
  • Dogs in the kitchen (at home) - don't really like the cats there either
  • Dirty dishes in a sink of cold water in the morning
  • Wooden items left in water
  • Wet spots on the floor
  • Pancakes turned too many times (hahaha Michael, hope you are reading this)
  • Loose vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets) in plastic bags from the grocer 
  • Fish cleaned inside the house, or any building
  • Burning nuts - because it is, at the very minimum, the third hundredth time i have done it
  • Boards not being bleached immediately after working with chicken (its the smell!)
Wow, that was satisfying.

Anyone want to add their dislikes to the comments field? Tag! You are it!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Perhaps a New Years Resolution Bubbling Here

Not the best food photo, but it appears I am well out of practice.

New Years dinner was simple and light on the palette, while the flavour was beautifully intense. A combination of reduced chicken stock and mussel broth essence gave this seafood soup the taste of a lobster bisque.

I made the dish from my head, so there is no recipe. Pretty basic though. Sauteed a few shallots with tiny dice carrots, deglazed with dry prosecco, added a few threads of saffron. Cooked mussels in the this, then pulled them out and shelled most of them, saving a few whole mussels for garnish.

Heated the concentrated chicken stock in another pan, added halibut chunks, large east coast scallops (cut in half against the grain) and prawns, cooked until all the fish was translucent. Seasoned with salt, pepper and a small splash of whip cream to lighten the colour. Then dumped in the mussels with their broth (essence), simmered for a few more minutes (maybe two - just to heat the mussels) until the seafood was just hot, sprinked with minced chives. Taste for seasoning, adjust and serve with baguette.

Wishing you all the best in 2018.