Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolve (and a recipe for Raw Kale Salad)

Long before the holiday season I decided I wouldn't be making any so-called resolutions this year.   I find the word "resolution" is fraught with too much meaning and undo pressure.  I just don't feel compelled to make proclamations about my quest for betterment (if I'm even on one but let's leave that for another post, shall we?).  When we so often set ourselves up for failure - why do it publicly?

Many people see January 1st as a chance for renewal and in some ways I agree.  There is something motivating about the idea of people coming together to make positive changes.  But the timing is rather arbitrary, don't you think?  As a Jewish woman I also get to start "fresh" after fasting on Yom Kippur.  As an in-law in a predominantly Chinese family I can wipe the slate clean with a strategically timed haircut, new clothes, the sweep of a broom, and the consumption of traditional foods on Lunar New Year.   Is it fair that I get three chances while others only get one?

Maybe it's wisdom.  Maybe it's semantics.  Maybe it's all the therapy.    But as I age (ahem), rather than trying to change myself at artificially prescribed times of the year, I prefer to take stock of what is going on in my life on a continual basis and see what I can do to improve.   I also make an effort to give myself credit for areas where I don't need to to make any adjustments.  I like this approach because it forces me to appreciate all that I have when I am not always a "glass half-full" type.  These mini check-ins are illuminating.  May I be so bold as to suggest you try it this year?   But only if you promise not to resolve to do it.

For those of you who have made healthy resolutions I offer up this recipe for a raw kale salad.  Don't be put off by those three words.  This salad is quite tasty, satisfying and quick to throw together.  It's a mash-up of two of my favorite kale salads of all time with my own additions.  One is from the restaurant Northern Spy and the other is from the always reliable Melissa Clark.  I know many children who love versions of these salads so I will even dare to say this is a child-friendly recipe.

Raw Kale Salad
Adapted from Northern Spy and Melissa Clark
Serves 2-4 depending on the portion size

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale (also referred to as Tuscan, black, or dinosaur kale)
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or mashed to a paste
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 TBS buttermilk (or low fat plain Greek yogurt - these both add creaminess, richness and tang with minimal fat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds or walnuts
  • 1 small green apple, cored and chopped or sliced into matchsticks or about 1/2 cup of red grapes washed and cut into quarters
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Wash and spin the kale dry.
  2. Either shred the kale by piling the leaves up and rolling them together and slicing thinly or tear into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon, buttermilk and salt and pepper and mix well - a whisk works best but some vigorous work with a fork will do the trick.  Adjust to your tastes (I prefer a very acidic dressing).
  4. Add the dressing to the kale and toss to combine.  You can "massage" the dressing into the kale with your hands if you prefer - this helps break down the fibrous kale a bit.
  5. Add in the nuts, apples and cheese and stir to combine.  
  6. Enjoy!

This salad is very adaptable.  Try other add-ins, eliminate the buttermilk, use vinegar instead of lemon.  You get the idea.


Kim Kirstein said...

Sounds great. I also enjoy Aarti's kale salad from Aarti Paarti. Kale is underrated and it is a shame. Happy New Year!

Melissa said...

Thanks, Kim. I will have to try Aarti's recipe.