(Fore)play with your food

For years, I thought people were full of shit when they proclaimed their love of kale. I ate it because it’s supposedly good for me, but the gastronomic experience was always bearable, at best. Kale is tough and bitter, how could anyone possibly enjoy eating it?

My opinion changed for the better after trying the “All Hail Kale” salad at Veggie Grill. They somehow managed to make the taste and texture of kale pleasurable. However, my excitement turned to frustration after several failed attempts to recreate the salad at home.

While browsing some seedy websites, I learned that kale requires a bit of foreplay. You need to oil her up and rub her down before she can pleasure your palate (it also to remove a few of her ribs). You see, it turns out that key to good kale is a deep massage that softens its texture and tempers its bitterness.


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Massaged Kale Salad

1 bunch kale (any variety), ribs removed and cut into thin ribbons
juice of 2 lemons (or 1 orange), divided
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional, if you like it hot)
1/2 small onion, minced
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa

In a large bowl, combine kale, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Massage kale until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients. Toss and serve.

Veganized: CPK Pear + Gorgonzola Pizza

Vegan Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza
Yields 2 servings (one large pizza or two personal pizzas)

**Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything when I made this pizza.  The measurements provided below are approximations.

For the ‘gorgonzola’ cream:

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt, to taste

In a food processor, combine cashews, tahini, and lemon juice. Slowly add olive oil while food processor is running, until mixture starts to become smooth. Continue processing until all chunks are gone, about 5 minutes. Add salt and run food processor for one more minute.

For the pomegranate vinaigrette:

1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk mustard, pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue whisking while slowly adding olive oil.

For the pizza:

Prepared pizza dough, I made a half batch of this pizza dough recipe that yields a lot of extra dough to use later
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
salad greens of your choice (I used radicchio)
1 batch ‘gorgonzola’ cream
1 batch pomegranate vinaigrette

Remove pizza dough from fridge 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a pan over medium-high heat.  Cook onions until they are caramelized.

Roll pizza dough to desired thickness on a floured work surface (I used a fist-sized ball of dough for each personal pizza).  Transfer dough to baking sheet.

Assemble pizza(s) by spreading gorgonzola cream over dough, layering pear slices, and sprinkling caramelized onions and chopped hazelnuts.  Bake until crust rises and is slightly crispy.

Toss greens in vinaigrette and place on pizza.

Enjoy!