(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.

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Thanksgiving Feast 2013

Here’s a recap of the dishes I prepared for Thanksgiving.  Please forgive the poorly-lit sometimes blurry iPhone photography.  I didn’t follow a recipe for anything, but I’ll list the ingredients I used.

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Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberries
Juice and zest of an orange
White sugar
Water

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Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Salt + pepper

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Butternut Squash Chestnut Soup
Onions
Red bell pepper
Butternut squash
Chestnut paste
Coconut milk
Water
Salt + pepper
Cayenne pepper
Rubbed sage

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Roasted Golden Beets with Cashew Cream
Golden beets
Raw Cashews
Tahini
Lemon juice
Water
Salt

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Potato Galette
Red potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Salt + pepper

I know it looks awful in the picture but it was amazingly delicious.  Next time, I won’t put any sweet potatoes on the bottom layer because they caramelized a little too much.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roasted acorn squash
Farro
Dried cranberries
Almonds
Chickpeas
Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses
Salt + pepper

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I also baked an apple pie and made a huge batch of whipped coconut cream, but we were all too full to eat any dessert tonight.

What did you eat for Thanksgiving?

Food Prep Friday – May 24, 2013 Edition

I am fortunate to have a job with a schedule that’s usually very flexible. I prefer to get my 40 hours in by Thursday to give myself 3-day weekends most weeks. Since my Friday workouts are usually short (1 – 2 hours), I like to take advantage of the extra free time to plan my meals and prepare my food for the week. I find this helps me eat healthier, save time, and reduce my food spending.

Throughout the week, I maintain a shopping list that I add to as things run out in my kitchen or I find new recipes to try. Sometimes I get impulsive and add items I don’t need and later cross them off. I save my grocery trip until Friday, when I receive my weekly produce delivery from Farm Fresh to You. I edit my shopping list based on the items in my box.

This week, I received:

3 fuji apples
2 Hass avocados
4 apricots
1 clamshell of blueberries
2 bell peppers
2 HUGE eggplants
1 bunch of broccoli
1 bunch of carrots

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Here’s my final shopping list for the week (I know I’m a huge nerd for using engineering paper).20130524-101635.jpg

After I completed my grocery shopping extravaganza, I came home and prepared…

1.5 cups of Basil pesto.  This is great to mix in with quinoa or spread on tomato slices.

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5 cups of steel-cut oats and a boat-load of quinoa.IMG_3990

5 roasted sweet potatoes for snacking.  IMG_3992My first-ever batch of homemade almond milk.  It’s so easy, I don’t know why I waited so long to try it.  Oh She Glows does a great job of breaking down the process step-by-step.  The almond pulp by-product looks like it would make a nice addition to smoothies and oatmeal.

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Most importantly, I prepared fuel for my long ride tomorrow!

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Usually, I would also cook a couple types of beans, but I decided against it today because I still have some chickpeas and black beans from last week.