Thai-Inspired Kale and Carrot Salad

Thai Kale Salad

Last week, I participated as a featured food blogger (woo!) in a kale-centric event at kor180, an indoor cycling and pilates studio in downtown Austin. It was a blast! I demo-ed one of my recipes, met a ton of awesome members of the Austin fitness and cooking community, and generally had a great time.

Obviously I was jazzed to attend a party ALL ABOUT KALE, and also unsurprisingly, I put an Asian twist on my salad recipe. What can I say? Sometimes I’m pretty predictable. In this case it was a good thing, as my recipe turned out really well, if I do say so myself. It’s crunchy, salty, sour, a little sweet, and a little spicy. Plus it’s veeeerrry easy to make and totally good for you. What’s not to love?!

Thai-Inspired Kale and Carrot Salad

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Healthy Decadence: Kale and Avocado Salad

Kale Avocado Salad

We’re deep into my salad season right now. You know that time of year – it’s so hot and sticky outside that I barely have an appetite after being out in the sun, and the last thing I feel like doing is standing over the stove. These are the days where a giant bowl of cool, fresh greens is the perfect light dinner. Added bonus: you’re eating super healthfully, meaning you won’t feel bloated and gross after your meal and you won’t dread wearing a tanktop in public. Win-win!

This recipe actually wasn’t created by me (gasp!) – it’s adapted from one courtesy of Saveur. Normally I wouldn’t bother following someone else’s recipe for a salad, for goodness’ sake, but this particular one popped up in one of my weekly Saveur email newsletters and I just couldn’t resist. After all, kale and avocado are two of my favorite foods. This dish is super, super simple, but it really doesn’t need anything extra. The luxurious creaminess of the avocado feels decadent enough to make this whole salad a treat, and the fresh citrus juices and soy are a lovely complement. It’s safe to say that I’ll be eating this a LOT for the rest of the summer… and beyond.

Kale and Avocado Salad

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Chenopod Cooking: Spicy Coconut Kale Quinoa

When it comes to side dishes, I’m a creature of habit. I’m obsessed with dark, leafy greens like kale and chard. I’m also really into quinoa lately. Fun fact, ES friends: did you know quinoa isn’t a grain? It’s a “chenopod” (What is that? Real talk: I’m not sure.) Apparently, it’s more closely related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweed. Maybe tumbleweed will be the next hot food trend! You heard it here first.

Anyway, since I use quinoa so much in my cooking, I need to find ways to keep it interesting. One of my favorite methods is to cook it in coconut milk rather than water or broth, which gives it a slightly creamier texture. To balance out the sweetness of the coconut, I add lots of salt and spices. This is a very adaptable base; you can mix in whatever herbs and vegetables you desire.

Spicy Coconut Kale Quinoa

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This Week at the Farmers Market: Get Your Leek On

Editor’s Note: New ES-er Nina, an NYC-based writer behind The Leafy Kitchen will be bringing us a new weekly column sharing her best ways for cooking up the season’s farmers market finds. First up: leeks!

PHOTO: h-bomb

One time, while checking out at Whole Foods, the young cashier looked my giant leek up and down, gave a shrug and then asked me what the hell it was. So, OK, if you’ve never cooked with a leek before, I guess you are forgiven. But C’MON. For those of you who need a refresher, leeks are a sister of the onion, related to scallions, chives, shallots and garlic. Leeks have a delicate, sweet flavor and won’t make you cry! They’re quite pretty, too: when you slice them, the layers come apart into dozens of perfect circles.

PHOTO: maeve

In the Northeast, onions and their kin are happiest in the early spring, so it’s not surprising that proud, oversized leeks were piled high under every produce tent at the Union Square farmers market this week. I picked up one with firm rooty bulbs and a long, white stem (the more white the better as that is the part you cook with), plus two bunches of kale to create my favorite caramelized leeks and greens that can used in a variety of ways.

Caramelized Leeks with Steamed Greens

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Artsy Photo Series of the Day

Sometimes when I have a baguette at home, I’m too lazy to grab a serrated knife and instead just tear a hunk of bread right off and shove it in my mouth. I used to think that made me a lazy slob, but then I went to Roberta’s Pizza and realized it just makes me adorably rustic! If the most acclaimed restaurant in Brooklyn serves bread that way, it must be classy, right?

More artsy photos from Roberta’s after the jump.

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Bustin’ a Move With Jamaican Jerk Kale Chips

photo: Matthew Wexler

For me, in the battle of savory versus sweet, a bag of chips will trump a pint of ice cream any day. But a recent annual check-up revealed a cholesterol level inching toward the danger zone. While I like to think that I have a sophisticated palette, I’m not beyond polishing off an order of chicken wings during an episode of Dancing with the Stars. (It’s either that or jump out of my 3rd floor window in sheer sequined horror.)

So in an effort to kick off a healthy start to the holidays, I’ve been baking kale chips at home. Kale chips satisfy my savory cravings and are an incredible source of vitamins A, C and K—ack! Vitamin K? This underdog vitamin is important for blood-clotting and bone strength. Two important things for when I’m dancing around my apartment to the monotone musings of Brooke Burke.

Now, we’ve had our fair share of problems mastering kale chips here on ES, so please pay attention.

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Cioppino: Comfort Food Lite

It is May. I realize for many of us that means the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we can all stroll around in sandals. Lest we forget, though, I reside in Seattle, the land of darkness and gloom. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons to love the Pacific Northwest: crisp, clean air, gorgeous views of the mountains and water, athletic and intelligent citizens, lovely green trees everywhere, I can pretend I’m on Twin Peaks, etc… but I’m not gonna front. The fact that it’s officially spring and we are still dealing with rainy, gray 40-something degree days can get very depressing.

To be fair, bummer weather means more time I “get” to spend inside. While everyone else is dancing around on sun-drenched beaches, savoring tropical fruits and sipping on Mai Tais (maybe?! I don’t know what you exotic strangers do in your warm climates!) I have ample opportunities to play around in the kitchen. Last week my friend Kasey and I wanted to cook something soothing to counteract the lame rainy day, but I was sick of heavy, wintry comfort food. We decided to take the best of both worlds – warm and cozy, yet light and healthy – and threw together the perfect cioppino.

 

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