Overnight Kale Salad with Pomegranate

Yes this is an iPhone shot and you’re lucky to get that these days.

A post! A post! Yeah, I can hardly believe it either, haha. Want to know how I managed it? A paragraph at a time, that’s how. In between model fittings I added to this post bit by bit until it was decent enough to be worthy of the public eye. Or the internet public eye that is. There is a bit of a difference. 😉

This salad was a wonderful breath of fresh air to me as I had been searching for ways to get more kale into my diet. I really liked kale, but had struggled with preparing it myself in the past. Sauteing the deep green leaves on the stovetop was an easy way to start. As the queen of leftovers, though, I found sauteed kale to not be very palatable after the second day. Kale chips weren’t bad, but were difficult to pack without crushing and took time to make in my mini-oven as each batch had to be quite small. The few salads I tried with these tough, ribbed greens were nearly inedible – I am not polygastric, thank you very much.

However, I knew I was on to something when I read about this Overnight Kale Salad. The zesty marinade sounded delicious. The toss-and-leave strategy was perfect for busy/lazy bums like me. And the recipe called for cheese and pomegranate: two of my favorite things. My only concern was that the acid wouldn’t wilt the tough kale leaves enough to be edible or perhaps be too effective and turn my kale into a soggy mess. I needn’t have worried, the end result is a totally delicious, fully edible salad that has been tested by yours truly again and again.

Overnight Kale Salad with Pomegranate (adapted slightly from Women’s Health)

Ingredients:

3   T   white wine vinegar

2   cloves garlic, finely minced (~1 rounded T)

1   T   honey

1   T   EVOO

1   t   salt

pinch of black pepper

little squirt of fresh lemon juice

1   bunch of dinosaur or curly kale, ribs removed, torn into bite-sized pieces

1   C   pomegranate seeds

1   C   grated, fresh parmesan cheese *

* Note: I go a little crazy with the pomegranate and cheese because they are just so good and I love lots of texture in my foods (crunchy seeds, soft cheese, firm kale). Feel free to scale back a bit here if you wish. I won’t judge.

Procedure:

1. Whisk together vinegar, garlic, honey, EVOO, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, toss kale with dressing until coated evenly. STOP: don’t panic! The dressing will seem ridiculously light, I know, but the kale will wilt to nearly half its size in the acid bath. Try these proportions after fully resting first before doubling your dressing or you may regret it.

3. Cover bowl air-tight with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight in the fridge. In the morning, give the salad a good toss before serving – it should have about half the volume as before. Will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge (gotta love vinegar).

Beezer’s Notes:

This has become one of my favorite salads of all time and is perfect for winter when you’re struggling to be healthy while still satisfying that cold-induced hunger. Now I know I’m technically posting this in the Spring, but since we’re still getting snow here I think I’m justified. Another bonus? This lovely dish tastes even better as leftovers! The longer it sits the more the flavors develop and meld, so it is perfect for those of us who want very flavorful meals in very little time.

Overall Enjoyment:  ♥        

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Peach and Walnut Salad

With all these cookies our kitchen has been seeing recently, I thought I might try to balance things out a little bit by sharing this salad recipe. I know, I know… it’s not *quite* as exciting as candy-laden blobs of heaven…but I wouldn’t bother to share something as simple as a salad if it weren’t one heck of a delicious salad. Lucky for you, this one is! 🙂

I’d also like to share something that comes from another, older corner of my life: gaming. With the move, grad school, and general lifestyle upheavals I haven’t gamed much in the past year unless you count the occasional Machinarium replays or Plants vs. Zombies iPhone addiction I had last fall. In the past, though, I used to log hours on Day of Defeat and Counter Strike with my two younger brothers and even my dad. As an ex-marine and sharpshooter, my dad was actually hilarious to play with (think technophobe with military know-how). I’ve also played WoW on and off since 2007 and have dabbled in other RPGs, but the first-person shooters will always be in my top faves.

Why am I telling you this? Because as a female gamer who prefers “violent” games I’ve come across my fair share of trolls (to put it nicely)…but nothing like what some gals are putting up with these days. I just listened to an NPR broadcast dedicated to online harassment in games which, in turn, led me to discover the amazing blogs Fat, Ugly, or Slutty and Not in the Kitchen Anymore. I also learned about the sexual harassment of Miranda Pakozdi that was broadcast live in front of a world-wide audience. That’s right: broadcast live. For five days. The poor girl finally forfeited the competition just to escape the source of the harassment: her coach.

The silver lining to all this is that it’s starting to make the news and not just gamer mags. I mentioned the NPR program, but there has also been a BBC radio documentary, articles in the New York Times and Forbes, numerous other digital posts, and a cute but informative video by PAX TV’s Extra Credits. Hopefully with more and more people – women AND men – standing up for decent human behavior, trash talking will remain just that: harmless jabs about someone’s leet skillz (or lack thereof) instead of crossing the line into something disgusting, degrading, and completely unacceptable.

Peach and Walnut Salad (from Women’s Health July/August ’12 edition)

* serves 4 as a side or 2 for an entrée *

Ingredients:

3   ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges

3   Cups arugula

4   oz.   fresh mozzarella, cut into 1″ cubes

2   T   chopped walnuts or pecans

3   T   EVOO

2   T   white wine vinegar

1   C   fresh basil

¼   t   salt

Procedure:

1) In a large bowl, toss together peaches, arugula, mozzarella, and nuts. Put oil, vinegar, basil, and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

2) Divide peach salad among serving plates and drizzle with basil oil dressing.

Beezer’s Notes:

I promise you, if you are attempting to have a salad instead of cookies this is the salad to have. You’ll enjoy sweet peaches, soft cheese, slightly bitter greens, and crunchy nuts – all drizzled with a zingy pesto-like dressing. This salad manages to be light and filling at the same time, perfect for summer. Plus, with enough of these you could maybe justify your next batch of cookies (or at least, that’s what I tell myself, haha).

Overall Enjoyment:  ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Mango Mint Salsa

Ever since my Mango Lassi breakthrough a few months ago I’ve been searching for other fun and simple ways of using mangoes to freshen up my diet. They usually never make it into a recipe – being sliced and eaten shortly after purchase – but after seeing an alluring photo of mango salsa in a magazine recently, I was able to refrain from munching long enough to dice up my own version. I hope I don’t insult anyone by posting a “recipe” so simple. It isn’t even much of a recipe, more like guidelines, since all amounts are solely dependent on personal preference. Either way, I couldn’t resist sharing something this colorful and yummy!

Mango Mint Salsa

Ingredients:

2     fresh, ripe mangoes

½   green bell pepper

½   small, white onion

2    plum tomatoes

handful of fresh mint leaves

1    small lemon

1   small lime

pinch of salt

Procedure:

  1. Carefully peel and dice mangoes. Mince green pepper and onion. Dice up the tomatoes (I used plum because I’m not a fan of gooey tomato centers, but feel free to use whatever kind you’d like. That goes for the bell pepper as well). Finally, mince the mint leaves.
  2. Throw all ingredients in a medium bowl, including the pinch of salt. Juice the lemon and lime right over the bowl and toss the mix to coat.
  3. Serve immediately with chips, pita slices, on sandwiches, or salads. Also excellent after a night covered in the fridge…any time longer than that I can’t say as my batch was quickly consumed by all parties in less than 24 hours.

Beezer’s Notes:

First, I’m going to be a bit annoying and address semantics for a sec. Perhaps this veggie/fruit mix isn’t so much of a “salsa” as it is a “salad”; one of my lovely tasters made the comment that she always thought of a salsa as something tomato-based. The Wonderful World of Wiki describes salsa as “any type of sauce…in American English, it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato based, hot sauces typical of Mexican and Central American cuisine.” There are plenty of drier, non-tomato based (or even tomato-less!) sauces described as salsas, though – no spice required. Look at this lovely pineapple number for example. So, taking cue from those more experienced than I, I’ll continue to call my mix a “salsa”.

Naming aside, it is definitely delicious either way. I’ve never had a juicier salsa and the addition of mint pulled the flavors together in such a way that each bite screamed SUMMER to me. The flavors were light and zangy, the textures blended well but were also contrasting enough to be interesting, …and look at those colors! Aren’t the keys to culinary success something like: fresh ingredients, different textures, different colors? Check, check, and check!

Overall Enjoyment: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

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