Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sesame Kale Salad

If you follow me on Facebook, you know by now that I am in love with kale.  I talk about it all the time! I finally got up the nerve to try raw kale again (after my first experience with raw kale salad, which was, shall we say, uninspiring).  And boy am I glad I did!  I bought a package of pre-washed kale with shredded red cabbage and carrots, and made the simple vinaigrette recipe listed on the back.  Fantastic!  But I love to tinker, and I made what I think is a perfect intro to raw kale salad for those who've never had it.

If you can find it, pre-washed and prepared, packaged kale is a great way to go.  Trader Joe's always has it, as does Whole Foods, and probably other health food grocery stores.  If not, buy one large bunch of kale, or two if they are small.  To prepare it, fold each leaf in half and tear the leaf off the tough stem.  (You can eat the stems, but they are very fibrous and will give your jaw a workout!)  Wash well, once or twice, especially if it's curly kale - dirty kale is yucky!  You can use a veggie peeler on the carrots to get thin slivers and a knife to chop the cabbage finely, or just use a food processor, if you have one.  You don't want to shred them like in coleslaw, though - this is a chewy, satisfying salad.

The secret to the dressing is tahini.  Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds, and is key in making your own hummus.  It's a nice thing to have around, and keeps in the fridge for a long time.  Otherwise, you probably have everything else you need.  Ready for raw kale salad?  This recipe will make you a believer!

Sesame Kale Salad


  • 1 bag prepared kale, or 2 small bunches kale, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 2 large carrots, or ten baby carrots, peeled and shredded or sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 small head red cabbage, sliced very thinly
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, honey, or other sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a very large bowl, or preferably a very very large Tupperware container with a lid, mix together the kale, carrots, cabbage and sesame seeds.
  2. In a small Tupperware container with a lid, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Shake it up!  Then pour over the salad.  If you are using a container with a lid, shake to combine.  Really move it around!  If you don't have a lid, toss well for a few minutes, or use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale.  The dressing will help soften up the kale.  Let the salad sit at room temperature or in the fridge for half an hour before serving.
This salad is so sturdy, it's good the next day - even TWO days later!  Try putting a dressed lettuce salad in the fridge and eating it a day later.  You won't like it.  This one is better the next day because the dressing penetrates the veggies and makes them chewy and delicious.

Also, try adding in some raisins or a chopped apple.  My husband likes chopped green onion mixed in too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Egg and Olive Salad, and Mayonnaise From-Scratch

This was my favorite lunch when I was a kid: an egg and olive salad sandwich on wheat bread, maybe with a leaf or two of lettuce, and some fruit.  So when my friends and I gathered for an impromptu second-baby shower for a friend, I offered to bring tea sandwiches.  Cucumber, of course, and a chicken salad with chutney, and these egg and olive salad sandwiches.  None of my friends had had this combination before and were surprised that I hadn't invented it.  I don't know if it's an East Coast thing and my California-born friends had never come across it before, but I realized that I have to share this tasty secret!

 This recipe is pretty bare bones, and that's how I like it.  Like any other salad, people like to add different things; please feel free to doctor this as you see fit.   If you are watching your carbs or are cutting out refined and processed foods, skip the bread and serve on lettuce leaves - either in little bundles in butter lettuce leaves, or down the middle of a romaine leaf.

Also included is my recipe for homemade mayonnaise.  You certainly don't have to take this extra step for egg and olive salad (or tuna salad or potato salad or whatever) - but it's tasty and fresh, so why not? This recipe is a great starting place for aioli or creamy salad dressings.  And of course, as with any from-scratch recipe, you know what's in it, so you can avoid allergens, preservatives, stabilizers, et cetera.  If you have a blender, why not give it a try?  (Insert obligatory warning about raw eggs and people who are pregnant or have a compromised immune system.  But you already knew this, right?)

Egg and Olive Salad


  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup green olives (preferably with pimentos)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper (optional)
  1. In a mixing bowl, use two knives to roughly chop the eggs.  Don't mash it, but don't leave the chunks of egg too big.  Mix in the mayo and mustard.  Check for consistency - you may want a little more mayo, it's up to you.
  2. Chop the olives and mix into the egg salad.  Taste - you'll probably want to add some pepper, but  it might already be salty enough from the olives.  Serve on bread or lettuce leaves.

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg (as fresh as possible - splurge for farmer's market eggs if you can)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, or dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup very light olive oil, or half olive oil and half grape seed oil
  1. In a blender, combine egg, mustard, salt and vinegar.  Blend until light yellow and frothy.
  2. Take off the little cap in the top of the blender lid, and through the whole, with the blender running, add a drop of oil at a time.  Seriously, it's going to seem like it this is going to take forever, but if you add too much at one time, the mayonnaise will "break" and won't get creamy; it'll get clumpy and gross.  So go SLOOOW.  After a minute of adding a few drops at a time, you can add the rest in a very very thin stream, stopping every few seconds.  Soon you'll have smooth, thick mayo, ready for whatever you have planned for it.  
This keeps in the fridge for about a week.  I like using it to make Curried Chicken Salad!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Greek Salad

I don't know about you, but I made a New Year's resolution to eat better, and so far, I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping it.  (I'm patting myself on the back right now!)  A big part of that is to eat more veggies and less refined carbohydrates.  This Greek Salad recipe is a wonderful place to start if your resolution is the same as mine.  Lots of fresh vegetables, different textures, and a light, bright vinaigrette keeps things interesting.  Want to give it a try?  I'm blogging today at Girlfriends Coffee Hour.  Follow me there for the recipe!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos are a little bite of Southern California, via Baja, Mexico.  You can't have a few of these yummy tacos and a beer and NOT imagine you are near the Pacific Ocean.  If you don't live here, and don't have a Wahoo's or Green Burrito close by, you can make these at home, in a jiffy.  The key ingredient?  The lowly fish stick.  These are muy sabroso (very tasty!) and super easy.  Check out my recipe at GCH: What's on Your Plate!