Kelli here, everyone!
When I woke up the other day, I struggled to get out of bed because for the first time in quite awhile—well OK months—I heard birds chirping outside our bedroom windows! It was such a delight and music to my ears. Spring! And, yes, while it doesn’t look as though winter is leaving anytime soon, there are signs that springs is, in fact, on the way. During these winter and spring months we are flush with many healthy greens but one of my all time favorites is Tuscan Kale (also known as Dino Kale, Lacinato Kale, Black Kale or Cavolo Nero). Known to be the flat kale with dark laves, the taste is nutty and sweet when young and develops a slight bitter taste as it matures, so be sure to look for a bunch with smaller leaves. This trendy vegetable is getting the spotlight for good reason. I’m sure you have already heard all the health benefits of kale, but here are some additional reasons to love kale.
First, let’s take a quick look at kale. It is a part of the Brassicaceae family—think collards, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and arugula. This healthy family offers great things for us like high amounts of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, as well as exceptionally high levels of vitamin C and manganese. And those are just some of the health benefits. As far in the kitchen, they are versatile, sturdy, maintain a longer shelf life, and taste great both cooked and raw. When I buy kale, one of the first things I do when I unpack the groceries is cut up my kale (and cabbage) for my lunch salads all week. I don’t do this with all my greens, but have found that this makes prepping a quick salad easy and encouraging, when I might rather go out. The kale and cabbage will hold up nicely all week with a damp towel in a plastic bag or a glass jar.
Inspired by my love for this dino kale and the fact that it is still winter, I am going to share my kale and red cabbage salad that I seem to be eating A LOT lately. Its hearty, crunchy texture holds up great to the sweet and nutty flavors in the tahini, miso, and honey dressing. And I just love the little pop of sweetness from the dried currants and nutty crunch from the toasted almonds—though you could use whatever nuts you have in the pantry.
Dino Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Tahini, Miso and Honey Dressing
- 1 Bunch of Small Tuscan Kale
- 1/2 One Small Head of Red Cabbage
- 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1/2 of English Cucumber
- 1/2 Avocado
- 1/4 Dried Currants- (or other small dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or cherries)
- 1/4 Toasted Almond Slices
- 1 Blood Orange; Supreme the orange into segments**
Thinly slice kale, cabbage, bell pepper, cucumber, and avocado into small pieces easy to pick up with your fork.
Toast almonds by placing them into a small cast iron pan over medium-high heat, shaking every couple of minutes until fragrant and begin to turn light golden brown. This happens quickly so I recommend you stay focused here. I can’t even tell you how many pans of almonds I have burned because I was not paying attention or turned around to pour a glass of wine and when I came back to the pan, they were beyond toasted.
Supreme Blood Orange. ** This is a rather simple technique for cutting your citrus into segments where you remove the seeds, pith, connective tissues and membranes so you can serves the slices. To do this, first, you want to cut the top and bottom of the citrus so you can place it flat onto your cutting board. Second, place your fingers on the top of the citrus, cut away the rind and pith around the entire piece of fruit by making small slices as close to the fruit as you can and just deep enough to remove the bitter pith and rind. Then, you want to hold the fruit in your hand so you can see the seams where the connective tissue is from that of the citrus segments. Next, you want to have a bowl ready to catch the citrus juices. Slip the knife between one of the segments and the connective membrane. Cut until you reach the middle of the fruit, but don’t cut through any of the middle membrane. Go slowly and keep your fingers out of the way! Cutting yourself while cutting citrus is some serious torture. Now, you want to be sure you do this for each side of each segment so you end up with citrus segments without any of the tough connective tissue. Continue around the entire piece of fruit and boom—you just supremed an orange!
Place All ingredients in a bowl. Large enough to toss with dressing. Set aside and make dressing.
- 2 Tablespoons Tahini
- 1 Tablespoon White Miso
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated with a micro-plane
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon Tamari
- 3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
Whisk together all ingredients until fully blended. Place into jar. Whatever you don’t use will keep for 2–3 weeks in the refrigerator.
If you are interested in learning more about greens—how to prepare them, what to prepare them with, and basic prep techniques—please join us this spring for our Spring Greens Workshop coming in April. Also, head over to The Agrarian Collective website and sign up for our newsletter so you can learn about new workshops, events, and offerings before we go public!
Next time, we will talk about how to plan and prepare for a garden and what CSA options there are in Greater Cleveland. Until then, stay warm and we hope to see you at our Winter Warmer Workshop next Thursday, March 6th!
Kelli Hanley-Potts is the creative culinary force behind The Agrarian Collective, a business dedicated to reconnecting you to the lost art of home-making. She travels with her “Field Kitchen” to many beautiful areas of Northeast Ohio, passionately sharing her skills and enriching many lives with recipes based on seasonal and sustainable ingredients. She can be found here every other Tuesday sharing stories, tips, and recipes inspired by her charming country-meets-city lifestyle. The beautiful photography is by her lovely sister, Maureen Cari, of Knotty Pine Photography.