PENINSULA KITCHEN: Kale offers tasty green way to New Year

IT SHOULDN’T COME as a huge surprise to anyone who knows me or has read many of my columns, that I don’t prescribe to the “New Year, New Me!” construct.

Jan. 1 rolled through at my house and took its place as the beginning of another school and work week with all of the usual trappings: planning meals, taking out the trash, sweeping, doing laundry etc.

Though, the first day of the new year falling on a Monday had me confused about what day it was until Friday.

No, I’m not one to take on new diets or insist that something magical happened overnight between one year and the next to somehow change my attitude about clutter.

I have the utmost respect for those who find inspiration in challenges like this, but it’s not for me.

I prefer a “steady-Betty” approach to living and if I make changes, they tend to be quiet and gradual.

That said, I had a serious hankering for kale salad right about Jan. 3 and it would not relent until I rustled up a lemon vinaigrette and ate a huge bowl.

Kale has taken on a pretty big personality in the food world in the past decade.

Touted as a “miracle food” in some circles, kale is just plain delicious to me and any benefits to my health that come with eating it are a bonus in my estimation.

Incredulous that “kale” and “hankering” belonged in the same sentence, my daughter and her friend ate some with dinner that night and said it tasted like a green smoothie.

I’m not certain if they meant it as a compliment, but I’m taking it as such.

Kale is available almost year-round at the Port Angeles Farmers Market.

If you get a big bunch, make sure to remove the hard ribs and tear the leaves into little pieces.

Baby kale mixes from the grocery store are great for this too.

I had a lemon to use in my fridge, but bottled lemon juice in the vinaigrette works just as well.

I found the amount of dressing in this recipe was too much for one salad, but happily took another to work for lunch the next day.

No matter if you’re hopping onto a new diet, wonder what salad that tastes like green smoothie is like, or if you’ve simply got a hankering for some greens: eat kale and have a joyous new year.

Cranberry apple kale salad with lemon vinaigrette adapted from Ann Timm

4 cups torn kale (ribs removed)

1/3 to ½ cup dried cranberries

1 fuji apple, chopped

handful of chopped cashews or almonds

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1-2 tablespoons honey

1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss kale, apple and cranberries in a large bowl.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper).

Toss the salad with vinaigrette to combine.

________

Carrie Sanford, who shares the Peninsula Kitchen column with Betsy Wharton, is a mother, wife, educator, artist, activist and cook.

She writes the newsletter for Salt Creek Farm in Joyce during the growing season and volunteers with nonprofits and schools in Port Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Tom Sanford, and their daughter, Abby.

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