Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans


I'm officially eating kale. 

Kale is such a thing. 

It's a super food, apparently. It's hipper than arugula, better for you than chard, and way more exciting than lettuce. 

Why kale?

Well, my sweet darlings. 

Being an almost 20 year old is really bizarre and complicated sometimes. And if kale will make my life more hipper, more better and more exciting, I am so down.  

Also, Fleetwood Mac lyrics have officially become my life. There's this line from the song "You Make Loving Fun" that pretty much sums it up: 

I do believe, in the miracles, but I've a feeling it's time to try
I do believe, in the ways of magic, but I'm beginning to wonder why

Right now I like to think that my official eating of kale as well as my official return to running and dance will be my miracles. 

I've a feeling it's time to try. 



Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans
from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

This is really good. I forgot some things, like the cheese and pecans. But by all means. Do it. Go crazy. XOXO 

1/2 cup pecans
8 ounces kale (recommended varieties, Tuscan, Lacinato, Cavolo Nero, Black)
4 ounces radishes
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white white vinegar
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey 
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spread the pecans on a tray. Toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

Wash your kale and let it dry on spread out kitchen or paper towels. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. 

Thinly slice the radishes, and add them to the bowl. Coarsely chop the pecans and cherries and add them as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss the salad until it is evenly coated with dressing. This salad is great to eat right away, but even better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing. 

Peas and Shells Alfredo

I write you from a distinctly uncool coffee shop. I'm people watching and admiring the faint outline of a sign that used to say OYSTERS. 

I feel quiet. 

I love it when you know that Life is Happening, and things are exciting. 
Life is Happening is events: the party where you meet someone new, or a conversation that changes you, or a new job or move. 
When Life is Happening it feels like the gears of a watch are clicking into place. 

You can almost hear it. 

I used to believe that the exciting, crazy "Life is Happening" moments, are when you become who you are, and know what you're about. 

Now I think, that maybe those moments are just the product of the quiet, thoughtful days where nothing is really going on. The days when you're quietly and slowly figuring out how to make the dial of your watch click forward on your own. 

I made this pasta with some of the people I love the most. 
We had a round of toasts and then ate and laughed together. 
I realized then, that maybe, becoming the person you want to be, can be as simple as eating the meal you want to eat, with the people you want to eat it with. 

Maybe I'm all wrong. 

But I swear, this pasta made me feel like all the gears in all my watches were clicking into place. 

Peas and Shells Alfredo
from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman 

Yield: serves 2 generously or 4 petitely. (We made extra, so about a pound of pasta.) 

Salt to taste
1/2 pound dried small pasta shells
1 cup fresh shelled peas (about 1 pound in the pod, but we used canned peas because we're lazy)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cooking according to package instructions. Add peas to cook during the last 30 seconds of pasta cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, and set aside. Drain the pasta and the peas together. 

Dry out the pasta pot and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook it until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with freshly ground black pepper, add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth, then toss in the drained pasta and peas. Cook the pasta in sauce for 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen the sauce. 

Divide the pasta among bowls. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and the flat-leaf parsley. 

Note: We also added the meat of one rotisserie chicken, mushrooms and some shredded spinach. For extra goodness. 

Greek Salad

You begin with cucumbers.

Add tomatoes.

Then olives and feta.

Then some dressing and your favorite herbs and then toss things like life depends on it.

And then sit down and eat it with some bread and grilled chicken and thank god that it's summer.

Greek Salad
from Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, minced or basil, if you're so inclined
10 small heirloom tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 European or hothouse cucumber (1 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into half moons or whatever
8 ounces Greek feta cheese, cubed (about 2 cups)

In a large, shallow bowl, combine the lemon juice and sea salt and whisk to blend. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the oregano, and whisk to blend. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and olives, and toss to blend. Scatter with the feta and remaining oregano or basil. Eat.

Avocado + Grapefruit Salad

Let me tell you about something wonderful


It's juicy and pink pink pink and lusty and sweet and bitter and sour and ZANGY.

This is a salad featuring avocado, and grapefruit.

You begin by peeling a grapefruit.
Then you section it and get rid of all the thick, pale, membraneous skin, just because.
You peel and slice a whole avocado. Yes a whole avocado. Just for you.

This is a very luxerious salad.

Arrange the grapefruit and the avocado on a sprightely bed of winter lettuce.
Spread delicate webs of your finest prociutto over the top.
Toss gently with a simple vinaigrette.
For the clueless, here is how you make a vinaigrette. It's 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Or Three teaspoons olive oil to 1 teaspoon vinegar. Add pepper and salt to taste.
Douse salad with vinaigrette.
But not too much.
Toss salad gently.
Tossing is the most important part.


p.s. you can add blueberries, if you're feeling fancy.