Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Raw Kale Salad with Miso Curry Dressing

I'm home from a quiet weekend spent in Ossipee, New Hampshire.  A girl could get used to waking up to a lake view each morning, even in the dead of winter, and even if it happens to be frozen.  We had no real agenda, a rarity for me.  I reveled in a few lazy mornings making breakfast while peering through a kitchen window that boasted mountain views in the distance.  I walked our dog along the icy beach, and took the back roads into North Conway on Sunday afternoon for a lazy drive.  We walked the quaint side streets, passing the railroad station and a little white church.  There's a general store downtown called Zeb's that I can only describe as reminiscent of walking onto the scene of an old black and white movie.  It's a place with old-fashioned cream soda in glass bottles and a candy counter the length of a football field.  Shelves are stocked with maple syrup, honey, jams, jellies, and hot sauce.  Local soaps, beauty products, and candles can be found in the back room and pots and pans upstairs.

After careful consideration, I decided on some Lake Champlain chocolates and a giant homemade peanut butter cup for a friend, which has taken a serious dose of restraint on my part to keep my hands off of.  We strolled along the streets in the midst of some unseasonably warm weather, which was unfortunate for the ski resorts, but fortunate for us.  We left our coats in the car and soaked up some sun along the way.  The typical snow capped mountains were covered in slush.  Even the local skating rink was melted.  We passed the Eastern Slope Inn, a place my brother and I stayed in as kids, which is now home to Flatbread.  I've been to quite a few of their locations both back home and in Vermont, and it never disappoints.  I couldn't leave North Conway without having this pizza.  The concept here is simple and commendable.  They pride themselves on creating partnerships with the local community in each of their locations.  Cheese and organic produce are from local farms and beers on tap are from local breweries.  Pizzas are made in a wood fired clay oven and sauce in a giant black cauldron, much like I would imagine how a witch crafts her potion.  I love a place that let's it all hang out, the whole process on display.  I happily polished off a pesto pizza with sliced tomatoes and local goat cheese.  I rode home to Massachusetts with a tuckered out dog on my lap and a full belly.  I hope to make my way back there soon.

When I got home that night, I sat with a cup of tea and a few new cookbooks that have been demanding my attention since opening them on Christmas.  There's nothing I love more than a new cookbook.  I devour them much like I do a good novel, in linear fashion from start to finish.  Many take up space in the wooden bookcase in our office, but the ones that really win me over reside in my kitchen.  They are the well-worn standbys, covered in stains and splotches, and tagged with neon sticky tabs.  Perhaps there is no better compliment for a cookbook author.  Since the year has come to a close, I have to say, there is no other book that has captivated me quite as much as Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day this year.  I'm sure you own it, drool over the photos, and have worn it down just as much.  Each time I open it, I notice a new detail and feel inspired to cook something beautiful or perhaps pick up my camera and start exploring.  One of my favorite recipes from this collection is her Miso Curry Delicata Squash.  If you have not tried this, it's a must.  It involves a miso and red thai curry dressing that single handedly converted me to eating raw kale.  Well, it wilts every so slightly after the warm squash combination hits it, but it got me turned onto the idea of raw kale.  And I should let you in on a little secret; it took me months to eat kale cooked, let alone raw.  I have a big crush on this dressing.   

So after a few attempts; three to be exact, I created a similar dressing for my kale salad the following day.  The dressing is a gorgeous vibrant orange.  It's a curious sort; sweet, zesty, and has a bit of kick.  Thick and bold, it's downright delicious.  If you have reservations about eating kale raw, fearing its bitter taste, fear not people.  This dressing will change your mind about all that.  I use this white miso for it's sweet mild flavor and smooth texture.  It works perfectly and stands up well against the hearty kale.  Best of all, this winter salad won't wilt on you.  I've topped it simply with avocado and sesame seeds.  This is the only way I will eat raw kale...for now.  In fact, I find myself craving this salad on many occasions.  Try it for yourself and maybe you'll start craving raw kale too.  It felt great to gorge on some greens after a weekend of indulging.  However, my indulging has not lead to any resolutions this year.  I hope I haven't given you the wrong impression.  I never make any.  They sound so permanent and matter of fact, with no room for budging.  They're not for me.  I need wiggle room.  I am however, always hopeful.  I'd like to replace resolutions with hope.  I certainly have hopes for 2012 and I'd like to share a few, including my hope to continue walking in places like this; places that are quiet and calming, entrenching myself in nature, getting lost in its sounds and surroundings.

I hope to make my way back to this space to devour fiction, getting lost in the twisting turning plots, laughing out loud, and having a good cry.  A good book will do that.  I really enjoyed these, this, and this this past year.  This is on deck.  I've missed this space.  It's so peaceful looking beneath the clothes that are usually strewn upon it.  Most days it resembles a bulky monster, draped in mismatched sweatshirts and pants, straight from the depths of a horror movie.  It tries to intimidate me, mocking my quest for organization and tidiness.  I try to push him back into the closet, pleading with him, but he laughs and relentlessly comes back the following day.  Certainly, this space has room for improvement.  I'll work on it.

I hope to continue writing here in this space I've created, sitting at my desk and watching my words spin into stories.  I hope to become a better writer.  I will keep at it, here with all of you; you who are kind enough to follow along, read my weekly thoughts, try a recipe, and send kind words my way.  I'm grateful for that.  Here's to a quiet weekend getaway, an old time country store, memorable pizza, new cookbooks, old favorites, kale salad, and a touch of hope.  Welcome, 2012.  I'm ready for you.

~Raw Kale Salad Recipe~

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped or shredded (approximately 8 cups)
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds

~Miso Curry Dressing Recipe~
Inspired by Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson

2 tbsp sweet white miso
1/2 tsp red thai curry paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add chopped kale to a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix together miso, red thai curry paste, and lemon juice.  Use the back of a fork to spread and combine the mixture together.  Slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil and combine.  Add dressing to large bowl with kale.  Use your hands to massage and incorporate the dressing into the kale.  Transfer the kale to a serving plate.  Top with chopped avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serves 4.


Clair said...

How beautiful! A giant peanut butter cup sounds amazing.

I'm going to pin this recipe too...I've never made kale raw, but I really want to try it!

Krysta said...

What a gorgeous recipe. Thanks for stopping by my site yesterday. I really like your blog as well. You've got yourself a new follower!

Stephanie said...

Clair, the pb cub does look pretty amazing! If you give the salad a go, let me know how it turns out for you.

Welcome Krysta! Glad you stopped by and thank you for following.

Anna said...

Sigh. I love that picture of the armchair by the window. Even with the holidays over it will be a looong time before I can curl up in one of those and peacefully read a book. Enjoy your break!

Amy said...

Ah what a nice post. I love you "hopes" instead of resolutions. I never seem to make any resolutions come January first every year because I am honestly too flakey and I probably lack a strong backbone. But I think I could try out this idea of hoping for certain things... I loved yours!

Speaking of which, hope you enjoy A Homemade Life. So, so good. And it will make you think about your writing, and how to write better too I think (at least it did for me).

And so excited to try out this raw kale salad! I must admit I've never tried it, I'm always too nervous. I do love cooked kale--even its subtle bitter taste. But I'm ready to try raw kale, especially with a dressing like this. Here's to a new year. :)

Zoe said...

This salad dressing is very interesting. I like its fusion of both Japanese and Thai flavours.

Stephanie said...

Hi Anna-welcome. It does look nice, especially when I clear off the clothes.

Amy, you are too funny! Go with the hopes, it's less pressure and I can't wait to dive into a Homemade Life. I'm reading two books at the same time right now which is not so productive, but it's next up as soon as those are finished. Let me know how the salad works for you if you give it a go :) Happy New Year

Thanks Zoe!

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

Great post! Lake Champlain is a great chocolate to try and we have the same white bowls! Good taste,
Thanks for stopping by Foodness Gracious and have an awesome weekend!

Anonymous said...

mmmm, kale is my favorite - that dressing looks really great i will for sure be trying it. Seeing your pics of Ossipee makes me miss the east coast!! especially this time of year :)

ps: i got my lotus root (and daikon!) at an asian market here in seattle - i literally jumped for joy when i stumbled upon it because i havent been able to find it anywhere else!

Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

This looks like a serious salad that needs to show up at our table more often. I would love to explore New Hampshire more. We drove through it this past fall to take a look at Dartmouth and the state is just gorgeous!!

Stephanie said...

Hi Gerry-thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a nice weekend too.

Cheryl, thanks for the tip, I'll have to see if I can locate one around here. I've been meaning to get my hands on daikon too, so fun! Come back for a visit ;) Although Seattle looks pretty fabulous I must say.

Sarah-You should, it is beautiful. My heart is in New England for sure.

Cookie and Kate said...

I can't ever get enough raw kale salads. Your dressing sounds really good. I just got some miso so I will have to try it!