Sometimes the only way I can cope with driving through Oklahoma is with a bag of sourdough pretzels from the gas station. I prop it up on the middle console and slowly munch through, one by one. Weaving through interstate and tollway traffic makes me anxious, but munching somehow quells that stress. Really though, when all is said and done I just crave something green and fresh. I should start taking kale with me on long road trips…That being said, we made it to Texas and we’re working on getting settled and learning about our new town.
This week I’ll be sharing a few recipes for Thanksgiving as we lead up to the holiday. We won’t be doing much for turkey day this year — we won’t actually receive our furniture and household goods until the middle of the week — but if I was hosting my own dinner these would be some of the classics-with-a-twist that I would be serving. Buuut we’ll probably just eat turkey sandwiches this year.
Kale Jewel Salad was the first thing I made in our new house to take over to a friend’s for dinner, and before then I’d made this salad at least five times before. It’s reliably crunchy and vibrant and can be customized with all manner of ingredients: usually I used purple cabbage in place of radicchio, and I’ve added multiple colors of bell pepper to the mix. The last two times I made the dressing I used the juice of a fresh orange, and then in another instance I used a bright tangerine. It utilizes fresh produce while still highlighting some of the stars of autumn bounty: pomegranate, citrus and dark leafy greens.
The key is to make plenty of dressing and to massage it into the kale — simply rub it into the leaves until they start to wilt gently. Without any dressing, the raw kale is tough and unappetizing. But when oil and an acid are added, the cellulose breaks down just enough to make the greens tender without giving up too much of the crunch. And then they taste like grapefruit, which is always a win in my book.
Now that we’re in Texas I have abundant access to in-state citrus, especially as winter draws nearer. So far I’ve only eaten a half of one grapefruit but I foresee many more in my future. And hopefully, for your benefit, many more grapefruit-themed recipes.
Kale Jewel Salad
1 head of curly kale, washed and torn
2 carrots, shredded or julienne peeled
½ head small radicchio
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 c. fresh pomegranate arils
Tear kale leaves off of the tough stems, then wash and spin dry. Whisk together dressing and massage into kale — set aside to marinate while chopping the rest of the veggies.
Slice bell pepper into strips, grate or julienne peel carrots, shred radicchio or cabbage, and add into kale leaves. Toss to combine and coat with dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils and serve with extra dressing if desired.
Other great additions: diced cucumbers, toasted almonds, cubed avocado, sliced radishes, finely chopped cauliflower, sesame seeds…
Texas Grapefruit Vinaigrette
½ large grapefruit, juiced
1-2 tsp. champagne vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper
Juice half a grapefruit into a small bowl, including as much pulp as can be extracted (but avoid the seeds). Add in vinegar, oil, spices, and then whisk vigorously together until the oil and acid have emulsified. Pour over kale and massage into leaves until wilted.
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IQS friends: This recipe is not entirely fructose-free. However, grapefruits are my favorite fruit, and as a citrus (a sweet citrus, nonetheless) it has 2.5 grams of fructose per 100 grams. Which isn’t bad. The same goes for pomegranate, even though they are also chock full of antioxidants. I’m avoiding fruit [almost] entirely for my 8 week program, but after I’ve recalibrated I can imagine incorporating these fruits into my diet occasionally.