West Coast eating and living and a Kale Salad

6 Jan

Roast pumpkin and tomato kale saladWest Coast cuisine is simply sensational. I love the culture surrounding food here – local, organic and seasonal. And people don’t just talk it, they really live it. And I guess part of that is actually having four seasons in the year. For me, the experience of living in these seasons for the first time makes every season seem like it is the best season … and then the next season rolls in and it is so different from the last, and so great for all its own reasons.

I have never had a love for winter, being from Brisbane, where the city, the houses, the clothes that are worn, the food that is eaten, really reflect the 10 months a year where it is either so stinking hot it’s hard to breathe without sweating or, at its coldest, still rather comfortably warm. So winter for me has always just been a bit of a chilly, poorly prepared for, blip on the radar.

But here, here in Vancouver, it is icy and dark and bone-chillingly cold outside in the mornings which has fueled a wild love of porridge, made with innumerable grains and tasty toppings that I change daily. And as the day rolls on I enjoy the wintery things I don’t have in Australia – like the skeletons of trees that are left after all the leaves have fallen, the heavy grey sky and fog that lasts well past lunchtime, and all the ruggy warm layers necessary for an outing.

And when it comes to food I have found how warming it is to have the oven on, cooking something slowly and deliciously through the day. And how even salads here can be wintery and hearty. I have been inspired every week to try a new ingredient that I wouldn’t find in Brisbane, or at least, not as abundantly as here.

This week I had my first foray into the world of kale. There is a lot of love for it here – in salads, soups, omelets and as chips(!). I was inspired by Food52’s recipe for Northern Spy’s Kale Salad, and besides which, it seemed a safe place to begin my relationship with this loved and massaged (yes, so many recipes require the leaves to be massaged!) vegetable.

Ingredients

½ butternut pumpkin, skin and seeds removed and diced

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground S&P

A splash of EVOO

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved lengthways

A splash of balsamic vinegar

1 bunch of lacinato kale

½ cup whole almonds, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 juicy lemon

Method

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C

Place pumpkin cubes on one half of a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle over chilli flakes, cumin and S&P and toss to coat.

Bake for 20 mins then add the tomatoes to the other half of the tray and drizzle with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and grind a little S&P over them.

Return to the oven and bake for 10 mins.

Add the almonds to the tray to bake for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile wash, de-stalk and de-rib the kale, chop roughly and place in a large bowl.

Once the pumpkin, tomatoes and almonds have cooled add to the kale and mix with fingertips.

Squeeze over lemon juice and tuck into the healthiest, heartiest salad ever!

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2 Responses to “West Coast eating and living and a Kale Salad”

  1. rodwekat January 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Here’s to therelationship with a green that requires it to be treated with affection and care – I’m going to try this in my chicken soup tonight!

    • marcieblogs January 10, 2013 at 1:06 am #

      so right you are! I forgot to ask you today how it went. If I was a vege I could handle being kale!

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