Some sensible person once remarked that you spend the whole of your life either in your bed or in your shoes. Having done the best you can by shoes and bed, devote all the time and resources at your disposal to the building up of a fine kitchen. It will be, as it should be, the most comforting and comfortable room in the house.
~ Elizabeth David (1913-1992), “French Country Cooking”
I had plans yesterday. With the inclement weather in the forecast and eventually materializing, I thought it would be a good day to catch up with my blog mates. Unfortunately, the ice must have clogged up our satellite dish or the clouds overhead were too thick. Whatever the case, my connection to the internet was slow and sporadic at its best. Better a slow, sporadic internet connection than a loss of power. Right? Right.
It was cold and damp, the kind of cold and damp that seeps down into your bones. We don’t have the luxury of a wood burning fireplace here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, although we do have a gas fireplace that might put out enough heat to keep hypothermia at bay if the power should go out during the winter months. (Isn’t it funny that I’m referring to a wood burning fireplace as a luxury??!)
So I found myself in the kitchen instead, perfecting a salad I recently enjoyed at the good dog bar & restaurant in Philadelphia. M and I had dinner there during our recent visit with my family. We went into Philly for a concert at the Kimmel Center, and met up with our friend, “the circular saw-wielding, book-loving, histopathology-painting artist and instructional designer,” Jenna Hannum, for dinner before the show.
I need to practice my food photography again. It’s been a while. Photography aside, my reproduction of the salad was awesomeness on a plate. Kale, farro, beets, onions, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, all dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette. If you’d told me five or so years ago that I’d be eating beets and kale, I wouldn’t have believed it. I have Jenna to thank, by the way, for her persistence in getting me to try and like kale. She went to great lengths, including experimenting on herself, to find a recipe that would finally please my palate.
Want the recipe? Sure you do. I don’t have exact measurements for the salad itself so bear with me. You want to start with some good kale. I used Lacinato (or Dinosaur) Kale. Tear the good leafy green stuff off the ribs and chop or tear it up into bite size pieces. (Put the ribs in a freezer container and save them in the freezer. When your container is full of veggie discards of all kinds, use them to make a delicious, nutritious vegetable stock.) While you’re messing around with the kale (all that prep with the washing, etc.), have some beets roasting in the oven. Nothing fancy. There are a variety of ways to do it. I scrub them, cut off the ends, rub a little olive oil on the beet, and wrap it in some foil. Each beet gets its own little foil packet. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the beet/s.
Make an apple cider vinaigrette:
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar because it has a wonderful apple flavor to it)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- salt if you must, but I don’t think it needs it
You can add a little honey to the mix if you want to sweeten up the vinaigrette. The beets add sweetness to the salad so I don’t think it needs the honey, but your taste may vary.
Cook the farro. One cup of farro to two cups of water will produce plenty of farro. Timing will depend on the type of farro you’re cooking. I didn’t know what I had (I bought it bulk at Whole Foods and the label wasn’t forthcoming), but I’m guessing by the cooking time it was semi-pearled. Do a search online for cooking times. I put the one cup of farro and two cups of water in a pot, brought it to a boil, covered, simmered it for about 20 minutes, turned off the heat and let it sit for, well, I don’t know. Five to ten minutes. Then I uncovered it and let it cool. All the water was absorbed so I didn’t need to drain it.
While your beets and farro are cooling, mince some onion and add it to the kale. Go ahead and dress the salad. Letting the kale marinate for 15-30 minutes will bring out the deliciousness, and soften it up a little. When the beets cool, dice ’em up and put them in the salad along with some farro and shaved (or grated, if you prefer) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add more vinaigrette if needed. Eat and enjoy. If you want to go vegan, skip the cheese, and add some toasted nuts. I bet toasted almonds or pine nuts would be super yummy in the salad. Better than the cheese, perhaps.
Thanks for stopping by today. The temperature did eventually warm up last night, and all the ice was gone this morning. It’s been raining off and on all day. More winter weather is expected tomorrow. Ice, maybe snow. I hope it’s snow.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂