Friday, February 19, 2016

Kale and Tomato Salad with Tahini Dressing

Todd jokes that soon after we started dating he walked into my King Henry apartment and I was sitting at the counter eating a Cafe Rio salad that looked big enough to feed a small family.  I remember that day perfectly.  He learned early on that I can eat with the best of them. 

Today at lunch we sat across the counter from each other, him with his peanut butter and honey sandwich and me with my kale salad.  He sarcastically told me that my salad was really small.  Haha!  He then reminded me again of the giant Cafe Rio salad.

I love kale salads, like really love!  I'm pretty sure that Todd thinks I'm crazy for having cravings for them.  I told him last night that after I ate this salad for lunch (yesterday) that a couple hours later I was wishing I had some more.  I was feeling pretty pumped that I had enough leftovers for today and I loved eating every bite (even if it was big enough to feed a small family). ;)

Kale and Tomato Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 large bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed, washed and finely chopped
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
A pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, cut into chunks or slices (personal preference)
1/4 cup sweet and spicy sunflower seeds (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Massage the kale a bit until the leaves are darker and fragrant. Think scrunch and release.  This helps the kale be not so tough and more palatable.  Place in refrigerator until ready to dress.

For the sun dried tomatoes, drain off any excess oil and pulse through a food processor for a chunky texture or mince very fine.  Set aside.

Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons low sodium tamari
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoon water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake.

Sweet and Spicy Sunflower Seeds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
Heaping 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and toast sunflower seeds until just fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the salt, cayenne, and brown sugar and toss them around until the sugar is hot enough to stick to the seeds, 8-10 minutes.  Place sunflower seeds on a piece of parchment paper and spread out in a single layer to cool.

To prepare the salad, drizzle the massaged kale with a big spoonful or two of the tahini dressing.  Next, add cherry tomatoes and a spoonful of the chunky sundried tomatoes to the kale and toss until combined and ingredients are evenly distributed.  Taste and adjust seasoning adding more dressing, salt, and/or pepper if needed.

Plate your salad as you with and top with avocado chunks/slices, sweet and spicy sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of the tahini dressing.  Serve.

*This was enough for me to eat for two lunches with leftover sunflower seeds and dressing. I like having seeds to toss on other salads so I just put the extras in a baggie and tossed them in my freezer.

*Because I knew I was going to have this salad for lunch the next day, I only used half of the ingredients the first day and the other half the following day instead of making one giant salad.

Recipe adapted slightly from

The sunflower seeds are from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Waffles

In January Meyer lemons start popping up here and there.  These first couple months of the year can be so cold and quite dreary and I've noticed that I tend to fill our fridge with all sorts of citrus  in hopes of bringing some brightness to a rather ugh couple of months. 

These Meyer lemon waffles are one of our very favorites.  Noah and Preston top theirs with mountains of whipped cream and powdered sugar.  Stella and I love the blueberry sauce swirled into the whipped cream (It looks so pretty and purpley), and Todd is happy either way (although if he had to choose just one way, I'm pretty sure he'd side with the boys).

The last time we made these waffles, it was a Saturday morning and all three of my kiddies were in the kitchen helping.  Each had a job.  I loved hearing Stella tell Todd that she was in charge of the wet ingredients. 

It doesn't happen very often where we are all together in the kitchen making a meal together.  The kitchen tends to be more my space and often it's just easier for me make the meal by myself (less explaining and usually less mess). 

But on this particular Saturday morning, I remember feeling so grateful for these three kids of mine and for small moments in time where we are all together in one of my favorite spots (the kitchen) making and sharing a meal together. It was a reminder to invite them into this space that I love so much and hopefully pass on a part of my love for making a meal that will be shared with those you care for and love. 

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Waffles

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
Unsweetened whipped cream
Maple blueberry sauce
Powdered sugar
Preheat waffle iron.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest.  Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is fragrant. 

In another medium sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, melted butter, eggs, lemon sugar, and lemon juice.  Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until ingredients are just combined, taking care to not over mix.

Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron and bake until crisp and golden brown.  Serve waffles immediately with unsweetened whipped cream, maple blueberry sauce, and a dusting of powdered sugar.  

Recipe slightly adapted from Alaska from Scratch