Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shredded Kale Salad with Pecans, Parmesan Cheese, and Cranberries: Learning isn't only winning

Both daughters finished an eye opening week of piano competitions and performances that made me say "WHAT?"  I've seen the future of classical music, and while it's alive and well, it's probably not going to be driven by Daughters, which is perfectly fine with me.  Daughters competed for the experience, to hear wonderful music being played, and to practice and learn the value of taking a piece of music and working it on all angles to make it great.

Their great was good, but not as good as other people's greats and that is still okay.  I never made it about the win (although I wanted a win, a little bit, secretly in my heart of hearts) and much more I wanted them to come out on the other side of the experience challenged, encouraged, but not discouraged.  I wrote a letter from #2 daughter to me, an imagined, fabricated one, but the one that represents what I hope she gained from this experience.

Dear Mom,

Thanks for the piano contest experience.  It was lots of hard work and I was angry when I didn't win.  You didn't seem angry though.  You were very calm, and your calm helped me to let go of my anger.  I really wanted to win and was surprised when I didn't, but you didn't seem to care much about the win, but kept on telling me that I had done a great job and you were proud of my effort.  I don't much like losing, but it isn't the worst thing to happen to me.

Next year I want to win, but I know that it isn't the most important thing.  I know that learning is the most important thing and I'm thankful that I had a chance to learn and try something new.  Thanks for being by my side.

#2 Daughter.

If only we could control the lessons that our children learn from different experiences.  More often we just pray and hope that the right lessons are being learned.

In terms of this kale salad, no one Family is really a fan of raw kale.  I blend it into smoothies, I cook it in soups, but eating it raw in a salad hasn't been the family favorite, until now - with this salad.  They have actually learned to like this garlicky, lemony, cheesy salad (not Son of course) and Husband loves this salad so much, he'll eat it every evening as part of his dinner.  No one liked it immediately (except me) but because I keep eating it and preparing it, and shredding that kale, they've all come to enjoy it and I have to say, it's been worth it.  I generally like to prepare a bunch of kale and pecans and then simply put the salad together when I need to eat it, which is generally every evening.

Shredded Kale Salad with Parmesan, Pecans, and Cranberries
Serves 3 to 4

3 medium bunches Lacinato/dinosaur kale, washed and rinsed well, finely chopped (8 cups chopped)
1 cup pecans (small pieces are fine, as you’ll be processing them anyways)
3 large garlic cloves
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼  cup extra virgin olive oil
¼  teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

If you’ve never dealt with dinosaur/lacinato kale, you’ll need to remove the stem before trying to eat it.  I’ve found the fastest way is to simply grab the stem with one hand, and with the other, start at the base of the leaf, and it a quick motion, strip the leaf upwards until the stem is left stripped.  I save the stem and chop it finely and put it in my vegetable soups.   I find it much easier to wash the kale after the stem has been removed.  Wash, dry very well in a salad spinner, and then shred.  The smaller the shred, the better the texture in the salad.

Preheat oven to 300.  Lay pecans on a cookie sheet.  Cook until fragrant and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Chop nuts finely, using a food processor.  Set aside.

In a food processor, or with a garlic press, create finely chopped garlic. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk together.  (If you are using food processor for garlic, add lemon juice to the garlic in the processor and process.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper to processor and give a quick pulse.)

In a large salad bowl add shredded kale, and dress lightly with dressing.  Depending on the actual volume of kale you may need less dressing that what you’ve made.  Carefully coat all kale with the dressing then toss in pecans, cranberries, and parmesan cheese.

Serve.  Because of the sturdy nature of kale, you can actually dress this salad and serve even 30 minutes later and it’s still delicious, although my preference is to eat it immediately.

Printable recipe

Everyone can learn to love this.


Margo said...

I LOVE kale salads! This looks like a good one to try. My family loves them too because I think every one I've made so far has cheese and nuts in it.

Good tip on the kale stems, too. I hadn't found anything good to do with them and our bunny doesn't even like to eat them.

fudgingahead said...

Hmm. This sounds yummy for me. I'm trying to think about if I could convince my husband. He doesn't even like cooked kale or kale chips. *sigh* But it looks delicious!


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