I always said that I would never post a recipe for a kale salad. Almost every blogger on the internet has some version of kale salad and they each look more horrible than the next. I would sneer, yes sneer. Who does that? No one likes eating kale. It's peer pressure I tell you. It's the same reason why every food blogger has a recipe for homemade granola (you know it's coming, it is inevitable). I just can't help it. It hurts a little to say this, but I'm going to tell you how amazing this kale salad is. Yes, it is amazing and quite frankly I could eat this salad once a day, every day, for the rest of my life. But I am also going to tell you that you need to be making some pickled pumpkin too. There in lies the difference. I do understand if you still think I am deceiving you on the kale part, but at least believe me when I say how awesome pickled pumpkin is. Now go make some. No really. Quickly, because pumpkins are almost out and cookies, cranberries and eggnog are moving on in.
The scenery has changed a bit, and I am hoping everyday that this year will bring snow for my boys to play in. I watch the world from my windows. The bright red cardinal against the grey trees. He moves to quickly. I plan on setting out some food to capture his attention a little longer. Time enough for me to change my lens and snap a few pictures.
We are resolved to activities inside, yet each week I dash off to the farm, always trying to hang onto our spring and summer routine. At this point all that you can find are apples, kale, broccoli, cider, pumpkins, squash and popping corn. It hurts to think that at the end of the month we will have to wait another three before asparagus, ramps and rhubarb will make their appearance. But, no rush. There is bread in the oven, slippers on my feet and several cups of hot peppermint tea to be had each day. We build forts with couch cushions, pop big bowls of popcorn and grab as much sunlight through the windows as we can each day. With the holidays right around the corner there will be plenty to keep mind and hand occupied until we can finally relax into those cozy winter days.
Kale Salad with Pickled Pumpkin
4-5 stalks of Kale
1-2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1 bunch of cilantro
Juice from three limes
1-2 very small cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of pumpkin seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 spoonfuls of pickled pumpkin chunks (recipe below)
shaved Pecorino Romano (optional)
Remove the stalks of the kale, tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and set aside. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a saucepan over medium heat until they are fragrant and slightly browned. In a food processor or blender add one bunch of cilantro (stems and leaves), juice from three limes, one or two small cloves of garlic, pumpkin seed oil, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Process these ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Add a few spoonfuls of the dressing to the torn kale leaves and massage it into the kale. Making sure that each leaf of kale is coated in dressing and giving it a slightly bruised look. Add more dressing as required. Divide the kale onto two plates and top with pickled pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds and shaved Pecorino Romano if desired. Serve. Store extra dressing in the refrigerator.
makes 3-4 pints
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut it into small cubes. Sprinkle on a heavy amount of salt and stir to coat the pumpkin chunks. Set this aside for 2-3 hours to draw out the moisture from the pumpkin. Meanwhile prepare a water bath canner and sterilize 4 pint jars. Place the remaining ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse the salt off the pumpkin chunks and pack them into hot sterilized jars. Pour the hot brine over the pumpkin chunks, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
*allow two weeks for the pumpkin chunks to cure before eating.