To be honest, it kind of seems more appropriate to wish you all a happy new year now: the end of this month will mark the sixth blogiversary of A Foodie's Quest; and just around the corner is Spring, which has always felt more like the actual start of the year to me, as opposed to mid-Winter January. So happy new year to you all! May the Spring Equinox bring you good cheer and great fortune! It is supposed to be a fabulous one.
I am not really one for new year's resolutions: no sooner is one uttered that it gets broken. Don't get me wrong, I am far from being above tweaks and corrections, I just don't want to think about them on the official first day of the year. Out with the old, in with the new, and all that jazz... But, if there ever was one resolution I could stick to, it would be to eat more kale. In fact, I am considering buying the t-shirt. After the over-indulgence that was Christmas 2014, I felt a rare need to eat an inordinate amount of raw foods, especially kale and cabbage. Strange, I know, in the midst of a chilly winter, there I was chomping away at huge plates of raw food, both at home and at work.
Kale has long been touted as the most super-duper of superfoods, and for good reasons. More importantly though, it actually tastes nice. Even raw. Much nicer, in fact, than white or red cabbage. Though raw savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts are close runner-ups. It might be a texture thing: the crinkly-ness of the leaves renders them less squeaky than smooth-leaved cabbage. I have a thing about squeaky foods... That's why I dislike celery and water chestnuts.
My intense affair with raw food fizzled out after a few weeks, but the kale stuck around for the long haul. I've only just recently weaned myself off of kale because it's no longer available at my local supermarket. However, this salad does not rely on kale alone: the all-important dressing can be drizzled over bog standard cabbage -in fact, the tough-looking outer layers of savoy cabbage are a great substitute for its pricier cousin kale- or even sturdy winter greens such as endive, escarole, and Brussels sprouts. I may even be persuaded to consume raw chard if it were doused with this fabulous vinaigrette.
Alas, pictures of the actual January salad have not survived the long hiatus, so you'll have to use your imagination. Keep in mind that the main purpose of said salad was to detox after I overindulged during the holidays. Hence, while some ingredients may seem a tad incongruous, they contribute a great deal towards well-being and flavour. So, do give the full recipe a try before adjusting it to taste.
Yields 125ml/½ cup
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced or grated
3cm/1" piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 tsp ground turmeric
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sugar, or other sweetener such as honey
45ml/ 3Tbs soya sauce
60ml/ 4Tbs cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 organic or unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
60ml/ 4Tbs toasted sesame oil
90ml/ 6Tbs olive oil
3 tsp sesame seeds
In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients, except for the cumin and sesame seeds.
Heat a dry pan until piping hot, and toast the cumin and sesame seeds. Remove from the heat when the cumin embalms the kitchen.
Add the seeds to the dressing, give it a whirl, and adjust the seasoning.
The vinaigrette will keep for a week in the refrigerator, use on salads or as a marinade for fish, meat or firm tofu. Better yet, drizzle straight onto an industrial amount of shredded kale, savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or any other sturdy greens. Throw in some cooked chickpeas or sprouted beans; pomegranate kernels; dried cranberries or sour cherries. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes before tucking in.
Any left-overs can be served as is, but will benefit from the addition of orange or grapefruit segments, a few slivered green onions. If you still have left-overs on the third day, jazz them up with some couscous, bulgur wheat, sprouted (or not) grains, some chopped basil or coriander, and add a drizzle of fresh dressing. Should the salad see yet another day, finish it off with some dukkah.