Kale, Mandarin and Avocado Salad

Kale, Mandarine and Avocado Salad

Kale, Mandarin and Avocado Salad

I have over-indulged!  Way over.  I imagine there are any number of people saying the same thing about now.  Don’t we ALWAYS over-indulge during the holidays?  And we’ve got only the first one behind us.

I’ve eaten too much sweet potato casserole, stuffed myself with stuffing, picked at one too many pieces of pecan pie. I’ve done the peppermint stick ice-cream.   It was delicious, but it’s over.

Stomach, I’m going to be nicer to you,  because you deserve a break.   Before I start making cookies, I’m making a salad.  This is going to be so good, you’ll be thanking me all over the place.  So, hang on to your hat.

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A salad  begins with greens, right?   And what’s the most popular green in town?  Kale!   Yes, kale, chopped up nice and fine, raw and crunchy.  Next we add some romaine, also chopped up nice and fine, also crunchy.

Cut up the greens nice and fine.

Cut up the greens nice and fine.

To sweeten up this deal we’re adding clementine or tangerine.  Grab and peel those babies.

Avocados go in next;  for color, for fat nutrients, for creaminess…..oh heck, just put them in because we love them, and they love to hang out with citrus.  Bright and juicy meets soft and creamy.

Avocado + Citrus = True Love

Avocado + Citrus = True Love

Last, we sprinkle in some toasted sesame seeds because we need something to get stuck in our teeth to embarrass us later. If you want to leave them out that’s okay,  you can still go ahead and walk around with kale stuck in your teeth.

To soften the kale, you can rub it with a bit of olive oil and salt….that’s called a kale massage….a totally normal thing to do.  If you find baby kale you can skip this step.  My supermarket is now carrying baby kale.

Once the kale is massaged, make the dressing.  The dressing ingredients go into a small jar.  They consist of rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce and pepper.  Add in a tiny bit of minced garlic if you’d like.

 

These become the dressing.

These become the dressing.

Now tighten the lid, and start shaking.   Shake, shake, shake like mad.  That’s it.  Done.

Toss dressing with salad.

Toss dressing with salad.

Toss some with the salad, and as it gets tossed together the orange segments may split open and the avocado may mash a bit making these two elements a lovely addition to the sesame dressing.   Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Now’s the time to grab a fork and dig in.  Your stomach will thank you.

Do yourself a favor, take a break today with a salad this good.

Do yourself a favor, take a break today with a salad this good.

KALE, MANDARIN AND AVOCADO SALAD

Yield:   Serves 4 as a side salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups clean and well-chopped kale
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups clean and well-chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 tangerines or clementines, peeled and divided into segments
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • fresh pepper and coarse salt to taste

Instructions:

1.  Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Massage the oil and salt into the kale.

2.  Add the romaine, tangerines, and avocado to the bowl.

3.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

4.  In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, and pepper.  Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.  If you don’t have a jar, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.

5.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad.  Toss to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy!

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SOURCE:   adapted from The Joy of Baking

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Glazed Chicken and Szechuan Noodle Salad

Would you believe I have spent all summer (until now) without a gas grill?  How is that possible you might ask?  Ours simply refused to light when we took it out of storage in the Spring.  My husband took it all apart, cleaned all the parts, refurbished the burner with new parts, put it back together and it still wouldn’t work.  Dang!   So while everyone else was having their cookouts, or talking about the great foods they cooked on their grills I was feeling totally left out, not having anything to contribute to that conversation.

Last weekend we finally got a new grill, all in pieces, in a HUGE box.  The nice guys at the big orange store brought it out and put it in my car for me, but I was dreading the task of helping to put it together.  But surprise! it was so simple.  The directions were clear, made perfect sense. and all the screws were even pre-installed so we didn’t end up with any extra parts.  This grill is just like having a gas stove on my back deck instead of in my kitchen.   We celebrated the new grill and how smart we were to put it together by grilling a steak for dinner that evening.  It was a very good steak but not especially blog-worthy.  (I like that word.)

My post today is about my first real effort to cook something a little jazzier on the grill; Glazed Chicken Thighs.  Since the recipe for the chicken contained some ingredients found in Asian cuisines, I paired it with another recipe I had for Szechuan Noodle Salad, and also included Sesame Broccoli.  This, then, is my complete menu.  It can be prepared in about 30 minutes.  While the grill is heating coat the chicken in the glaze mixture.  Grill the chicken.  Keep the chicken warm in a low oven, and cook the noodles and steam the broccoli. Season the noodles and broccoli and serve.

GLAZED CHICKEN and SZECHUAN NOODLE SALAD with SESAME BROCCOLI

SERVINGS:    4

INGREDIENTS–CHICKEN

  • 1 Tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • cooking spray

INGREDIENTS–NOODLES

  • 6 ounces uncooked udon noodles (thick, fresh Japanese wheat noodles), or whole-wheat linguine
  • 1/4 cup bottled Szechuan sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut green onions

INGREDIENTS–BROCCOLI

  • About 1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

PREPARATION

1.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2.  Combine fresh ginger, hoisin sauce, lime juice and olive oil in a large bowl.  Add chicken, toss to coat.

3.   Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill, about  4 minutes/side or until done.  Remove from grill, cover and keep warm.

The chicken could also be cooked indoors on an electric grill, or on the stove-top in a grill-pan.

4.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain well.  Combine Szechuan sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add noodles, carrots, and green onions; toss and serve with chicken.

5.  For the broccoli:  Add water to a saucepan to a depth to 1-inch.  Add broccoli florets, bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender.  Place broccoli in a medium bowl.  Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds,  kosher salt and  black pepper. Toss well.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light   for both Glazed chicken thighs and Szechuan noodles.