Massaged Kale Salad #1

On a recent culinary tour in Denver with my company Local Table Tours, I met a gal who was hysterically sassy, smart, and memorable. She has an interesting story of living in bumble f*%& Nebraska with her husband, who always requests the same kale salad. I don’t remember the ingredients she told me, and I do hope if she reads this post she emails me with them, but she had me cracking up about massaging the kale. Apparently, one can get tired of massaging kale, so she’s started just “slapping” it with olive oil and says hubby can’t tell the difference.

Anyway, it had me thinking all week how I’ve never “massaged” kale. I always boil, sautee, or bake those hearty greens. It was time to try giving them a nice massage.

I washed, de-veined, and chopped some dino kale, and added that with some minced spring garlic, olive oil, and sea salt to a bowl.













Then, you just “massage” it, or kneed it all together like bread dough for a few minutes.

Post Massage










And let it sit. I left it for an hour or so before tossing it with garbanzo beans, tomato, celery, and avocado.

Add some crunch, protein, and avocado

Add some crunch, protein, and avocado









This was SO easy, so delicious, and I’m SO silly for not making this sooner.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served.

Sweet Potato Kale Frittata

I hadn’t planned to blog about this dish, but it was so simple and good, I thought- Why not?

Kale was on sale at Whole Foods, so I came home with more kale than a single woman can consume without juicing it. That meant kale was going to be added in to whatever concoction I came up with for dinner. I also had a dozen eggs I hadn’t even touched in a week, so I decided to throw together an egg-based baked dish (or baked frittata, if that is even a culinary possibility, as frittatas are traditionally skillet-fried…) But, I’m calling this dish a Sweet Potato Kale Frittata. Sorry that it’s technically not a frittata.

I sautéed half of a chopped red onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil, and then added a peeled and cubed white sweet potato (2 cups or so). When the potato was soft, I added a couple cups of thinly sliced kale and a half cup of chopped parsley. Next, I transferred the potato kale base into a bowl and mixed it with 6 eggs that had been whisked with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a little bit of grated white cheddar cheese. After all of the potato and kale mixture was coated with egg, I salted, peppered and poured it into a pyrex baking dish.

I baked it for 40 minutes or so on 350 and it came out perfectly, which could have been a fluke as I was on the phone the entire time and not even paying attention to the oven.

As I was in a no-frills cooking mood, I topped it with my favorite condiment: Ketchup mixed with Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning from Savory Spice Shop. You can’t go wrong with that combo.



The Kitchen Table Bistro, Richmond VT

If you’re dining up in Burlington, VT, I’d suggest heading out to Richmond for a taste of The Kitchen Table Bistro. You won’t be disappointed.

On a recent trip to Vermont to visit my illustrious sister, Alison Ellis- proprietor and designer of Floral Artistry, suggested we (my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law) enjoy a meal at The Kitchen Table.  This farm-to-table restaurant has been serving local VT fare for nine years, and we enjoyed their ninth birthday celebration menu.










We started with bread and butter (fantastically fresh and delicious bread and butter); a kale, cashew, and blue cheese salad; a beet and goat cheese salad; and the baby lettuce salad.




















Next, we tasted some toasts. Yes, more of that great bread, please. The roasted red pepper and Cremont (a Vermont cheese I had the pleasure of sampling from Boulder’s very own cheese shop, Cured), was a crowd pleaser. I also really had to try the foraged mushroom toast since I’m often inspired by local Rocky Mountain forager and write of Hunger and Thirst for Life.  Anyway, I’ve had foraging on my mind and if the menu says “foraged mushrooms” I’m going to order them.










We washed this all down with some Illahe Pinot Noir from the Willammette Valley in Oregon, a place I used to adore calling home.  A good time was being had by all.

 Mom and sister (who’s super pregnant at this point) were across from each other…










Dad and brother-in-law played catch-up, too.










And then more food came out… the entreés.










My mom ordered scallops, of course. She always orders scallops.  I had stuffed quail, and apparently gave up on taking photos because I don’t have my sister or dad’s plates.  I did, however, get a shot of the burger and fries.

And then it was time for dessert…

Delectable. Divine. Simply delicious. Especially when enjoyed with a tawny port.

The Kitchen Table Bistro


1840 West Main St.

Richmond, VT 05477

Pumpkin Peanut Curry Soup

Every autumn I have a craving for my pumpkin peanut curry soup.  I make it once or twice and then wait until pumpkins are in season the following year before making it again. Each time it comes out slightly differently depending on how much of this or that goes in it. Here’s what I did this time-

I roasted a locally grown pumpkin the size of a soccer ball at 375 for 30 minutes or so… I must admit, I totally lost track of time. I have NO idea how long that pumpkin was in there.  I’d say 30-40 minutes. I do know, however, that I cut it in half, seeded it (and saved the seeds to make Mexican Mole Roasted Pumpkin Seeds), covered the flesh in butter, and placed it cut side down into a pyrex baking dish with a cup or so of brandy.  I am sure of that part.

While the oven was preheating for the pumpkin, I toasted a cup or so of unsalted peanuts. Watch them! It’s really easy to over-toast (burn) nuts. Keep an eye on them and get them out of the oven when they’re starting to brown and smell like roasted peanuts.

But, before I even put the peanuts in the pre-heating oven, I had a thinly sliced sweet yellow onion sautéing on medium-low in some of the coconut fat skimmed from the top of an undisturbed can of coconut milk.  I let this start to caramelize while roasting the pumpkin. In the last 15 minutes or so I added a peeled, sliced apple.

So, when the peanuts were done, I put them in the Vita-Mix and made a little peanut butter.  Let’s all cheer for the power of that Vita-Mix. What a rockstar appliance. The next step is to blend all of the soft pumpkin flesh, onion, and apple with a can of coconut milk and a cup or so of water into the peanut butter.  Start on low, slowly turn it up to 10, then high, and then you’re ready to pour it into a pot and get it on the stove.

This is where the fun seasoning starts. I added a few tablespoons of soy sauce, Kecap Manis (called sweet soy sauce- it is palm sugar syrup, like molasses, but from palm), Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry (available at Savory Spice Shop), and some cayenne.  I let the soup simmer on medium for a while and added some thinly sliced kale that cooked down to be nice and tender after 20 minutes.

Just blogging about this now makes me want to eat another bowl. The creamy peanut-coconut combination is a nice compliment to pumpkin.  It brings me back to a small kitchen in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I had my first pumpkin peanut curry soup.  Enjoy!


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