Kale Salad

“Well, if you like burgers give ’em a try sometime. Me, I can’t usually get ’em myself because my girlfriend’s a vegetarian which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. But I do love the taste of a good burger.” 

I don’t even like them, but I was dreaming of a Big Kahuna Burger, as my husband turned all vegetarian on me last weekend.  Our good friend from Denver was visiting, and instead of barhopping with my man every night (like they always do when Jayson flies in), he brainwashed Dave on healthy lifestyle and hit every vegetarian joint in the area.

After long negotiations, we agreed that at least our weekend diet remains unchanged.  However, weekdays are vegetarian.  Ouch!  While mourning my beloved chicken, fish, and occasional beef, I got totally high on ice cream and chocolate. Which I think is a good start to any diet, since I cannot look at chocolate.. nah… more than 4 pieces of chocolate at once.

This Kale salad (Whole Foods recipe) was our first vegetarian dinner.  It turned out tolerable I suppose… The husband ate two bunches of Kale, and I didn’t turn green after eating a bowlful either.  I paired the salad with baked sweet potatoes, which complimented the dish very well. 

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KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bunches kale, stems and tough ribs discarded, leaves very finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seed discarded, cubed
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, chili powder and salt. Add kale and avocado, toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Make ahead: this salad will keep well refrigerated in an airtight container for a couple days.

Diet cosmo anyone?

A couple weeks ago my husband met the most adorable mix of Chihuahua and Shih Tzu…  and for two weeks he (the husband) has been making the saddest puppy face begging me “I want Scruffy”.  “My Birthday is coming”… “Scruffy Scruffy Scruffy”… Anyone who met a whiny 5-year-old knows the drill.

So, instead I gave him another thing he’s been asking about but I refused to deliver… A huge party!  All the neighbors and friends made their way to our kitchen, and you could not hear yourself talking how loud and fun it was.  

Here is the Russian way to party: eat as much as you can, wash it all down with vodka, sing and dance.  Repeat as many times as you can + 5.  Now, I know it’s mission impossible to make Americans do the singing and dancing; so we just focused on eating and drinking.

The guests started gathering about an hour before the dinner to find snacks waiting on the table: cheese and salami, freshly baked bread, nuts, grapes, and olives.

 A separate stand was set for a self-service bar.  My BFF Alma helped making this amazing hibiscus cosmopolitan.  I found the recipe in a magazine long ago, and wanted to try it ever since (from Jennifer Trainer’s “Caribbean Cocktails”).  On the plus side, Alma also pointed out that in her native Mexico, hibiscus tea is a famous diet drink (like green tea here).  Now, how could you possibly stop drinking this delicious cosmo after discovering that!?

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HIBISCUS COSMOPOLITAN

INGREDIENTS:For hibiscus tea:

  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/3 cup super fine sugar

For cosmopolitan:

  • 1 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/3 cup of super fine sugar
  • Lemon juice from 3 lemons
  • Lime juice from 6 limes
  • 3 tbs fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • Ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:

The tea could be made in advance and kept in the fridge.  Pour boiling water over the tea and let brew for about 1 hour.  Strain and discard the flowers. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Whisk all cosmopolitan ingredients till sugar is dissolved.

Transfer mixture to an ice-filled cocktail shaker, and shake well; strain into martini glasses. Garnish with a twisted orange peel.

By the way, apparently it’s super easy to make a curl with an orange peel.  Just cut a straight line out and roll it with your fingers into a spring.  Who would have guessed, but it will stay this way!

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