I often go out into the natural world to get back in tune with what is beautiful. Here are a few photos and recipes that take me there. It’s a little gathering up of things, an offering, a Thanksgiving to plants. And recipes that are seasonal for serving at the Thanksgiving table.
Honey Lemon Massaged Kale Salad
When contemplative, massage kale. Things will be revealed.
One bunch Kale (Red Russian or Green Curly are my favorites for this)
Olive oil to coat
1 tsp -1 tbs honey
1 tsp – 1 tbs lemon juice
Remove the ribs of the kale by closing your fingers firmly around the stem and pulling down to strip the leaf parts off into your hand. Chop or rip your kale into bite size pieces. Give a few dashes of olive oil to coat, and a couple sprinkles of salt, then massage with your hands for a minute or two to work it into the greens. They should get tenderized some by this. Then add a little fresh lemon juice or your favorite vinegar, and a teaspoon or so of honey. Taste to adjust.
Optional toppings: hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, grated carrot, raisins or dried fruit.
Cook-down Collard Greens
Another way to meditate is to stir a pot a long time. Collards, when cooked a long while, get melty and so flavorful. Make this when you have two hours to let them simmer. You don’t actually have to stir them very often, but you get the benefit of knowing the whole time you are a catalyst to the slow transformation.
4 bunches Collards
1 large onion diced
1 medium leek (or another onion) chopped small
3-4 cloves garlic
3 cups tasty vegetable broth
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Take a deep pot and coat the bottom with olive oil. Cook onions and leeks on medium heat until translucent. I cut my leek in half long-ways, then slice it into little thin half moons. Smash the garlic cloves, chop them small, then add and cook 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, then add salt, red pepper flakes and paprika. Taste for flavor and adjust to your liking, as the collards will pick up the flavor of the broth as it is now.
Chop the collards into bite size pieces or strips. Stem is ok in here as they will cook to be very tender. Turn down the heat on your broth to a low simmer, then add the collards. Cover and simmer them on low for 1.5-2 hours, without boiling. Stir occasionally. They are done when they are thoroughly melty, tender, and really quite another creature.
Adjust seasoning at the end. Vinegar can be used to brighten, olive oil to smooth, hot pepper to spice.
Salad of the Riotous Rainbow
We all come in many colors. In one bowl, try to express that. Ingredient list is just a notion, of options.
Half a head of radicchio
1 large head Red Leaf Lettuce of choice
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce of choice
2 Purple Carrots
1 Watermelon Radish
1 golden or yellow skinned apple
1 red skinned apple
a little lemon juice
Save the most beautiful leaves of your lettuces and radicchio for layering around the outside, enough to round your bowl. Chop up the rest to fill your bowl. Use a peeler to shave thin wide slices of carrot and watermelon radish and mix some slices into the lettuce in the bowl and lay the rest over the top of the lettuce. Adorn the edges of the bowl with reserved radicchio and lettuce leaves. Slice the apples to get nice even slices, then toss with enough lemon juice to coat, which will keep the apples from browning. Arrange apples around the outside of the bowl. Stick a whole carrot in the center of the bowl like a phallus, if you dare.
Serve with a flourish and your favorite dressing.