Two months ago in Minneapolis, there was snow on the ground; a week ago highs were in the 50s. Today, it got to 102F, and there was no way I was going to use even my toaster oven for dinner. Even as I type right now, near 10pm, it’s still 96F outside and I’m blogging and listening to Novos Baianos instead of double-checking that I’m really done packing, or sleeping, since for some reason I said I’d work from 5 to 730am before catching the light rail to the airport to fly to Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend (where it’s degree-wise “cooler” but more humid). That was a mouthful of a sentence! And really, things have been going on, but I have not been organized enough to make time for blogging. I hope that changes, and this isn’t just another blip in the passage of my quiet blog time. Prepping zine recipes (still, really!), rearranging the house/kitchen, working a lot, food swapping, etc. My ladyfriend and I also found time to make one of our favorite team effort meals: fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce! It’s so great for hot weather, bonding, and, of course, EATING!
This month, Kim and Ricki’s SOS Challenge was extra enticing, what with the warm weather and the gorgeous little blueberries on sale at the co-op. While I plan to do a sweet entry (or two), I was most intrigued by the idea of a savory use for our little blue superfriends. I am a big fan of giant salads, especially kale salads, and even more especially giant kale salads that have fruit AND more traditional savory ingredients. I like the way fruit can add an extra dimension to a simple (or complex) salad, and I think my love of playing with fruit-spiked dinner salads stems from my love affair with the Purple Kale Salad at Ecopolitan (my much simpler homemade version–before I learned the real recipe while working there–can be found here). Kale doesn’t mess around, either in texture, flavor, or nutritional makeup, and I quite prefer it for those reasons to spring greens or romaine or spinach; the same reasons I love it also makes kale an excellent contrast to fruity additions. Like blueberries. And peaches.
While sweating the day away at work, I dreamed of different ways I could marry kale with blueberries. (It does make a rather gorgeous smoothie, too.) In the end, I went for a pretty simple list of ingredients, and a creamy dressing rather than the vinaigrettes I usually pair with my kale salads. Organic peaches looked too lovely to resist while I was gathering up my ingredients, and I’m happy that I went for them (although, truth be told, the peaches do a much better job at cutting through the savory flavors than the blueberries do). With a few local purple scallions and a zesty cashew-lime dressing, this Blueberry-Peach Kale Salad was a definite summer hit for two heat-stricken ladies. And in the interest of showing you how blogging can reveal a small, small world, Kim (yes, that Kim) actually stopped by while I was working on this salad and I got to share a little of my geeky blog challenge happiness with one of the challenge’s cohosts! (PS – I love Kim and Kim’s blog. I’ve learned so much from her about food and health and living consciously AND we get to have fun making and sharing food that both of us can eat despite her multiple food allergies and necessarily omnivorous diet versus my less allergy-prone though vegan ways. She’s totally swoon-worthy, I can’t even lie about it.)
Blueberry-Peach Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Lime Dressing
makes 4-6 servings
for the dressing (this will make extra):
1 cup cashews, soaked 6-8 hours and drained
juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic
1/2-1 hot chili pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked pepper
water as needed to thin
for the salad:
1 bunch green kale, stemmed and chopped into small pieces
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup or more cashew-lime dressing
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped
To make the dressing: place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Stop and scrape down sides of jar/bowl if needed.
To make the salad: toss the kale and scallions with as much dressing as you need to coat the kale–try starting with 1/2 cup. This is easiest (though messiest) done with your hands in order to ensure even distribution. Then add peaches and blueberries (reserving some few berries to decorate the top), and toss again. Let sit for 10-30 minutes if desired to let the dressing soften the kale. Serve garnished with extra blueberries.