Kale yes! Kale Miso Tahini Salad

kalesalad

Kale, like brussels sprouts, are one of those vegetables that have had a complete 360 in their public perception. (Whoever’s their PR camp is doing one helluva job.) I swear, a decade ago, kale was just a garnish I pushed aside with my fork while I was eating my country-fried steak at Claim Jumpers. But now, the curly leaves are sprouting up everywhere. It’s a staple at any restaurant–as a sauteed side complimenting rotisserie chicken, slow-cooked to resemble the buttery and savory Southern-style collard greens–or sold at any Whole Foods in bags of crispy kale chips seasoned with Herbs de Provence.

Dat fancy.

I know deep down that this newfound love for kale over the past few years may indeed be a fad, but I really do love the seaweed-like kale chips, and some macrobiotic restaurants make the best kale salads I’ve ever had–especially the one at M. Chaya in Los Angeles. Their salad is a tangy peanut dressing coating the curly leaves, coupled with slivers of peanuts and strips of red onion. Plus, kale lowers cholesterol and aids in cancer prevention. Count me in–I want to live to 100.

So, I’ve been obsessed with making a kale salad similar to that M. Chaya one. I ran across a recipe in LA Weekly by a chef of a different restaurant, who forayed in the world of macrobiotic cooking after his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It’s a touching story, and out of this situation came something beautiful–a recipe that can be shared with others to help them in their quest for living healthier as well. His recipe  uses almonds instead of peanuts, and the dressing has a similar tanginess to it, yet it’s different in that it relies on a tahini, miso, and lemon dressing–creamy and served best warm or cold. The shredded carrots make for a vibrant and colorful salad, coated in this creamy dressing. It’s quite pretty, and perfect to bring to a nice picnic in the park, which I’m planning to do since summer is just around the corner.

Note: I made just a minor tweak to his recipe.

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
1⁄4 cup white miso
1⁄2 cup sesame tahini
1 lemon, juiced
3⁄4 cup water
2 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1⁄2 tsp. chili sauce (optional)
Ground black pepper

1. Add all the ingredients in a blender and mix well. Refrigerate for up to a week.

For the salad:
12 oz. of kale, washed and chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1⁄2 cup whole almond

1. Bring water to boil in a 2-quart pan. Blanch the kale. Drain and then set aside to cool off.

2. In a large bowl, mix the kale, carrots, and dressing to taste.

3. Separate the salad onto 4 plates, adding more dressing around the salad and whole almonds for garnish.

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Tuna Salad Crunchy Wraps

wrap

Is it just me or does it feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything you want to do?

From working to hanging out with friends and exercising…or whatever it is you do on a daily basis, it’s easy to stray from any dieting or budgeting plans, and to say, “The hell with it–I’m going to gorge on that immaculate, double-patty (!) Big Mac slathered in thousand island dressing or that juicy bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with overflowing chili cheese.” (BTW, those are specifically my guilty pleasures.)

Luckily, I stopped myself from devouring either item the other day after a late gym workout–even though I was starving and LA street dogs stands are on every corner tempting me like sirens–and decided to venture into the world of making wraps instead. Mind you, I’m not usually a fan of wraps, and the only one I’ve ever truly enjoyed is the wild salmon with asparagus one at M. Chaya, a wonderful macrobiotic restaurant in West Hollywood. That M. Chaya dish was the inspiration and foundation for my rendition that I lay before you today: a whole wheat wrap chock-full of creamy tuna salad, combined with fragrant herbs and ribbons of sweet, shredded carrots, mixed with asparagus stems and slices of cucumbers, giving it that satisfying veggie crunch.

What I found was that I was able to make these wraps in about 15 minutes, taking about the same amount of time it takes to drive to the local McDonalds and wait through the drive-thru, and packed them for lunch for the next day, with time to spare to catch up on my TV shows! Easy peasy. Also worth mentioning, this wrap tastes much better after a night in the fridge, when all the flavors have melded together and the veggie juices moisten everything as a whole. Simple, healthy, and tasty.

Adapted from AllRecipes.com recipe.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 – 5 oz. cans of tuna in salt and water, drained

2 pieces of whole wheat lavish bread

1 persian cucumber, cut in half and sliced into 1/4  inch x 3 inch slices

4 asparagus stalks, ends removed, cut in half

1/4 cup shredded carrots (I just use a potato peeler and peel ribbons of carrots to use)

7 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp of dried onion powder

2 pinches garlic powder

1/4 tsp of curry powder

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried dill weed

1/8 tsp black powder

4 toothpicks

Saran wrap

Directions:

1. Boil water  in a small pot and throw in asparagus stalks for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, add the tuna and fluff with a fork until pieces are flaky and separated. Add in the carrots, mayonnaise, parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, dried parsley, dried dill weed, and black powder. Mix thoroughly.

3. Lay out a piece of lavish bread on a flat surface or plate. At the bottom of the bread, spread 1/4 of the mixture across from left to right. Lay four slices of cucumber across the top. Roundly and tightly fold over once until the tuna  is covered. Spread 1/4 of the mixture next and lay four pieces of asparagus on top. Roundly and tightly fold over until it is covered, and then keep rolling the rest of the bread.

4. Take two toothpicks and poke in each end of the wrap, holding the spiral together. Using a knife, cut diagonally in the center. Wrap in saran wrap and put in the fridge.

6. Repeat steps 3-4 for the remaining lavish bread.