There are seemingly a gazillion food websites and blogs out there reflecting a gazillion-plus palates, diets, cuisines and cultures. This overwhelming smorgasbord is the reason I have a binder overflowing with recipes I have very good intentions to try (most of which remain in that binder, taunting me, which I know I deserve).
Among the plethora of culinary picks is a website by Chef Buck, who states, “I cook up simple and delicious dishes and serve them up with a sense of humor.” Simple, delicious and humor – all good. My discovering his site was very timely, too, in that I’d recently picked up some lovely beets at the Greenwood Farmers’ Market, which wedges itself Wednesdays into the food court at Des Moines’ Merle Hay Mall. Beets were a staple of my childhood – my parents grew rows upon rows in the family garden – but for some reason I had been intimidated about preparing for my adult tastes. Chef Buck to the rescue!
Here’s my adaptation of one of his salads that incorporates ingredients I love (tomatoes, carrots, raisins) with another food I’d found a bit intimidating, kale. This salad is delicious and nutritious, plus you get the fun of applying your phalanges to the greens.
Kale and beet salad
- 8-10 kale leaves
- 4 beets, trimmed of greens and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the beet pieces onto a baking pan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (don’t immerse the beets). Cook for 25-35 minutes, remove and allow to cool. If you prefer not to turn on the oven, place beets and water in a microwave-safe glass dish, cover and microwave on high approximately four minutes, checking partway through to test beets. You want them tender but not mushy.
While beets are cooking, remove the spine from the center of the kale leaves and tear kale into salad pieces. Gently massage salt into the kale for several minutes to reduce its toughness and bring out a nice dark-green color.
Grate carrots into the greens, add raisins and toss. In a separate bowl, add diced tomatoes and cooled beets with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Stir gently to combine. Spoon beet/tomato mixture over kale and serve.