Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures (2)

Update on the gratin: I baked some delicata squash tonight and pureed a bit of it with some vegetable broth, to put under the leftover gratin. As I expected, it was delicious that way.

#3: Kale salad with dried cherries, walnuts, and goat cheese

My lackadaisical grocery shopping also interfered with the execution on this in that I entirely forgot the walnuts. Although I think they’d be a great addition, their absence did not in any way interfere with the awesomeness of this salad. The dressing is fabulous and really easy. I have no idea why I’ve never made homemade honey mustard dressing before, but it comes together in about 30 seconds (counting the shaking) and tastes fantastic. The crumbled goat cheese kind of melts into the dressing as you toss it, and the kale and radishes get very tender, although the radishes retain some crunch. If I hadn’t already had gratin and been on my way out of the house, I could easily have eaten half the salad on my own. It claims to serve 4, but if you like kale, I’d say two unless you’ve got something else just as good on the table.

Honestly, though, my second thought besides “That tastes great” was “Obviously this is a salad made for someone who’s not that wild about kale, despite being a raw kale salad” (which is what the intro note is all about, so it’s definitely true). The dressing covers up the taste of the kale almost completely, which bummed me out a little since I love kale. And the radishes didn’t come though all that well either. Mine are a tad old but alone they still taste fine. The dressing is just very strong. I also think I might chop the radishes next time instead of paper-thin slicing them. I’m not exactly sure why they’re so thin, but I just didn’t like the way they behaved. I also wanted shorter kale ribbons so I halved the leaves before chiffonading them (the technique is described, but not named, which is very accessible but a missed learning opportunity). I also replaced cherries with cranberries, which are cheaper.

Overall, it reminded me of VeganYumYum’s BLT salad, which is absolutely my favorite thing to do with raw kale, and whose dressing is much fattier, so it could be a nice simple replacement for that by hitting some of the same cravings. Tempeh crumbles — not bacon ones, but plainer ones — might be a good addition to make it a meal!

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