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Cooking From Your CSA Box (Or, Seasonal Cooking)

Cooking From Your CSA Box (Or, Seasonal Cooking)
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  • Post #181 - June 27th, 2012, 11:31 am
    Post #181 - June 27th, 2012, 11:31 am Post #181 - June 27th, 2012, 11:31 am
    pairs4life wrote:I'm with Angelic as well. This is my 1st time ever belonging to a CSA.


    Ava,

    Please trust me that you will get the flow of a CSA with time (not to scare, but it wasn't until year 3 that I really got into the swing of things). I subscribed to AO for seven years, now I'm in year 1 with Harvest Moon.

    With AO's box, I think there's a lot of preservation that needs to happen if you're a 2 person household. Wait 'til the corn comes. You'll need to set aside some time to freeze that (which requires a flash boil to kill the evil enzyme). But-it freezes beautifully. Also, when peppers start coming in (there's one time a season when they give you a batch of cherry peppers), I'll put up one jar of pickled peppers rather than trying to consume it fresh. (I bought a small Swiss canning pot that permits you easily can one jar -- half the canning battle is waiting for the water to boil with a large kettle.)

    As for the one-off veggies, it's all about mixing them together. If it's a small head of broccoli, eat it raw in a salad. Use it with others in a stir fry. Bunching multiple vegetables together is a key way to use a CSA. Try to move away from recipes wherein you try to fit an ingredient into the recipe. Let the vegetables drive the recipe. Do you have several type of root vegetables? Instead of searching for a recipe with celeriac, make root-vegetable soup that uses celeriac, carrot and potato. Do you have a bunch of kale? Simmer it with aromatics. Keep it in the fridge, then add it to pastas along with other ingredients. Or add it to soup. Add it to a bean gratin.

    Also, let the quantity determine the dish. Once a fall, AO would give me a truckload of spinach. I'd fill up my sink with water to clean the spinach, and make creamed spinach, which requires a ton of spinach. Otherwise, if you have smaller quantities, a regular saute, or using it as part of a larger dish (such as Zuni's panade) will do fine.

    Read Tamar Adler's Everlasting Meal. I think it's a must-read if you have a CSA.
  • Post #182 - July 4th, 2012, 4:48 pm
    Post #182 - July 4th, 2012, 4:48 pm Post #182 - July 4th, 2012, 4:48 pm
    A couple recent dinners:

    Salad with strawberries and baked goat cheese:

    Image

    Spaghetti with ramp, pistachio and mixed herb pesto (can't quite remember exactly what I put in it--ramps, marjoram, basil, pecorino romano, olive oil, s&p, toasted pistachios...)

    Image
  • Post #183 - July 25th, 2012, 8:08 pm
    Post #183 - July 25th, 2012, 8:08 pm Post #183 - July 25th, 2012, 8:08 pm
    Nothing like a side of Melrose peppers, blistered in olive oil, and finished with flaked sea salt to put a smile on my face.

    Image
  • Post #184 - July 28th, 2012, 7:21 pm
    Post #184 - July 28th, 2012, 7:21 pm Post #184 - July 28th, 2012, 7:21 pm
    Those Melrose peppers look great!

    For my CSA, I had a lot of corn from last week's box sitting in the 'fridge and more in this week's box. Yikes! Luckily Fine Cooking had a feature on fast corn recipes, so I tried Sauteed Corn with Garlicky Brown Butter.

    Image

    It's a simple method, just brown a couple smashed garlic cloves in butter, saute some corn kernels, then garnish with chives-- but the nutty, garlicky butter and the sweet creamy corn, hooboy. A great combo. The recipe instructed that you should remove the garlic cloves-- I suggest that after you let the butter brown a bit, you throw those garlic cloves right back in there! Yum!

    Surprisingly, the corn was still good-- Angelic doesn't "believe" in those dang sugar-enhanced varieties, so sometimes their corn gets starchy fast. But I think it has better flavor-- tasted a lot more like corn and less like corn syrup, hmm.

    Here's the recipe, sorry if it's behind a pay wall-- but the method as I've outlined it should get you there!
    http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/saut ... utter.aspx

    Cheers, Jen
  • Post #185 - July 30th, 2012, 11:47 am
    Post #185 - July 30th, 2012, 11:47 am Post #185 - July 30th, 2012, 11:47 am
    I've purchased a solo box from Big Head Farm ($150 for 22 weeks) and am struggling to keep up with the veggies in my life. (It doesn't help that I have dinner plans 3-4 nights a week.)

    Recent goodies in my box include several types of cucumbers, a red-leafed kale, cabbage, jalapeno and padron peppers, green & yellow zucchini, patty-pan squash, cauliflower & more.

    This weekend I made 2 loaves of zucchini bread (using the Smitten Kitchen recipe + a handful of leftover blueberries), 4 trays of roast kale and a zucchini quiche. I'm on day 2 of a Middle Eastern lunch (pita with fresh basil leaves, cucumber slices and feta). I'm not a huge pepper or cauliflower fan, but made a red-lentil dal with some of my jalapenos & bulked it up with some grated cauliflower. I can't eat cole slaw fast enough to keep up with the cabbage, so one day this week I'm going to try this Asian roast cabbage.
  • Post #186 - July 30th, 2012, 12:38 pm
    Post #186 - July 30th, 2012, 12:38 pm Post #186 - July 30th, 2012, 12:38 pm
    Hi- I live alone, and I would never join a CSA because you get more produce than one person can use, and I like to go to the farmer's market and pick out my own. Most of the CSA's have very little fruit too, They might have an occasional melon or a box of berries, but I don't know of any CSA's that have peaches apples or cherries. I would have to go to the Evanston market for fruit anyway. I really enjoy going to the farmer's market anyway. I often run into somebody I know, and I love looking at all the displays, trying to decide what I want to buy.

    $150 for 22 weeks is cheap for a CSA though. I did not know that anybody offered a plan for a single person. All the rest of the CSA's are geared towards families, and charge at least 3 times more money.

    i just bought a huge cabbage Saturday, and I am going to make some sweet and sour coleslaw, which I love, but the recipe barely puts a dent in this head of cabbage. At least cabbage keeps for a fairly long time. I find that I do a lot of stir fries. That is a good way to use up a hodgepodge of veggies like you have right now. I am surprised that you have not gotten any tomatoes yet. I have a dish that I fix all the time during tomato season. I cut up a ripe tomato, and then than I add a clove of crushed garlic, a handful of fresh basil, a half tablespoon of olive oil, and a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan. I mix it together, and then I put it over spaghetti. It is super easy, and it only takes as long as the spaghetti takes to cook. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #187 - July 31st, 2012, 3:18 pm
    Post #187 - July 31st, 2012, 3:18 pm Post #187 - July 31st, 2012, 3:18 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- I live alone, and I would never join a CSA because you get more produce than one person can use, and I like to go to the farmer's market and pick out my own. Most of the CSA's have very little fruit too, They might have an occasional melon or a box of berries, but I don't know of any CSA's that have peaches apples or cherries. I would have to go to the Evanston market for fruit anyway. I really enjoy going to the farmer's market anyway. I often run into somebody I know, and I love looking at all the displays, trying to decide what I want to buy.


    Big Head Farms also offers a fruit CSA for about $85 for 11 weeks (every other week during the season). Last time I got some of their homegrown blueberries, which put the mass-produced berries to shame. Before that it was peaches & melons. From what I understand, they don't grow all of the fruit themselves, but source some of it from their friends at other farms. (The melon & peaches, I'm assuming, came from further south.)

    $150 for 22 weeks is cheap for a CSA though. I did not know that anybody offered a plan for a single person. All the rest of the CSA's are geared towards families, and charge at least 3 times more money.


    It was certainly a factor that attracted me. I hate to be wasteful and even the smallest boxes offered by most CSAs seemed to large for me. If I didn't eat out so much, a solo box would be the perfect size. And even with all of my dining out, I'm still making a good dent in it. Plus, it's nice to be able to gift my leftover goodies to friends.
  • Post #188 - August 21st, 2012, 9:06 pm
    Post #188 - August 21st, 2012, 9:06 pm Post #188 - August 21st, 2012, 9:06 pm
    We got a huge bunch of fresh anise today. Any suggestions?

    Anise pesto doesn't really appeal and I don't have time right now to bake so anise-infused custards/breads, etc...are out. I don't have an ice cream maker either.

    Also got lemon balm, but I have a few thoughts for that - compound butter and pesto probably.
  • Post #189 - August 22nd, 2012, 6:36 am
    Post #189 - August 22nd, 2012, 6:36 am Post #189 - August 22nd, 2012, 6:36 am
    LynnB wrote:We got a huge bunch of fresh anise today. Any suggestions?


    Is this anise with bulb or only fronds?

    I always start thinking fish stew/soup when I see good-looking anise/fennel at the store.
  • Post #190 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:51 am
    Post #190 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:51 am Post #190 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:51 am
    Thanks, I should have been more specific. It's the herb anise hyssop, which is why I'm kind of stumped.
  • Post #191 - August 22nd, 2012, 1:23 pm
    Post #191 - August 22nd, 2012, 1:23 pm Post #191 - August 22nd, 2012, 1:23 pm
    LynnB wrote:Thanks, I should have been more specific. It's the herb anise hyssop, which is why I'm kind of stumped.


    The Farmer John cookbook has a recipe for anise hyssop tabbouleh. Use that as a search term and you should be able to get it through google books. My friend made this and it was quite good.

    Cheers, Jen
  • Post #192 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:22 pm
    Post #192 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:22 pm Post #192 - August 22nd, 2012, 7:22 pm
    Thanks, Jen. I actually gave my Mom that cookbook for Christmas last year but don't have it myself. I'll have her pass the recipe along, but I'm thinking about freezing most of it for when I have more cooking time. Infusing it for creme brûlée or flan really appeals to me. The thought of using it for an herbal sun tea also occurred to me this afternoon.
  • Post #193 - August 26th, 2012, 12:00 pm
    Post #193 - August 26th, 2012, 12:00 pm Post #193 - August 26th, 2012, 12:00 pm
    We have really been enjoying our CSA this year. We changed to Tomato Mountain and, as the name would imply, we are getting lots of fabulous tomatoes. We are also getting a great variety of vegetables--the highlights for me have been the hot peppers, eggplant and Asian greens. But summer tomatoes, well, I don't think you can ever eat to many. We've literally been eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner--straight up/with a little salt, on toast for breakfast, in panzanellas (panzanelle?) and pasta.

    Tomato Bounty...

    some cherry tomato varieties:

    Image

    oven roasted:

    Image

    Caprese salad

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    'Panzanella' using cornbread loosely modeled on a Smitten Kitchen recipe:

    Image

    Image

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    Toast and tomatoes....
    with pesto

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    with goat cheese and basil

    Image

    goat cheese and my new favorite black finishing salt

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    Pasta with oven roasted tomatoes, mascarpone and roasted eggplant

    Image
  • Post #194 - May 17th, 2013, 5:00 pm
    Post #194 - May 17th, 2013, 5:00 pm Post #194 - May 17th, 2013, 5:00 pm
    Not from my CSA (though I've been getting great greens, carrots, harukei turnips, etc from Tomato mountain) but I picked up morels and some nice local asparagus and fresh peas in Sawyer, Michigan last weekend and made the cheesy grits with spring vegetables (or a variation thereof) from the Serious Eats website...

    Image
  • Post #195 - May 22nd, 2013, 10:32 am
    Post #195 - May 22nd, 2013, 10:32 am Post #195 - May 22nd, 2013, 10:32 am
    This is my first year doing a CSA and mine is from Fat Blossoms. So far, I am loving it. Sunday evening, I made a simple stir fry all from my CSA and the Glenwood Sunday Market - stinging nettles, pea shoots, asparagus, green garlic and phoenix tofu served on top of red rice. For the sauce, it was soy mango sauce from the tofu stand, a little extra soy and chinese five spice from spice house. I really should remember to take pictures :wink:
  • Post #196 - May 28th, 2013, 7:43 pm
    Post #196 - May 28th, 2013, 7:43 pm Post #196 - May 28th, 2013, 7:43 pm
    With a couple of vegetarian guests for Memorial Day, I decided to let the smoker rest and go heavy on the Green City Market. So I prepared brunch for 4:

    Salad of mixed lettuces, arugula, Marcona almonds, radishes, some quickly pickled red onions and purple asparagus, and vinaigrette.

    Fried potatoes with yellow onions and spring garlic.

    Bennison's potato sourdough bread, toasted, buttered with Nordic Creamery butter and topped with melted Prairie Farms Angel Food goat cheese, sous vide poached eggs from TJ's, and morels and purple asparagus sauteed in butter with shallot and spring garlic.

    I thought it was all so good I hardly missed the smoker. I just wish I could have made some strawberry shortcakes for dessert, but alas, Memorial Day comes about a week or two early for that.
  • Post #197 - May 28th, 2013, 7:50 pm
    Post #197 - May 28th, 2013, 7:50 pm Post #197 - May 28th, 2013, 7:50 pm
    BR wrote:With a couple of vegetarian guests for Memorial Day, I decided to let the smoker rest and go heavy on the Green City Market. So I prepared brunch for 4:

    Salad of mixed lettuces, arugula, Marcona almonds, radishes, some quickly pickled red onions and purple asparagus, and vinaigrette.

    Fried potatoes with yellow onions and spring garlic.

    Bennison's potato sourdough bread, toasted, buttered with Nordic Creamery butter and topped with melted Prairie Farms Angel Food goat cheese, sous vide poached eggs from TJ's, and morels and purple asparagus sauteed in butter with shallot and spring garlic.

    I thought it was all so good I hardly missed the smoker. I just wish I could have made some strawberry shortcakes for dessert, but alas, Memorial Day comes about a week or two early for that.


    Pictures?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #198 - May 28th, 2013, 8:04 pm
    Post #198 - May 28th, 2013, 8:04 pm Post #198 - May 28th, 2013, 8:04 pm
    pairs4life wrote:Pictures?

    Unfortunately, no. I was so hurried getting everything ready I had no time . . . and once plated, I didn't want to tell anyone to not eat. I really need a damn sous chef!
  • Post #199 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:37 pm
    Post #199 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:37 pm Post #199 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:37 pm
    More morels put to use for dinner tonight: egg pappardelle, brown butter, spring garlic, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest, morels, arugula, shaved parmesan and chive blossom. This was just what the doctor ordered after a long Monday! And I had time to take a picture.

    Image
  • Post #200 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:40 pm
    Post #200 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:40 pm Post #200 - June 3rd, 2013, 6:40 pm
    That looks so good, BR.
  • Post #201 - June 3rd, 2013, 7:23 pm
    Post #201 - June 3rd, 2013, 7:23 pm Post #201 - June 3rd, 2013, 7:23 pm
    Thank you Alek - I was definitely pleased.
  • Post #202 - June 29th, 2013, 4:32 pm
    Post #202 - June 29th, 2013, 4:32 pm Post #202 - June 29th, 2013, 4:32 pm
    I'm back with Big Head Farms for a second year in a row, and today was the second week of the season.

    Last week we got red Russian kale, French breakfast radishes, arugula, mint, and white icicle radishes (and strawberries, for those of us who do a fruit share).

    This week we got collard greens, Toscano kale, lemon balm, sugar snap peas and a couple varieties of lettuce.

    If a nutritionist studied my eating patterns, he or she would probably be able to pick out Saturdays (pick up days) during CSA season. Today I've roasted and eaten this week & last week's kale, devoured the sugar snap peas with hummus and finished off the last of the breakfast radishes with butter and sea salt.

    I'd been hearing about cooked radishes, so last week I sliced up a bunch of the breakfast radishes and sauteed them with butter, then threw in a few anchovies at the last minute for an impromptu anchovy butter. I'm admittedly not a huge radish fan--too peppery for my tastes--but French breakfast radishes with butter and sea salt are fantastic.
  • Post #203 - June 29th, 2013, 7:24 pm
    Post #203 - June 29th, 2013, 7:24 pm Post #203 - June 29th, 2013, 7:24 pm
    I'm doing Angelic Organics again this year and the quality this season has been excellent, especially considering what a cold, wet spring we had. The broccoli has been so good that we just eat it steamed, with butter. I still don't know what to do with the kale-- I ruined a possibly good recipe from Plenty by subbing kale for chard. However, I would like to report a success with Korean Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Muchim), a recipe from Fine Cooking. Sorry no picture and the recipe may be behind a paywall, but doubtless similar can be found elsewhere.

    http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/korean-spinach.aspx

    Blanched spinach (~20x reduction in volume!) tossed with soy, sesame oil, garlic, rice wine vinegar, sugar and toasted sesame seeds. Simple, cool, tasty, and uses up a lot of greenery. Highly recommended.

    Jen
  • Post #204 - June 30th, 2013, 8:12 am
    Post #204 - June 30th, 2013, 8:12 am Post #204 - June 30th, 2013, 8:12 am
    Before I learned my lesson (I don't care for kale) I acquired a good bit of the stuff. I finally managed to get it down by using a sort of creamed spinach recipe. It turned out to be a fine side with our grilled steak.
  • Post #205 - July 4th, 2013, 10:06 am
    Post #205 - July 4th, 2013, 10:06 am Post #205 - July 4th, 2013, 10:06 am
    River Valley Shiitake-goat cheese tart with a green garlic-perfumed custard:

    Image
  • Post #206 - July 13th, 2013, 11:33 am
    Post #206 - July 13th, 2013, 11:33 am Post #206 - July 13th, 2013, 11:33 am
    Week 3 of Big Head Farm's CSA brought: Red Russian kale, Summer Crisp lettuce, arugula, Ho Mi Z mustard greens, basil, cilantro, Michigan sweet cherries and Michigan red raspberries.

    I was traveling so I only go last week's box a couple days ago.

    Week 4's box brought: Rainbow chard, dill, cabbage, broccoli, Laratte potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, raspberries and peaches.

    I had leftover Isan sausage from Rainbow Thai, so I roasted up the Laratte (fingerling) potatoes in butter and olive oil, mixed them up with the sausages and ate part of that for lunch today.

    The kale will head into the oven shortly for crispy roasted kale--my favorite preparation.

    (I'm currently roasting some Chioggia and golden beets I got at the Green City Market, which will get made into either a beet salad or beet soup, combined with some of the cilantro.)

    The Yukon Golds got boiled and made into a dilled potato salad--and on-the-fly recipe since I realized I had no mayo after I started cooking them. (Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, whole grain Dijon mustard, plain Greek yogurt, dill and salt)

    Raspberries and cherries go straight into my belly! I was in Northern Michigan last week as local cherries came into season, so I've probably eaten by weigh in Michigan cherries in the last 10 days.
  • Post #207 - July 18th, 2013, 6:19 pm
    Post #207 - July 18th, 2013, 6:19 pm Post #207 - July 18th, 2013, 6:19 pm
    Finally found a kale recipe that I don't hate: Pressure Cooker braised kale and carrots:
    http://nomnompaleo.com/post/18128850657 ... nd-carrots

    The kale gets nice and soft, plus the carrots and onions add flavor. My husband even liked it-- he said "I could eat a lot of this".

    Jen
  • Post #208 - August 10th, 2013, 12:25 pm
    Post #208 - August 10th, 2013, 12:25 pm Post #208 - August 10th, 2013, 12:25 pm
    Today was a Big Head Farm CSA day, tonight's Ravinia and on Monday I'm leaving town for a week, so I needed to plow through a lot of produce.

    I decided to make a fritatta for Ravinia tonight. I thinly sliced a Yukon gold and a Purple Viking potato--both from recent CSA boxes--and pan-fried them until soft. While those were cooking, I steamed some non-CSA spinach with some CSA scallions and Cippolini onions. Thin layer of pototo on the bottom of the pan, followed by the spinach/scallion/onion mixture, followed by a generous amount of Parmesan, topped with eggs and baked for 16 minutes at 400'. I had two pieces for lunch & can't wait to have it again for dinner!

    Now I'm cooking an "everything in the fridge" soup: Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, chard--all from my CSA box--plus some tomatoes and chicken sausage. It needs to cook down some more before I season it, but I'm thinking maybe a generous amount of pesto. Most of it'll be frozen and eaten periodically over the next few months.
  • Post #209 - August 25th, 2013, 9:41 am
    Post #209 - August 25th, 2013, 9:41 am Post #209 - August 25th, 2013, 9:41 am
    With out-of-town guests visiting, prepared dinner for 10 last night, and quite a bit of it, with the bulk of it based on what I picked up at the Lincoln Square farmers' market Thursday and the Green City Market yesterday. Only a few pictures though - once people started arriving and my prep sped up, the camera was put away. Anyway, the food:

    Bread from Floriole with an herb and garlic butter

    Sesame bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic, topped with arugula, basil and a colorful variety of chopped heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Too bad I didn't get a picture of this one because the tomatoes were really beautiful.

    Pan con tomate - baguette from Bennison's cut in half lengthwise, toasted, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with grated tomato and sea salt. I always love this very simple dish:

    IMG_4888.JPG Pan con tomate (tomato bread)



    Cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto (the cantaloupe I picked up at the Lincoln Square market Thursday was as good a cantaloupe as I've ever tried). As much as I think there may be more creative ways to showcase both elements of this dish, it's easy and always pleases. And I had to find a way to show off this incredible cantaloupe.

    Padron peppers sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt. Purchased the peppers from Genesis and just be warned, they were the hottest padrons I've ever tried. Usually, they vary. Still, very delicious.

    Grilled hangar steaks with a chimichurri sauce

    Double-baked potatoes

    Ratatouille, which I'd say is a perfect dish to be making right now since every ingredient is in season - eggplant, red and yellow onion, garlic, peppers (green, red, yellow), green and yellow zucchini, tomatoes, basil, some red chili flakes, olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper and some sherry vinegar for a little acidity.

    Dessert was a fruit galette. The crust was from this recipe. The filling consisted of peaches, red raspberries, blackberries and blueberries (plus lemon juice, almond extract, sugar and cornstarch). I also made a maple-mascarpone whipped cream using same maple syrup from Burton's, which I thought went very well with the crust and fruit. Not the best picture (and certainly not my prettiest crust work), but it'll give you an idea:

    IMG_4886.JPG Galette with peaches, red raspberries, blackberries and blueberries



    Having started prepping, cooking and setting the table early yesterday, I think today will be a very good day to do nothing!
  • Post #210 - August 17th, 2020, 10:55 am
    Post #210 - August 17th, 2020, 10:55 am Post #210 - August 17th, 2020, 10:55 am
    I had forgotten about this thread and wanted it to bring it to the top again. There are a lot of great recipes in here. We joined a CSA (Tomato Mountain) for the first time this year. Some weeks are more successful than others in using what's in our box. Case in point: kale. We got a lovely bunch two weeks in a row and needed to make a dent in it.

    I came across a Cauliflower Feta Orzo Salad attributed to Chrissy Teigen (if that matters to you.) It calls for spinach but decided to sub in kale. I made the dressing first. I tore about 3 cups of kale into smaller pieces and massaged in roughly 2/3 of the dressing and let it sit while the cauliflower roasted and orzo cooked. I added the cauliflower a few minutes after pulling it from the oven for two reasons. One, we were hungry and didn't want to wait for it to cool. Two, I was thinking the residual heat would help soften the kale. The feta was stirred in before serving. We skipped the dried cherries.

    I liked this salad more than Mr. X did. I had hoped the kale would mellow after some time in the dressing, but it was still pretty chewy. This salad would benefit from some red pepper flakes in the dressing. I might try it again closer to how it's written. It might be better that way. ;-)
    -Mary

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