My daughters used to beg me to take them to Target. Oh how they love that place! I did too, once upon a time, but it is difficult for me to peruse those aisles these days. The last bit of my apron string is caught somewhere between the accessory and make-up aisles. If I’m not careful, I can find myself expecting to see one of the M’s standing right beside me, asking if they can put their latest must-have treasure into our bulging basket.
Needless to say, it has become necessary for me to adopt a new hang-out, one that doesn’t tug so tightly on the last bit of stitch to the the that binds.
Two or three years ago (sorry, I guess I could look the date up, but why be
that specific…lol), a Central Market grocery sprang up in my neck-of-the-woods. It is a sweet escape, therapeutic and rejuvenating for all things necessary in celebrating the joys of a foodie. They also sell make-up and accessories, but without the M’s hanging court-side, I generally don’t visit those aisles. Generally you’ll find me over in the coffee aisle, smelling and sampling the coffee. The nuts and chocolates area can hypnotize me, as does the bread bakery and the deli.
And so this week our vegan journey is a make-it-up-as-you-go, recipe. An imitation, if you will, plus a bit of creative Zen. It was in that very deli that I would become smitten with the idea for this adventure. Hit by a guilty pleasure that was so refreshing and tantalizing, I knew that the recipe must be duplicated. Mr. Google, Mr. Jeeves/Ask, and the likes of another local ya-hoo, cousin Yahoo, left me with promises, but no real, died-in-the-wool, item. So, I winged it, and I asked M1 and Nana B, to wing-it too.
One head of fresh kale, washed, dried and ripped or sliced into salad-serving bites, bruised and sweated with one teaspoon of Kosher salt, drained and chilled. (Process takes about one hour, start to finish.)
one teaspoon freshly ground pepper
one teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (fresh minced garlic would be even better. Use a couple of cloves).
2 to 3 Tablespoons freshly minced ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries (soak in 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice)
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup blanched, then roasted, almonds (diced or slivered before using)
4 Medjool dates (sliced in long slices)
1 or 2 thinly sliced jalapeño peppers (fresh)
1/3 cup oil-packed, thinly sliced, sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup fresh cucumber, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 large avocado, sliced and used as garnish to finish salad
4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 Tablespoons sesame seed oil
The quest for the perfect recipe
is coded into my DNA. It hangs in the hood with my apron string(s), along with M1 and M2.
I had so much fun “creating” this week. It was fun to throw caution to the wind and not follow any rules. One of my co-workers just returned for Hawaii (lucky duck) and brought me back a packet of salad dressing mix. I knew I would save it for my blazing burners salad and I was so excited when the day came to use this little packet of wonder. I went to the grocery store and loaded up on lots of fruits and veggies and when it came time to make the salad I chopped, chopped, chopped and mixed that yummy dressing. Though I LOVED the dressing, it was not at all what I expected. I assumed it would be a sweet, fruity dressing, but it turned out to be very savory.
I started with a spinach base because I had a massive amount in my fridge and it needed to be used up ASAP!
I then chopped up some mangoes, bell pepper, red jalapeno, avocado, and red onion.
And the final product…