This past month, I’ve been to no fewer than 6 different bookstores – which is actually a difficult feat considering I live in a small town and all the local bookstores have closed (sob) actually, 4 of the bookstores were large airport bookstores (another sob – I don’t care much for traveling during the holiday season.) At each store, propped up front and center is Deb’s (Smitten Kitchen) cookbook.
I love that the book features Deb’s strangely comforting black/white mottled countertop design. Not that the countertop is strange, but it’s strange that I’ve followed Deb for so long now that I feel warm-yummy every time I see her blog photos – which always is set on her kitchen countertop. Do I want to snuggle up on her kitchen counter? I might just, given the chance. Hmmmm…..strange, right?!
When I got the book in the mail, the first recipe I flipped to was Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats – rice krispy treats made with nutty browned butter?! Deb’s hallmark sweet treats are balanced with healthy recipes like Vermouth Mussels with Tarragon Oven Fries. In simple terms, it’s a book filled with recipes you actually want to cook. Big Breakfast Latkes (shredded potato/onion latke with sunny side up egg on top) would be perfect for weekends, vegetarian Ratatouille Sub is “belly warming”, and of course, Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans carries all the crunch, sweetness that you could ever want in a salad.
I’m lucky enough to be able to see Deb once year or so – we’ve been to the Bahamas together, partied on a rooftop and Jacob’s first subway ride was to come see me at a book signing. She’s amazing, loving and is just as chatty in person as on her blog.
Get it: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Now, about that salad…..We grow kale every year in the garden, it’s just now starting to get big enough to harvest the leaves. Kale is super-easy to grow, and it’s one of those plants that you can harvest leaf by leaf – just pluck enough for the salad.
Most of the kale recipes that I see are for cooked kale (see Caribbean Kale & Bacon or Kale Chips (try them!), so get really excited to see kale salad recipes – oh yes, try this Kale & Cauliflower Salad that’s one of my all time favorites.
Deb’s recipe for Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans features frilly crunchy (healthy!!) raw kale, creamy goat cheese, tart dried cherries, crunchy pecans and paper-thin slivers of radish. The variety of flavors, colors and textures that you experience in this salad is what brings me joy.
The book: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Prep Time: 5 minutes
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook from Deb Perelman
Optional step: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread the pecans on a tray. Toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.
Wash your kale and let it dry on spread-out kitchen or paper towels. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl.
Add the radishes, pecans and cherries. Crumble the goat cheese over top.
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad.
NOTE: This salad is great to eat right away, but even better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing.