Food for the Dog Days.

The city has been undergoing a heat wave these past few days, but I’m not complaining: the weather deemed “too hot” by many long-term San Franciscans is just the sort of weather I longed for during Minnesota’s chilly spring, that light at the end of the drab tunnel of winter. Yesterday, for the second time this year, I busted out the shorts. I even wore a tank top — with no additional layer. Sunlight on my bare arms was a sensation decadent and fleeting; I hope that the rest of the week sees temps in the 80s. Yeah, delayed summer!

Small mountain of kale on my kitchen counter.

Of course, in weather like this, I hate to cook anything in the oven. Really, I hate to use the stove, lest the kitchen heat up. Our apartment (like many in the city) is a cranky Victorian with no air conditioning, so once it’s hot, it’s hot for a good long time. Today, then, was the perfect day for me to prepare the Asian Cabbage and Peanut Salad recommended to me by Eliana (and created by Michelle at Find Your Balance). I was enticed to try this salad for several reasons, among these 1) my growing boredom with my staple lunch salad; 2) my eagerness to test recipes given to me by friends; and 3) my goal of incorporating more raw kale into my everyday life. Well, my everyday diet: I don’t plan to use kale decoratively or for purposes other than eating, but you know. More kale, fewer problems is how the saying goes.

Until now, I’d forgotten how beautiful cabbage is:

Look at this radiant and multilayered face!

I snacked on a few pieces and was pleased by the veggie’s peppery bite. I’m stunned, really, that I’ve neglected cabbage for so long. I can’t blame myself, though, recalling the steamed cabbage that my parents served alongside corned beef and boiled potatoes. (Note: this dinner singlehandedly ruined cabbage and potatoes for my childhood self. Only now am I coming around to these two foods. People, never serve steamed cabbage seasoned with nothing but salt! It’s a senseless waste of a good veggie.) Now that I’ve rediscovered my love, there’s no going back: Rotkohl is on the list of things to prepare, as is one of Alton Brown’s slaw recipes. (Which one is yet to be determined.)

After I’d chopped my kale, my cabbage, and my tamari almonds (no bulk peanuts, so I opted for a different nut) and drained a can of white beans, I mixed the dressing. It’s gorgeous and rich, made mostly of lime juice and sesame oil with a few other ingredients (brown rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey) thrown in. I added a few shakes of black pepper for good measure; as with kale, everything is better with pepper. Beyond the modifications already mentioned, I also omitted the carrots from the recipe. Why? you ask. Well, I used a whole bunch of kale rather than the suggested two cups, and my giant Tupperware bin was almost too full to close. Next time, I’ll include the carrots, but I don’t think they’ll be missed.

Here’s a shot of the finished product, packed and ready for  lunch:

The finished salad, sans dressing and prior to a good toss.

Wholesome-looking, no? I’m pretty excited for lunchtime, I have to admit. If the office Almond Milk Thief comes near this salad, oh man, there will be hell to pay. Nobody comes between me and my greens! In the meantime, I’ll be scouting for more cold salad recipes to prevent further zombification of my lunch routine. As always, recipes and recommendations are welcome.

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2 responses to “Food for the Dog Days.

  1. It’s been 90+ too many days to count here and I cranked on my oven. Blech.

  2. No! Don’t do it! This salad (of which I just ate a hearty portion) is delicious and oven-free!

    Of course, if I’d been avoiding the oven due to a prolonged heat wave, there would come a time when I’d just deal with the heat and crank that baby up, consequences be damned.

    Seriously, though, this salad is tasty — and good thing, too, since I have enough to last me the week!

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