Every week I look forward to making Shabbat lunch. White platters filled with gorgeous, complex salads; cooked seasonal vegetables; grains layered with flavors and more vegetables - anything that is fresh and flavorful - but simple.
I haven’t been cooking professionally for some time and I’m now starting to really miss it. Sophia Cohen of @UrbanPops started that spark in me again. That “I’m so capable and have so much passion for what I do” spark. That “I love what I do and will succeed” spark. And the “I’m thinking of new recipes till my head hits the pillow” spark. However, back in my catering days there were many nights where my head never actually hit the pillow. That’s probably why I stopped what I was doing. My body was screaming for rest and I could no longer sustain the lifestyle of catering. I wanted to start a family more than anything. So I went to work alongside my husband (anyone need screen printed apparel? I know someone who does that) and traded the kitchen for 9-5 Monday through Friday. Until I met Sophia 5 years later. Many women are familiar with the concept of sacrificing one dream for another. It’s is all about priorities. But now I get to have my cake and eat it too. So I’m back - and I still love food and apparently I still know what I’m doing.
My Shabbat lunches are always veggie centric - there is also fish and dairy - but never meat. I never cook for less than 8 people and very often it is 14 or 16 people sitting around the table. My menu planning (for the whole week) begins on Sunday night so that I can get my order into Fresh Direct and make my life a little easier. They are not the cheapest but they have everything and it’s great quality. Oh, did I mention they deliver to my little, remote neighborhood and I can do it all from my much smarter than me phone? Love that.
My lunch menu planning revolves around my salad course. It’s the best part of the meal. The highlight this week was surely the kale salad. We are definitely not sick of kale yet and I have never ever said no to cheese. So here is a salad that keeps getting rave reviews. Oh, and thanks to my nieces and their friends there were no leftovers. (Happy Birthday Katie!)
1 bunch of kale, washed and large ribs and stems removed
1 package of brussels sprouts, about 14-17 pcs, washed
1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
With a sharp knife, chop the kale in very small, fine pieces - almost shredding it. Do the same with the brussels sprouts. I like to slice the brussels sprouts down the middle once so they aren't rolling all over the place before I start shredding them. Put everything in a salad spinner and clean well. It is important to also dry it very well - becuase wet lettuce never absorbs dressing.
When it's dry, mix the greens with the cheese and almonds in a serving bowl.
To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients except for the oil. While whisking, slowly drip the olive oil in. The slower you add, the more you emulsify your dressing. This creates a dressing that won't separate and will need less oil in the long run.
Dress your salad (I use gloves to really make sure it's coated) 45 minutes before you are ready to eat to allow the kale and brussels sprouts to soften and absorb the flavor.