the best part of the trip, besides the sunshine and lounging poolside with drink in hand was spending time with one of my favorite people on the planet - N. it's hard to believe it was 12 and a half years ago that i met N in my freshman year dorm. we were on the same floor and as soon as i met the cute, petite, british brunette, i had that feeling. you know that rare instance when you meet someone and just know they are going to be a lifelong friend? that feeling. i am blessed to have four wonderful girlfriends from JMU. the five of us have made an effort to stick together and aim to get together at least once a year.
N and me - vegas 2010
it just so happens N is getting married in may and E and i were lucky enough to get a preview of the wedding location while down in miami - the forge. besides having a super cool, eclectic vibe, the food is amazing! we are in for a treat for the wedding dinner. N was raving about their kale salad from the get-go and said we had to order it. now i like kale as much as the next person (ok, i probably like kale more than the average person - there are most likely many a folk out there who don't like kale) but i was skeptical about this so called "kale salad". i mean, raw kale? that can be pretty tough. let me just say there is something to keeping your expectations low like your perfect antidote says. if you keep your expectations low, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised.
this salad knocked my socks off! seriously.
the kale was finely chopped which removed any trace of toughness. the kale was interspersed with currants and pine nuts and dressed with a lemon parmesan dressing. N and i split it and the portions were still fairly big. still, i cleaned up every bite and couldn't wait to recreate it at home.
i don't want to pull a muscle by patting myself on the back but i think i nailed it - first try!
even if you don't like kale, i recommend trying this salad. it's pretty easy to pull together and so refreshing. the tart lemon is balanced by the creamy, salty parmesan and the sweet chewy currants pair perfectly with the crunchy pine nuts. every bite was amazing. i see a lot of this salad in my future this spring and summer.
it. is. excellent. (too bad i have now set the bar too high for you - i need to start taking my own advice:)
thanks N for taking us to the forge and for the kale salad. we can't wait for a repeat visit in may!
now, if i can just recreate the hamburger N had topped with braised short ribs (that's right, meat topped meat) with a side of truffle fries . . .
Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
1 large bunch kale, well rinsed
1/2 cup currants
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, preferably freshly and finely grated
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
remove kale from stems and pulse in food processor until chopped. (you don't want to pulverized but you want a fairly fine chop.)
whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
in a large bowl, add chopped kale, currants and pine nuts. add dressing a little at a time and toss well. continue adding dressing until desired consistency is reached. you want the kale to be coated but not swimming in the dressing.
let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve. top with additional grated parmesan, if desired.