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Archive for October, 2012

Finally, as promised . . .

I am writing about the mysterious kale salad that I keep mentioning.

A green on green salad. Worth the wait, huh?

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food-blogs.  Right now, the blog is going through a little identity crisis, but the writing is still top-notch.  You can find the original recipe here (in the comment section) at The Pete Is On.  I have no idea who Pete is, but I find him very entertaining, and our culinary curiosity is freakishly in step.  If you like reading my posts, you’ll love reading his.  Seriously, go check him out.  I’ll wait.

You did just go look at Pete’s blog, right?  OK.  I’ll believe you, but only this once.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle Kale
  • 1/3 cup Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds (shelled)
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds (shelled)
  • Alfalfa Sprouts to taste
  • diced Avocado

Mix the soy sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk in oil slowly.  Slice onions thinly into half moons and put them into the dressing while you make the salad.  Toast the nuts in a dry skillet.  Do the nuts separately because they cook at different speeds.  Remove the stems from the kale and then chiffonade the leaves and slice the stems into a bite size pieces.  Add the dressing (except the onions) to the kale and massage with your hands until softened (about a minute).  Add the onion, nuts, and sprouts and toss briefly to cover with dressing.  Finally, add the avocado and serve.

When I’ve made it, I substitute almond slices and pine nuts in for the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  Also, I don’t put in any alfalfa sprouts.  The first time I made it, I did put in avocado, but I’ve done it without, and it still tastes great.  It’s a very solid recipe and can handle any messing around with the ingredients with ease.

If you’ve tried kale before and have been turned off by it’s bitter taste, you should still try this recipe.  The dressing (I’m assuming the olive oil / lemon juice) tempers that bitterness quite well.

In the interest in full disclosure, I did get some “eh” reviews on it from my family.  But they didn’t spit it out immediately, so that’s good.  Even with the occasional lackluster enthusiasm, I’m going to making this salad a lot.

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Grandma Alice

Been avoiding this for a while now.

Lindz’s Grandma Alice passed away on the 4th.  It was extremely unexpected.  From what the paramedics and Kirk (Lindz’s dad) could tell, she did her usual morning routine, poured herself a cup of coffee, and sat down in front of the TV to watch Cash Cab.  When Kirk stopped by later in the afternoon and found her, she was still sitting in her chair, no longer with us.

Alice and Burt’s Wedding in 1950.

I’ve known her for only the last 6 years, but she became an important part of my life.  Her place was a regular stop whenever we would go to Rochester and visit Lindz’s folks.  No matter when we would stop by (even out of the blue) she was always happy to see her favorite granddaughter and grandson-in-law.  Yup, we were the only granddaughter and grandson-in-law.  She liked her ha-ha moments.

During the cold months, Alice would work on her jigsaw puzzles in the sun porch.  It would take her a while to put them together because she didn’t always get the pieces right.  So myself or Kyle (Lindz’s brother) would go through and pull apart whatever didn’t work.  She didn’t mind, but she could still crank through several each winter.

When she wasn’t doing her puzzles, she was usually reading her books.  She was a very frequent visitor to the library.  She would occasionally complain (at least to us)  if they didn’t have what she wanted in the large print.  Though they usually did have a copy, or would find her one.  It was really touching that the library sent a condolence card.

Of course, this is all secondary to when her “little hooligans” were over.  Kirk and Denise have two English Setters, Ty and Rose, and the dogs would go over to Alice’s for doggy-daycare.  This used to be more frequent, back when Kirk was still teaching.  Alice spoiled those dogs like nothing else.  It got to the point where the dogs wouldn’t eat regular jelly.  They had to have orange marmalade on their breakfast toast when they went over to Grandma’s.  I know the puppies ate more of her supper than she did.  Alice and the dogs didn’t mind, but it needled Kirk because the dogs kept gaining weight and his mom wasn’t.

The whole Colwell clan: Denise, Kirk, Alice, Kyle, Me, and Lindz. The two hooligans, Rose and Ty, are in front.

Alice’s “grandkids:” (L to R) Jadea, Raeya, Jessie, Lindz, yours truly, Kyle, and Jessica.  Granted half of the group are grandnieces, but Alice always thought of them as her own.

Of the many tasty things that Alice cooked, this was probably my favorite. Good ol’ chipped beef. Nothing fancy, just plain good.  And no lumps.  🙂

Alice was fond of telling people how she got her name.  She was the youngest of 13 and after she was born, her dad, John, decided that it was enough kids and said “das ist alles.”  Which translates from German as “that is all.”  So it was decided that she should be called Alice.  Both Alice and I loved a good play on words, so, for you Alice, I’m signing off with “und das ist alles.”

Czeck-Mass (not to be confused with Czeck-mas)

My family is Catholic (with the stray Lutheran or two), so when my Grandfather Mike passed away back in ’76, a mass was said for him.  That has turned into a yearly tradition which has been going strong ever since.  As other relatives have passed away over the years, they have been added to the remembrance.

The mass is held at my parent’s church (which also used to be my grandparents) and afterwards, everyone heads over to the farm to BS and eat lunch.  So I thought it would be fitting to use this as a post on the one year (-ish) anniversary of starting this blog.  The reasoning is pretty simple.  Family gatherings like these have been a major influence on my life, both culinarily and communally.  I look forward to this event each and every year because it’s one of the few times that I get to see a large portion of my family.  That and the food.  The Czecks love to eat.  And they love to eat good food.

As usual, Mom set out some munchies for when people showed up. In this case, mixed nuts, candy corn, butter mints, and coffee.

I just want to point out that the food has been scaled back significantly as the years have gone by.  The food this year completely covered the kitchen table and the desserts took up a decent portion of a counter.

Okay, this is going to take awhile. Starting upper left and working counter clockwise around the perimeter of the table: bread / dinner rolls, pasta salad, veggie pizza, a creamy pasta salad, cottage cheese, wild rice salad, and roast pheasant. The inside loop consists of cheese, bread and butter pickles, watermelon, and kale salad.

As noted in a previous post, my nephew Cole helped me make a kale salad (I really promise this post is coming soon).  My aunt Rosie (and hubby Gary) went to the State Fair this year and she sat through a twenty minute demonstration in order to get this wild rice salad recipe (at least I think this is the recipe).  I’m glad she was patient because it was very good.  It had avocado, steak, wild rice, and all sorts of other goodies in it.  One of my other aunties, Mary Ann, had a freezer full of pheasant, so she used this opportunity to get rid of some of it.  Much to everyone’s delight I might add.  She fried off the pieces, made a pan gravy, and finished it off in the crockpot.  She had some of the younger kids come up to her and tell her how good it was.  It was really cute.  Some of those kids have never had pheasant before.  It warmed my heart that they were willing to try something completely new and even more that they liked it.

Now this is looking the opposite way down the table. Here I’m just going to list the things not previously listed. A veggie tray, sausages, another pasta salad, and ham

Mom was the one who made the sausages.  She picked up five pounds of the polish at Thielen’s (as usual) and it all disappeared by the time everyone was through eating.  It really is that good.  I can’t talk up that meat locker enough.

The good stuff! Michelle kept everyone happy and made an apple coffee cake. I’m not sure what kind of pie, but I would hazard a guess of apple.

I think there may have been a riot if my sis, Chell, didn’t make coffee cake.  (I’ve posted the recipe before.)  I don’t even care that she didn’t make the poppy seed version because she sent a whole apple one home with Lindz and me.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m very easily bribed with food.  It’s even easier when it’s really good homemade food.

Popcorn balls drizzled with chocolate and chocolate chip bars.

I was joking with my cousin Jon about the popcorn balls that he brought.  I asked him if he was trying to class up the Czeck gatherings by drizzling chocolate over them.  He just smiled sheepishly and chuckled.  Good enough of an answer because they were a chocolate-caramel delight.

They may be adults, but Sara, Jill, and Jon still ended up at the kid’s table. That’s one problem with being the “babies” of the family. Of course, they may have been entertaining Mason (his mom, Kathy is watching from the back).

Lindz catching up with Dad’s two younger sisters, Rosie and Annette.

Dave, Dad, Bea, Kyle, and Janey talking and eating. As it should be.

Mary Ann eating and keeping Mom company while she fusses around in the kitchen.

I’ve tried for years to get Mom to sit down, relax for a minute, and grab a bite to eat.  But she is having none of it.  At this point, I ask the token question of if she needs help and then let her do her thing.  For the record, I do gladly help when she asks for it.

As a final note, I am endlessly amused watching people on the farm.  It started out many years ago with my cousins.  They would run around like wild animals crawling over the hay bales, running through the woods, sitting on the tractors, chasing the cats, mooing at the cows, and spooking the chickens.  Or what I would call a normal day.  Now that my cousins are older and have kids of their own, I get to watch the next generation do the same thing.  And you know what?  It still hasn’t gotten old.

The two that started all of this: Grandpa Mike and Grandma Rose (circa 1971)