Today’s visit to the Downtown Glendale Farmers Market was unique in that I didn’t walk over by myself! I was joined by Kimberly Beck, a new friend who I brought on as a personal assistant a few weeks ago. Personal assistant? Yep. For as much stuff as I’ve managed to crank out these past few years, I have to admit that I’m painfully unorganized and it’s begun to affect both my productivity and my level of satisfaction with my work. (It’s not that I’m not happy with my work, but it’s all too frequently borne out of last-minute chaos rather than actual planning and intention. So… enter Kimberly!) It’s been very part-time, which works well for both of us, and she’s been a great help to me thus far! I can’t wait to see how working smarter will benefit me in the long run!
Because I’d vowed to post a new farmers-market-inspired recipe each week, but hadn’t done so for the last few weeks (for a variety of reasons I won’t bore you with), she asked if she might tag along to the market and make the dish with me this week. Absolutely! If nothing else, it will make sure that I actually go to the market and make a recipe! It was kinda nice having company too.
Anyway, she was struck by the beauty of the purple cauliflower at the Underwood Family Farms stand. (Coincidentally enough, they’re the fine folks who grow all the red jalapeños for Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha!) It was looking extra gorgeous, and I thought it might be neat to toss it into the food processor to make cauliflower “rice” as part of a salad. (All the cool kids are doing it.)
We grabbed some gorgeous fennel, stunning blood oranges, Siberian kale, to take back to the house, where I knew I had some miso paste, dried fruit, and red onion waiting. It all started coming together in my head, and I’m pleased to report that the final salad was delish! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
Kale and Fennel Salad with Cauliflower “Rice” & Miso-Citrus Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
For the vinaigrette:
2 medium oranges, juiced
1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon raw agave nectar or honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
1 bunch kale, spinach, or other leafy greens
1/2 medium lemon, juiced
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 medium bulb fennel
1/2 small red onion
1/2 medium cauliflower head (we used purple, but any color is fine)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (I used blueberries, but would’ve used cranberries or cherries if I had them)
Fresh mint, for garnish
To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, miso paste, garlic, olive oil, and agave nectar in a small bowl or mason jar. Let rest while preparing the salad.
Prepare the kale by removing and discarding the tough, thick ribs running down the center of each leaf. Coarsely chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the kale with the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Massage and squeeze the kale firmly so that the leaves begin to soften as the fibers break down. Let sit for 10 minutes.
While the kale is softening, remove and discard the thick, white core from the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse them in a food processor fitted with an S-blade until it is in small pieces, roughly the size of cooked rice grains. Alternately, you may use a box grater; this will create pieces that are more uniform in size, but it will take significantly longer. So it goes.
Next, remove the top fronds and the tough base from the fennel bulb. Slice the fennel as thinly as possible, minding the tips of your fingers of course. Repeat the same with the onion.
Plate it up and enjoy. If you want to jazz it up any more, some chopped walnuts or pecans would be a nice addition, or you can use walnut oil or hazelnut oil in place of the olive oil. But really, this was pretty divine as is.
This post is dedicated to my beautiful mom, Bonnie Clemens, who would’ve been 62 years old today. Love and miss you, mama!