Well, here we are! I can't express how happy and inspired I am be in this space, sharing food stories and recipes. I've dreamed of Feast or Fallow for several years, thinking things like "what does the Internet need with another food blog?" and "I'd love to write about food except a lot of times I make things that taste really weird, not in a cool way." Thankfully, there's a louder host of voices who continued to tell me the other side of the story: doing what you love isn't about being the best; work has value even if it doesn't make any money; and food, no matter how simple, is always worth talking about. Leading the charge on these topics is my kind, balanced and big-dreamer husband, Chase. I must thank him for eating a lot of things that taste weird, not in a cool way, and also for enduring a lot of menu items he affectionately refers to as "blog food." I think it's like the new "girl food."
Anyways, here we are and I'm humbled and excited to share a salad with you that is quite fitting for this occasion. On most days, lunches around here are a humble affair. I love the daily effort of making something delightful out of whatever is on hand, and I love how working from home (for an amazing company) allows me the flexibility to make whatever I want for lunch, whenever the creative note or hunger pangs strike. Lots of times it's a piece of grainy toast swiped with hummus or cheese then layered with whatever roasted vegetables are leftover from dinner last night. Other days, it's a hodge-podge salad with whatever needs to be eaten up—the last bit of fruit, a scrap of cheese, a handful of nuts.
Because I can very easily go the whole day glued to my glowing laptop, I make a real effort to close it, put my phone on silent, crack open a book, or just stare out the window in my kitchen for a few minutes. In the warmer months, I'm drawn outside for a mid-day respite from the computer glow, but on these eternally cold and gray February days, lunch is all I've got. This winter citrus salad was born out of an almost empty pantry, but has sense been put on regular rotation. It's evidence that almost anything can be elevated to a proper lunch, given a small window of time and a few pantry staples.
I realize blood oranges, pistachios and baby kale aren't exactly pantry staples, but this combination is worth seeking out if you don't hoard blood oranges and dark leafy greens this time year. I've also made this salad with a grapefruit, and the tartness lends a nice quality! Just increase the maple syrup a bit to round things out. And because I'm obnoxious, I'm going to say that a fresh goat cheese will really send this salad over the top. I should also mention that this salad will hold up well as a packed lunch since kale (even dressed) will hold up for several hours without getting wilty.
Thanks for being here... really. I wish we could sit down to lunch together.
Winter citrus salad :: baby kale, blood orange, pistachio
Serves 2 as a proper lunch, 4 as a side salad.
What you'll need:
2 large handfuls of baby kale*, chopped
1 blood orange
1/4 cup de-shelled pistachios
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional, but I like it, especially if this is your proper lunch)
*I have a hard time with raw kale as the base of a salad, but I've found the baby variety is my gateway salad kale as it's a bit more tender. If you can't locate it, any leafy lettuce mix will be great.
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon grade b maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt + pepper
Chop kale into rough, 1-inch pieces. MIx the vinaigrette in a small jar with a lid, shake well to combine. Toss the kale in the dressing and let it soak while you prepare the rest.
Slice off the top and bottom of the blood orange, then working with a pairing knife, cut around the fruit to remove the peel and pithy layer. Slice the orange into wedges, then carefully chop into bite-sized pieces; keep as much juice in tack as possible. Add the chopped orange to the kale along with pistachios, avocado, quinoa and goat cheese. Give it a couple of tosses to coat everything, divide between bowls, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve!