Kale Haiku

Kale, a Superfood
or loathsome vegetable
Stuck between my teeth

Ah, kale. The darling of the farmers market. The badge of the Paleo police. The leathery, chewy, leaf that is just EVERYWHERE. That stuff is not my favorite raw. I gritted my teeth, quite literally, through a bag of mixed salad greens I had bought for my lunch last week. I swear I cut my lip on its jaggedy edge. But, braised, with some olive oil, chicken broth and garlic? That's nice. Sliced into ribbons and swirled through a garlicky, brothy soup? It becomes all silky and adds nice structure to the broth. Bake it until crisp and sprinkled with a little sea salt. Pretty darn tasty.

It just has no business mixing it up with my romaine.

Baked Kale Chips
Preheat the oven to 300

Remove the stems and tough ribs from the leaves of one bunch of lacinato kale. Wash the kale thoroughly (unless you have a thing for grit) and dry it very well.

In a large bowl toss the kale leaves with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, (you could also use avocado oil or coconut oil) make sure the leaves are evenly covered with the oil.

Lay the leaves in a single layer on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment. 

Bake the leaves for 20 minutes or until dry and crispy. Immediately after pulling them from the oven sprinkle them with some sea salt.

I Forgot I Liked Brunch

Moving in to the New Year I find myself both reflecting and looking forward. Probably like most people this time of year. I'm not one to make resolutions but I do have some hopes and plans afoot.

Moving back to the States brought with it the joy of spending time with extended family. I belong to a tribe of very funny, intelligent, talented, and kind people. I am ever so lucky to be related to them and I'm looking forward to seeing them as often as possible.

Grainy panoramic of a very joyful Christmas Eve. There was singing and flamingos.

I'm turning 50 this year. No big deal, but it IS a big deal that we are going here to celebrate!

I know. I'm a grown woman. But the Magic Kingdom has my heart! Splash Mountain here I come!
(But not the Tea Cups. The Tea Cups are of the Devil)

I have plans for our garden. We bought a house, (yay!) which sat vacant while it was on the market. Between the sitting vacant part, and the transitioning to life stateside part, some things fell apart.

It was alive at one point and then....no words. Just shame. 

Found this in the garden. For now it is the only pet I'm allowing us to have. Mostly out of fear that it will start to resemble the plants. Deadish.

She's a keeper. We named her Annie.

And, I decided that I really like having people over for brunch. I'm going to host brunch more often this year and I'm going to serve these.

Sweet Potato Hashies.

Sweet Potato Hashies

The original recipe calls for cinnamon which I omitted. I just wanted the taste of the crispy sweet potatoes to shine through. I think they also might be nice with a little cumin and chili powder if you're so inclined. Ooh, and green onions would be great!

4 cups grated sweet potatoes
4 eggs mixed well
2 tablespoons coconut flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut oil or fat of your choice for sautéing 

If you have the patience of a saint then by all means use a box grater for your sweet potatoes. I do not, so I used the shredding blade on my food processor and made short work of this part of the recipe. 

In a large mixing bowl stir together all the ingredients, except for the oil. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Melt a couple tablespoons of the fat of your choice in a large sauté pan. When the pan is sizzling place a scant 1/4 cup of the shredded potato mixture in the pan. I could place about 4 hashies at a time in my pan. 

Let the potatoes cook until well browned on one side, 3-5 minutes, then carefully flip them over. Since they don't have a lot of binder to hold them together some may fall apart. That's okay, just push them back together and carry on, cooking another 3-5 minutes on the second side.

I placed my finished potatoes on a sheet pan in my oven at 300 degrees to stay warm until the teenagers decided to arise. I really like that they crisped up a bit more, but if they are going to be in the oven for longer than 20 min I'd use a lower temp.

We served these with sausage patties and poached eggs.

What does a New Year hold?

The invitation: Would you want to spend some time with us while we're home?
The answer: YES, on our way!

We took a short road trip to see a some friends and welcomed the New Year with them. We sipped Mumm Napa Cuvée M (which was delightful), nibbled on Tapenade and Texas Trash, played Settlers of Catan (I really needed more brick. I had enough sheep to rival New Zealand), and marveled in the miracle that we all stayed awake to see the ball drop at midnight.

The evening was interspersed with the joy of deep conversation and laughter. Our friends live a few time zones away so with limited time we dive deep, tell me, tell me, tell me.....everything was discussed, prayers said, blessings given, and then finally everyone was enveloped in hugs that will tide us over until we see each other again.

The road home allowed for time to reflect on the past year. A lot can happen in a year. A LOT. Last January we were living in Tunisia and looking ahead to a path that wasn't clearly marked. I had been reading a lovely book called To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue. It is a book of blessings as you journey over life's thresholds. At that time A Blessing for the Interim spoke straight to my heart and I would meditate on it daily. One line in particular summed up life then, and I think it rightfully describes the newness of the year: "The path you took to get here is washed out, the way forward is still concealed from you. The old is not yet old enough to have died away, the new is still too young to be born." I always feel like the last waning days of the school break are sort of the twilight of the New Year, not clearly defined but holding a lot of promise. In 2013 we crossed a lot of thresholds. New careers, new country, new home, new schools, new friends, and we're standing in the twilight of 2014 wondering what it holds.

Total goodness I'm sure, and there's always sparkling wine and Catan for the days that end up going sideways.

And friends to share them with.

Hazy orchards at P's house on New Years Day