Well, that was sure a fun one! Pardon me, but I'm still reeling here from a much needed little break from busy life to get out and live: in my fave city of all time. The family and I just returned from my longest ever stay in New York, complete with our two lovely ragamuffin daughters in tow - their first time and boy did they love it as we thought they would. To say they are ragamuffins isn't exactly accurate though - my eldest is already (gasp) on the cusp of full adulthood, and this trip was part of her high school graduation celebration. The family is growing up, so the pressure is on a little to make the years really count.
First of all, I have to say that New York never, ever disappoints. It's by a landslide the city I've traveled to most often in my life (I counted 5 trips in the past ten years). It's also been the backdrop to many an A-ha moment for me, from small but impactful moments of clarity to the big ones (we touched ground the night the purchase of our home became official). Sure, it's got stuff I like, and it's got a A LOT of it. But there are only so many shops you can see and great coffees you can drink. Mostly, it's always just felt like home to me, and for reasons you might not think either.
I love that folks can be themselves in New York City, without fear of ridicule or standing out from the norm. Being YOU is the norm there - whether you're a business person, artist, musician, or whatever it is you want to be. I love that folks can be artists in unique and quirky ways. And I love that there's an audience for most anyone. Say what you want about all that can be considered art but our family appreciates any and all kinds of artistic expression (unless it's violent), and truthfully, the weirder the better. It's good to be challenged like that. Really good. Being surrounded by so much culture everywhere is incredibly stimulating, and seeing folks brave enough to fulfill their personal creative karma is just plain inspiring. To see it all co-exist together peacefully is powerful, and a reminder that we can all do more to create harmony through acceptance in our own communities.
We are definitely less is more travellers, and so we always choose to spend our holidays with a mix of exploring, walking, eating, and just hanging. No need to work the checklist, and we all definitely share an allergy to tourist attractions and lineups. We just prioritize and hang - but we always have time for museums, music, and galleries. It's good (really good, thanks to my Birkenstocks, holy moly that was a good choice!). This salad is a re-creation of one that I thoroughly enjoyed at one of the local restaurants we ate at in Little Italy (or Nolita if you want to go there). It was a lovely surprise with the mint and the jalapeños...made even better by the company of my family and a glass or two of red wine.
I'll likely post some of our favourite eats from the holiday along with some pics, but in the meantime, I'd love to know what you think of this recipe! ;) It's just too good not to make.
I'm also sending some serious love and good vibes to anyone dealing with drought or scare from wildfires this summer. It's a hot one, so stay safe, and eat salad! xoxox
Ultimate Kale Caesar Salad w/ Mint + Jalapeño:
- 2 bunches curly green kale, washed, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh mint, washed and with leaves removed
- 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, sliced thinly in rounds
- 1-2 cups fresh croutons, crumbled
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp chopped green olives, pitted (about 3-4 large olives)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1-2 minced cloves garlic, to taste
- cracked black pepper
This salad comes together pretty quickly which is an added bonus! If you are making croutons from scratch, have those ready before you start, or they can be made while you put the rest together.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until thick and smooth. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and refrigerate while you assemble the salad. When ready to serve, combine the chopped kale, sliced jalapeños (leaving some for garnish), crumbled croutons, and extra parmesan in a large bowl. With your hands, roughly tear the mint leaves into the bowl.
Pour dressing over the salad mixture starting with 2/3 and adding more to taste. Mix with your hands (always my preferred method, natures tools!) or tongs to coat all of the kale in dressing. Serve in bowls topped with extra jalapeños, parmesan and croutons with a large slice of lemon for squeezing on just before eating. You should get 4 decent sized servings, or more depending on what it is being enjoyed with. I recommend eating this right away as it won't keep for too long (honestly it's a hard one to stop eating). Honestly, I could see this converting even the most stubborn kale critic…and I'm sure with a little love this could be fully veganized too with delicious results!