Thursday, June 5, 2014


I think this may be what is meant when people speak of 'humidity.'  As I begin this post, before 8 a.m., the temperature is a near-perfect 72° but the humidity is 83%.  I don't know that I've ever seen that happen in the NW.  I'm sure it does, especially  in the winter when it's raining, but I've never noticed it.  But, y'know, it's lovely out here.  The sun is peeking through the trees, the birds are calling to each other (at least, I think that's what they're doing. Art says it's a mating call, that they're all just looking to get, lucky) and the potato vines I planted last week are taking over!
I planted potato vines on our 8' x 8' deck in Portland last summer simply for their beautiful variegated-green foliage and vines.  They trailed over the balcony as they grew and were just so easy-care - something very important to me as it relates to gardening.  When we returned from Arizona in November, I was disappointed to find them dead and chalked it up to a lack of water.  No worries, it was time, I reasoned, to plant winter pansies.  As I pulled up the dead vines I found - surprise! - sweet potatoes!  We have them again, this year.  I think I have a better idea how to encourage real potato growth now so we'll see what happens come fall.

I received and accepted a job offer yesterday (yay, me!) as the assistant HR manager for one of two Target stores in Little Rock. (This, remember, is the home of Wal-Mart.  Target isn't big here.)  I think it's going to work well; I'll work half days which will get me out of the house early (I won't be sitting outside blogging in the morning) and, as I've joined the Summer Challenge at the gym at UAMS, I'll go to the gym at 7:30, give it my 60 minutes, shower and be to work by 10.  AND it will, as when reached goal weight in 2001, help create a routine reminding me to work out.  

Because I spent so much of the day waiting - at Target, at the lab for the drug test, at the post office - and because I just felt puny and yucky yesterday, I pulled almost-past-it's prime kale from the fridge and whipped up the kale salad from Katherine Duemling of fame.  Katherine provided the weekly recipes when we were part of Sauvie Island Organic's CSA. I learned so much just reading her ideas and suggestions for cooking.  I was a follow-the-recipe-at-all-costs sort of cook before 'meeting' Katherine.  Now, I've learned to improvise.  (Best tip I took from Katherine? Cook and keep on hand (in the freezer) reconstituted beans.  Lacking any idea for dinner tonight?  Pull a pint of black beans from the freezer and thaw ((the jar)) in hot water.  Add rice and Shazam! you have dinner.)  But back to the salad...the salad, simply, ribbons of kale, is served heavily dressed with a lovely, garlicky dressing:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 tablespoons ripe avocado
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
fresh pepper to taste
Whisk the garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, honey, and pepper until smooth. Taste, and adjust with more salt, or honey, or lemon juice.

The salad is simply:
a half-pound of kale, washed, mixed with
two carrots, julienned.  I always add an
avocado, diced and a
cup of cooked barley or wheat berries or farro if I have it.

Toss half the dressing with the salad, massage with your hands (really.  It works better than anything else - and it's fun too!) and, if there's time, let the salad rest before serving.  Just before serving add the remainder of the dressing (if you think it's necessary.) Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds (again, I toast these in large quantities and generally have them in the freezer) mix again and, presto! a pretty and very filling, salad.
While I can, and have, eaten this by itself for dinner, Art wants a bit more.  I pulled from the freezer the other half of the mushroom and herb polenta we had several weeks ago.   Two minutes in the microwave for the polenta, a quick toast in the broiler for the bread and we had dinner!

Best part?  Art did dishes.  Bon appetit!

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