Recently we dined for lunch at Cracker Barrel. We both had the daily special which was chicken breasts on a bed of wild brown rice. Of course, if you know the restaurant chain, the entrees come with two fresh side dishes of your choice from the menu. I always favor their green beans, so that was one I chose. The other was from the little display tablet on the table, advertising their newest side order...Kale Salad. It looked very good, and the description was just to my liking...everything mixed in the side dish are some of my favorites - dried cranberries, pecans, brussel sprouts, maple vinaigrette dressing with a beautiful dark green kale. When our orders arrived, the chicken and rice was piping hot...delicious. The beans of course, delicious with the old, home-style bacon bits! Then, the taste test....the kale. Out of this world delicious! Now I must confess, I've never ever in my life had kale to my knowledge. I've seen it on serving plates as a color adding feature with an orange slice....I've eaten the orange slice but never touched the kale. After all, it's a vegetable! And since mom always said "Eat your vegetables" I still to this day tend to be on the verge of defiance. "Nope. nope! If you say it's good for me, I'm not gonna do it!!"
Next visit to the grocery store, I picked up all the ingredients to try and replicate the salad I had. I also went out on Google and researched the heart health benefits of kale. Guess what? It's good for you. In fact it is TOP in the World Health list of the best, healthiest foods!! Go figure. The kale works with your body's bile to burn the BAD cholesterol and adds to the GOOD cholesterol [which is essential to a healthy body battery...the pumper...the heart] All this time, my mom was right...eat your vegetables. lol
This is what I did, and it turned out pretty good. I had no idea the portion ratio of any thing, and I never measure stuff when I cook...
[all ingredients are approximated]
1/2 pound of fresh, raw brussel sprouts [whole]
1 large stem of raw curly leaf kale [about 2 cups] (cut)
1 small package of chopped pecans
1 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of maple syrup [the REAL stuff!]
1/4 cup of sesame oil [I read a recipe online that uses olive oil]
and a dash of dried mustard
In a blender filled with water, I chopped at low speed the sprouts and kale. Drained this mixture in a colander.
After the vegetables drained I placed in a large mixing bowl and added the cranberries and pecans. Then, mixed in the syrup, oil, and dried mustard.
I then covered it and chilled to a cold temp and served as a side dish with pork chops and baked potato. I made brownie points with Bud. He liked it...I thought it needed more maple flavoring, so with the leftover salad, I added another 1/4 cup syrup. A sweet, complimentary salad with a crisp, crunchy texture that was good for the taste palate!!
It's also loaded with a good portion of Vitamin K
which is good for aged eyes/vision!!