To my smart, hilarious, ridiculously good-looking Internet friends:
THANK YOU for the wonderful response to last week’s announcement re: Dude Diet Dinners!!!! Your overwhelming enthusiasm was by far the best present this birthday princess received, which is saying a lot because I also got Beyonce/Jay-Z tickets and an at-home microcurrent facial device!
I could wax poetic about my feeeeeelings here but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that I truly couldn’t be more excited about this book (henceforth referred to as DDD), especially now that it’s out in the open. Keeping secrets makes me itchy.
1. We have Instastories now!! If you hang with your weird blog lady on Instagram, you know how much I love the real-time transparency of Stories, and I feel like they’re going to be such a game changer in terms of lifting the veil on cookbook creation. You’re gonna get the good, the bad, and the ugly, peeps. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.
2. So many more of YOU are going to be a part of this book as recipe testers!! Corresponding with recipe testers was one of my favorite parts of writing The Dude Diet, and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling on the virtual togetherness. Fingies crossed for so many culinary wins.
Speaking of recipe testers, I was completely blindsided by how many people volunteered as tributes DDD guinea pigs. Last time around, I got about 40 offers from blog readers to recipe test, and with friends and family, I had about 60 total recipe testers.
But last Thursday? My inbox was flooded with 300+ submissions in the first 12 hours. Full disclosure, I cried a few times. I’m prone to tears these days, but still. The fact that so many individuals I’ve never met feel connected enough to The Dude Diet, Domesticate Me, or me (???), that they’re willing to devote precious time and resources to help me with this book blows my fucking mind. It really does.
AM I BEYONCE NOW?!
(Don’t answer that.)
With all of that said, it legit pains me that I have to turn testers away and can’t respond to all of the fabulous messages I received, many of which made me laugh out loud and/or tear up. For the sake of fairness, the DDD recipe testing family is composed of the first 100 people to respond via any platform—comment section, contact form, email, Instagram, etc.—and those people received an email this morning. I’m also keeping a chronological waitlist should anyone drop out.
Okay, now that we’ve covered all of this very important info, let’s talk kale salad. Because I’m currently in the recipe testing trenches and churning out new dishes on the daily, I do a lot of weird food combining. For example, last week I ate primarily Tex-Mex meatloaf, pancakes, and stuffed pork chops. During these times, I realllly crave my go-to healthy favorites like baked eggs and simple salads, which I try to sneak in where I can.
On Monday, I was feeling particularly in need of some kale magic—recipe testing and #birthdayprincessweek will really do a number on a girl’s bod—so I decided to take this Kale Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing for a spin.
This recipe comes to you via my friend Ali Rosen’s new book Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining. In the wake of DDD announcement celebrations, it felt fitting to fete someone else’s book baby being out in the world this week, and Ali’s is a gem. It’s beautiful but unintimidating, and the concept of Bring It! is 100% in-line with my personal beliefs that cooking should be fun and accessible, and food is meant to be shared with our favorite people. I particularly love that each easy recipe includes a little “How to Bring It” note for make-ahead, reheating, and transport instructions. Genius.
I could have chosen one of Ali’s slightly more decadent options to truly showcase the book’s recipe repertoire (Snap Pea Salad with Parmesan and Bacon! Short Ribs with Quick Pickled Shallots! S’mores Bars!), but like I said, I wanted a salad, so here we are. But don’t worry. This is a very simple recipe, yes, but it’s most definitely not “basic.”
Massaged kale, crunchy apples, and buttery pecans are the perfect base for a truly delightful and nutrient-dense salad. This particular carrot-ginger dressing includes Parmesan cheese and a little soy sauce, giving it just the right amount of savory, umami flair. It doesn’t photograph particularly well (I can’t stop thinking that it looks like uni in these pics), but c’est la vie. I still want to slather it on everything from salads to chicken and fish.
This salad serves 4-6 as a side or appetizer should you wish to share/entertain, but I love it as a #sassydesk lunch or dinner with some grilled chicken on top. The only warning I have is that the dressing makes a little less than a cup, so it’s hard to blend in a normal size blender. If you have a smaller attachment for your blender or something tiny like a Nutribullet, definitely use that. If not, I recommend doubling the dressing recipe and saving half to use as a dressing/sauce/dip throughout the week.
Alright peeps, that’s it for today. Thank you again for being here, for your support, and for generally motivating me to do my best work. I appreciate you more than you know. Peace out.
Kale Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing (serves 2-3 as an entrée, 4-6 as a side)
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, and finely chopped (roughly 5 cups chopped kale)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of salt
1 medium apple, cored and diced
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
For the Carrot-Ginger Dressing:
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1½ tablespoons peeled and finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (Red wine vinegar is a good sub if you don’t have sherry.)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons water
-Start by giving your kale a little massage. (This is optional, but it really is a game changer, people.) Add the kale to a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Rub handfuls of kale between your fingers, literally massaging the oil and salt into the leaves for a minute or two until they soften slightly and darken a shade in color. Set aside, while you prepare the dressing.
-Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a small blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. (This will take a good minute or so. Be patient.)
-Add the apple and pecans to the massaged kale and toss to combine.
-Now, you have two options. If you’re going for presentation, transfer the salad to a platter or salad bowl and drizzle with the dressing. If you’re more of a convenience person, add the dressing to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Cheese lovers, feel free to add a little extra grated Parm before serving.
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, and finely chopped (roughly 5 cups chopped kale)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 medium apple, cored and diced
- ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
- For the Carrot-Ginger Dressing:
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1½ tablespoons peeled and finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (Red wine vinegar is a good sub if you don’t have sherry.)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- Start by giving your kale a little massage. (This is optional, but it really is a game changer, people.) Add the kale to a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Rub handfuls of kale between your fingers, literally massaging the oil and salt into the leaves for a minute or two until they soften slightly and darken a shade in color. Set aside, while you prepare the dressing.
- Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a small blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. (This will take a good minute or so. Be patient.)
- Add the apple and pecans to the massaged kale and toss to combine. Now you have two options. If you’re going for presentation, transfer the salad to a platter or salad bowl and drizzle with the dressing. If you’re more of a convenience person, add the dressing to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Cheese lovers, feel free to add a little extra grated Parm before serving.
Recipe slightly adapted from Bring It! Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining by Ali Rosen.