Winter Salad

kale & beets.jpg

I've been working on recipes and tips for all of the vegetables we'll be offering this year and it's obvious from my notes which are the hardest sell; the page for "potatoes" or "cucumber" have very little commentary, while "okra," and "eggplant" are full of my earnest suggestions. Like a mom, I want everyone to love all that we produce and I'm mystified when they don't. How can you reject kale, the green that you can dress hours--even days--in advance and pull from the fridge when you're ready to eat, retaining all it's bright color? And beets, too, which a former customer once described as "earthy" in a tone that suggested what he really meant was "tastes like dirt." My theory with most vegetable aversion is that it comes from eating them after they've sat in a grocery store way too long past harvest or that they've been boiled to complete, tasteless submission. Late last summer, we pulled pounds and pounds of beets from the ground, too many to sell or for any of us at the Farm to eat fresh, and so my mom and I spent an afternoon pickling them. Right now, when everything is grey and we're all craving something vibrant, they are just the thing. In the winter, when citrus is in season and at its best, I like to make this Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette, a perfect complement to both kale and beets:  1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, salt & pepper, 1 cup of olive oil. (Recipe easily halved or doubled)