Today I’d like to rap about seasonality. I used to think that people who ate “seasonal” we’re just being pretentious; partly because I had no idea what eating local or seasonal meant, but also because I didn’t think it was possible. This is Alberta after all. As I have grown up, and begun to understand the whole process that involves getting food on the table, I’ve become one of those people.
This winter, despite enjoying the unseasonably balmy weather, I have also been in a slight state of fear; it is NOT normal that there was a day this winter where Edmonton Alberta, was warmer than Phoenix Arizona. Mother Nature is giving us signs that she’s stressed, and one of her greatest stressors is modern agriculture. You see, getting food on the table, that has to travel across oceans and great expanses of land, in pollution causing planes, trains and automobiles, is causing Mother Nature to act funny. And, did you know that if we eat 50% local, which is inevitable when eating in season, we are doing wonders for the planet. Just 50%; I think we can all commit to that.
Eating in season will at times bring the magician out of you; having to make something new and inventive with limited, and often, static ingredients breeds creativity- necessity is the mother of invention, no? I don’t know about you, but I love a challenge!
So how does one go about eating in season? First rule is KNOW THY MARKET. Find a farmer’s market, get to know the vendors and be prepared; I’ll explain.
Find a market that is convenient for you ie: on Saturday when you have time to browse, or one that is on the way home. Get to know your vendors. Loyalty is often rewarded in this scenario; when they know you and begin to know what you like, don’t be surprised if you start getting little freebies “to try”! And, lastly, and most importantly, be prepared; generally markets are one day a week, so it’s paramount that your weekly menu and grocery list is prepared. Missing your opportunity could mean waiting a full week to shop your market again.
Now let’s talk recipes, shall we…
This massaged kale salad is over 50% local. In winter climates, seasonal eating boils down to two things, root vegetables and cabbage- they grow in abundance in cold weather; and lucky for me, I happen to love the former and the latter. And this massaged kale salad is also 50% raw- yes you read that right- raw- because creating a massaged kale salad requires no cooking all; just a good, old fashioned rub down.
Massaged kale salad is exactly what it sounds like, kale that you have massaged; with a little bit of olive oil and seasonings, to lubricate the experience! While roasted beets are classically seasonal; they are found everywhere, en mass, at this time of year. And, of course, if you’re vegan, you will want to omit the cheese, or substitute almond cheese- I’ll leave that up to you.
Massaged kale salad with roasted beets is seasonal recipe magic!
Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Beets
3 large beets, quartered
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375F.
Toss beets with olive and seasoning; and roast in an oven safe dish for 40 minutes, or until fork tender. The shake the dish halfway through.
1 bunch kale, zipped (rib removed) and slivered
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and massage through the kale for 10 minutes.
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 oz. crumbled goat’s cheese
Fresh oregano leaves
To assemble the salad layer the beets over the kale, sprinkle with cheese, goat’s cheese and oregano; and serve.