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Ah September. I am finally home, after some amazing adventures that took me to California, Hawaii, Bali, Hongkong with our toddler in tow followed by a summer of yoga festivals and sojourns back and forth from Vancouver to the coast. Sometimes the only way I remember where i’ve been and what I have done this last year is to look at my instagram feed! Needless to say, i am relishing being at home.
In Ayurveda, grounding into the rhythm of a place is essential to living your optimal health. With the fast pace of modern life, we ignore the simple cycles of day turning into night and vice versa. For all my efforts, the whirlwind of travel over this past year impacted me. Emotionally – I felt disconnected and ungrounded, physically – fatigued and not in my body. I diagnosed it as a “vata” imbalance. You could call it mild adrenal fatigue – and it took work not to rely on caffeine to boost my energy.
While the pace of my life has not slowed down – there are still deadlines to meet – and the busy-ness of parenting a toddler. What has shifted, however is feeling the stability of being home. Of being still enough to cultivate a daily routine. In appreciating the familiar after much adventure, in drinking tea out of a favourite cup.
Since being home, I have been cooking, something i miss while on the road – though i do take spices and ingredients to every place we have ever stayed in, including hotel suite, hotplate-only kitchens.
But oh the joy of being home and in my own kitchen. Cooking to me is a ritual. You take raw, unfinished ingredients. You prepare them in a certain way, infuse them with your positive intentions or as a friend recently said “Vitamin L(ove)” and then you allow the alchemy to happen. There is something so satisfying about this.
Last week, we got about 8 bunches of locally grown kale from the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild, which brings fresh, organic produce to our coastal peninsula.
There’s a reason kale is oh so fashionable. It is an amazing vegetable. High in calcium and iron, it is alkalizing, detoxifying and a powerful cancer-fighting food. If it is not part of your diet, it should be. My mother in Bombay told me she can now find kale at her local market, which made me so happy. I know that sometimes the taste of kale can be a little strong, a little bitter perhaps, but if you prepare it well, it is just delicious.
What does one do with so much kale? I grilled kale leaves soaked in coconut milk on the bbq, blanched kale for use later, made kale pakoras (recipe to come), had kale + sesame noodle bowls with soba and juiced some more. I am happy to report that I am not tired of this green superfood and as far as i can tell, neither is my husband or my son!
Our favourite kale dish this week has been a variation on the Sombrio salad from Victoria’s Bliss Cafe.
Here is my recipe. I hope you enjoy this salad. The dressing in particular is so flavourful that I suspect you will make it over and over again.
Kale Vitality Salad (Adapted from a recipe in Blissful, by Heather Cunliffe)
Marinated shitake mushrooms
1/2 lb shitake mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup tamari or nama shoyu
1 tbsp flax seed oil
Place sliced shitakes in bowl with tamari and stir until mushrooms have soaked up the liquid. Add oil and stir to mix.
1 sm bunch black lacinato kale or any other fresh organic kale finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
Place chopped kale in a large bowl and sprinkle on sea salt. Massage kale with hands so that the salt begins drawing water from leaves giving them a wilted, lightly steamed texture. This pre-digests the kale slightly, making it much easier to digest “raw” or “living” kale.
1 apple julienned or diced
1 head lettuce washed an chopped, or 4 cups baby greens.
1 bunch sunflower sprouts
1 cup grated carrot
Raw Nori or Sea Vegetable blend by Harmonic Arts
1/2 cup whole raw cashews or hazelnuts
Divide lettuce onto 4 large plates. Sprinkle on sunflower sprouts and tender kale. Arrange carrot and apple atop the greens. Top with mushrooms, cashews / hazelnuts and sea-veg blend or raw nori torn into little pieces. Pour on dressing to serve.
Sombrio Beach Dressing (makes 3 cups)
1 orange, peeled (I used blood orange as that is what i had on hand)
3/4 cup pure water
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 mejdool dates, pitted
2 tsp kelp flakes, 1/4 of a nori sheet, or 2 tsp of the Harmonic Arts sea vegetable blend
1 tsp orange zest.
Blend all the ingredients until creamy. Enjoy.
Some other kale goodness on the internet. These are all savoury kale recipes. Watch for some kale smoothies and juice recipes next week.
Flavor Bomb Noodles via My New Roots
And a yummy take on kale chips that is toddler friendly also from A Cup of Jo.
Thanks to all you facebook friends for your awesome suggestions. Happy September and green eating. xo NAMASTE. Insiya