All Hail: Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

 

Can you stand just one more kale salad recipe?

Oh come on, sure you can.

You know your love of this leafy green hasn’t waned even if you don’t want to admit it publicly.

Just embrace it. After all, in our society, how many times do we actually value something that’s crinkly and wrinkly, right? Ever more reason to never let go of this green beauty.

Especially when it’s showcased with a spectrum of flavor, texture and downright scrumptiousness in “Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates.”

This easy recipe is from “Seattle Cooks” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy. Seattle food writer Julien Perry spotlights 40 of the city’s top restaurants with recipes and profile stories.

Seattle Cooks

Enjoy everything from “Fava Santorini” from Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Little Fish to “Shrimp and Shittake Pot Stickers with Riesling Dip” from Chefs Tom Douglas and Brock Johnson of Dahlia Lounge, and “Kalua Pork Belly with Korean Chimichurri” by Chef Rachel Yang of Revel.

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Norwegian Sweet Buns with Cardamom

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

 

Saffron and vanilla are among the world’s most expensive spices. That’s a given.

But can you guess what the third most pricey one is?

Yes, cardamom.

Like the other two, it owes its hefty price tag to the fact that it has to be harvested by hand.

Thankfully, a little goes a long way, so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it.

While it’s used in a lot of savory dishes, especially in Indian cuisine, I especially love it in baked goods. Its flavor — sort of like sweet cinnamon and ginger crossed with citrus and mint.

North Wild Kitchen

So it’s no wonder that “Sweet Buns with Cardamom” jumped out at me immediately in the new cookbook, “North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking From the Heart of Norway” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. It is by Nevada Berg, who created the blog of the same name, which was named by Saveur magazine as “2016 Blog of the Year.”

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A Grand Time At Grand Lake Kitchen

Comfort in a bowl -- matzo ball soup at Grand Lake Kitchen.

Comfort in a bowl — matzo ball soup at Grand Lake Kitchen.

 

If you’re walking up to Grand Lake Kitchen in Oakland for the first time, it’s easy to spot yards before you get there. Just look for the line.

Especially for brunch on weekends, there is always one.

But just put your name in, give your cell phone number, and you can mosey around nearby Lake Merritt until you get a text that your table is ready. That’s what my husband and I did one recent Sunday, paying our tab for the meal at the end.

Because our wait was about 20 minutes for a table in the early afternoon, we just missed enjoying the brunch menu by about 5 minutes. Drat, because there are some especially intriguing items on it that I was hoping to try, including the Savory French Toast ($14) made with rye bread that’s dipped in porcini batter. How good does that sound, right?

A line almost always means that a place has got to be good.

A line almost always means that a place has got to be good.

Instead, we contented ourselves with the afternoon menu, that’s served from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Rancho Gordo’s Alubia Bean Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette

Get to know how good beans can truly be.

Get to know how good beans can truly be.

 

I remember there was a time when I found beans utterly ho-hum.

I couldn’t imagine what could be that exciting about them. I was always more interested in what was with them or around them.

That was until I discovered Napa’s Rancho Gordo beans.

That’s when I realized beans could be comforting, surprising, satisfying and with far more flavor and character than I’d ever imagined.

Founder Steve Sando sources astounding heirloom beans with such evocative names as Christmas Lima Bean, Yellow Indian Woman Bean, and Good Mother Stallard Bean.

At least once a year, I make a purchase of an assortment of his beans, most of which carry me through the chilly winter in numerous dishes. But they’re equally delicious when the weather is still warm, such as in dishes like “Alubia Blanca Bean Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette.”

RanchoGordoVegetarian

It’s a recipe from his cookbook, “The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen,” which he wrote with Julia Newberry last year. As the name implies, it’s filled with meat-less recipes that star all manner of beans.

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Theorita — A Modern-Day Throwback

The stellar apple-raspberry pie at Theorita.

The stellar apple-raspberry pie at Theorita.

 

Whether you’re too young to remember or old enough to reminisce about the charm of dining at a lunchenette or dinette back in the day, you are sure to fall for San Francisco’s new Theorita.

It’s very much reminiscent in spirit of those old-school casual eateries with roomy booths and checkerboard floors. Only, the food has been brought into the current century with precise techniques executed by alums of New York’s Michelin three-starred Eleven Madison Park.

It’s from the same team behind red-hot Che Fico, which is upstairs in the same building. Theorita is named after Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton’s grandmother.

The neon sign behind the bakery case.

The neon sign behind the bakery case.

One of each?

One of each?

It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or you can get baked goods to go, which is what I did right after my recent dinner at Chef Fico, paying the tab, myself.

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