Monday, June 3, 2013

Massaged Kale Fruit Salad - Day One of How I Spent my Summer Vacation

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The annual East Tennessee Blogger party held at Larry's Boat Dock (Larry of Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings).  Seems like a long drive from Kansas to the far side of Tennessee for lunch, but as usual, Jackie and I had such a great time we are already making plans for next year!

But the trip was more than just a single lunch.  We combined the lunch with a chance to visit and cook with some of my favorite food bloggers.  Our first day we were invited to stay with the legendary master of the Big Green Egg Chris and his wife Alexis... Chris of Nibble Me This.

Chris greeted us at his grill, grilling up a welcoming cocktail!  Yep, GRILLING a cocktail!  He already posted the drink on his blog, an almost neon blue lemonade with rum and oranges and even a little Tennessee Moonshine he calls a GRILLED BLUE WHALE.

A Delicious way to start the week.  We swapped a few ideas on how to get just the right image for his blog post and then did the difficult task of taste testing the blog post.  A Great tasting post!

Next morning was Saturday and Chris and Alexis took the opportunity to show off their hometown of Knoxville , TN by showing us the Farmer's Market.  Among the best I have ever seen.  The market pushes local by only accepting farmers and vendors from the local area.  We enjoyed a breakfast at their favorite breakfast spot, the Tupelo Honey Cafe, ate at a couple of food trucks, bought some local pottery and just wandered about.

And shopping for lunch brings us to this recipe...

There is nothing like a Farmer's Market to inspire you.  Beautiful bright colored vegetables everywhere.  Fruit so fresh they practically come with roots.

And as much fun as walking any farmer's market with my wife, it was an especially fun morning of wandering from booth to booth, talking with local providers of "fresh, local and best" with a group of food lovers like Chris and his Alexis; my wife and myself.  Certainly among my favorite memories of our trip.

Which brings us back to my contribution to lunch...

Chris grilled a Skirt Steak with an amazing Mushroom Sauce.

I made the salad.

I stole a bit of grill space and grilled a few pineapple rings.

We had bought some fresh Strawberries.
We also bought some locally roasted spicy Peanuts.
Locally grown Kale...
And a very simple drizzle of a quality Olive Oil and the juice of an Orange.

The only "trick" is to massage the kale.  Literally, take a few large kale leaves, trim out the thick heavy vein down the center and then rub this remaining leaves until they are soft.  If you skip this step you end up with that raw nasty too crunchy kale leaves.  Just rub them aggressively for a few minutes until they stop squeaking and feel buttery soft.  It takes time, but it is well worth it.

Just dump all the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle the oil and orange juice down the side of the bowl and mix until everything is coated.

Serve fresh and ENJOY with Friends!

Thanks Chris and Alexis... It is always a highlight of my year to visit.  Hope you liked the salad.

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