Kale Salad with Crispy Chorizo

kale and chorizo salad

Sometimes, Yancey and I are at home together during lunchtime. On a weekday.

Among the activites that sometimes commence (wink wink), salad-making is one of them.

He'll be absorbed in a project, and food will be the last thing on his mind. I have no idea what that is like. I wish I could leave more brain space free for other ponderings. Like making the world a better place, marketing my consulting practice with more aplomb, or getting my yard to look less like an abandoned junkyard. (I've heard somewhere that you can't be a reader AND a gardener. I take solace in that.)

But no. I wake up thinking about the three meals in front of me and how to make something with whatever is in my fridge. And Yancey benefits. I'll say, "I'm making a salad. Do you want some?" He'll answer, "Umm....I guess so." He doesn't feel hungry, necessarily, and if I weren't around, he probably wouldn't eat lunch. He'd have an apple at 3:00 and call it good. 

But if I'm home working during the day, I love the opportunity to get some vegetables in. At the hospital (where I'm doing a lot of consulting these days), I grab a sandwich or a cup of grapes from the cafeteria. It's a treat to make a mess and eat something interesting.

This time, it went like this:

Fill a medium salad bowl with washed and chopped lacinato kale (or other greens). Mix in julienned carrot, thinly sliced red onion, roughly chopped green olives, and chunks of smoked mozarella or feta. Then heat up a heavy skillet and pour a big glug of olive oil in. Add some big chunks of fresh crusty bread and a handful of chopped chorizo and fry them together with salt. Everything will turn crispy and a little bit orange. Dump that hot mixture in with your greens, and toss the whole thing with white wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt. And if you're lucky enough to have a cutie husband around, give him some too even though he says he's not hungry. Don't believe him.

P.S. A giant THANK YOU to everyone to voted in Saveur's contest and who called, texted, or commented to say congratulations. What I got out of the whole thing (no word on the winner yet) is that 1) I am loved and appreciated and 2) This blog is going to be around for a long time. 

Chorizo Roasted Potatoes

Choizo potatoes

I've instituted a Monday night ritual around here. I make dinner for my parents, and it's a highlight of my week. They are an appreciative audience--tired from work, happy to not be cooking and cleaning, and complimentary. This week, we had sausages, these delectable potatoes, and an arugula and ricotta salata salad. I couldn't believe how fast we polished off that mountain of potatoes.

I've had some moments of uncertainty lately. We are so happy to be in Bellingham and feel to the core that this is where we are supposed to be. But it's still transition. I always say that I'd rather help others go through transition than go through my own! In the middle of it, here are a few things (in addition to Monday night dinners) that have given me pluck:

  1. Seeing Jason Quick perform at Wyatt's daycamp. He's a one-armed juggler, therapist, and circus arts instructor  who lost his arm in an electrical accident when he was six. He learned to play games by himself, and he learned to never give up. I was so inspired watching him and so sheepish about how easily I give up on things just because the red carpet might not be laid out. I'll give you a silly example. We just joined the YMCA, and am notoriously clumsy and bad at sports. But they have a rock climbing wall, and I want to learn. And they have a racquetball court that looks fun. Don't let me get away with not trying those things just because I might not be excellent at them. 
  2. The new grocery store in town, The Market on Lakeway. When I walked in and saw their bulk spices, deli, and walk-in beer cooler, I almost cried. Everyone I know is getting little bags of Cyprus flaked sea salt for hostess gifts in the next year. (Or a link of chorizo. The real kind.)
  3. Taking an early-morning spin class at the Y, sweating it out with strangers and feeling exhausted afterward.
  4. Some coaching sessions with clients when I can almost see them growing right in front of me. There is nothing better than that.
  5. Meeting my childhood friend Sam's little girl, who stole my heart immediately.
  6. Late nights with Yancey, eating our way through a bag of potato chips and talking about spray foam insulation, window packages, and flooring options. Our house closed yesterday, and the sledgehammers are poised.
  7. A visit from Emily and Ricky yesterday and some time with Emily to talk about our friendship and how we'll navigate this new terrain.

And I haven't forgotten. Here's those potatoes.

Chorizo Roasted Potatoes
Heat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash 2 pounds small yellow potatoes. If they're on the small side, halve them. If they're bigger, quarter them. Put them in a large bowl with a couple big glugs olive oil, a generous pinch of kosher salt,  a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and a big handful of chorizo sausage coins. (Spanish chorizo--the cured, ready-to-eat, usually bright red sausage, available at good delis.) 
Dump the mixture onto your baking sheet, and bake for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and chorizo is crisped up. Mound on a platter, and garnish with a handful of chopped parsley and a handful of sheep's milk feta. And a little more salt.

Cumin Fried Rice with Chorizo and Kale

 

cumin fried rice

Remember when I went on and on about my wok? With romantic metaphors, even? I suppose we are past infatuation and into the settled domestic partners stage. The patina is developing as planned, and I can now fry rice, noodles, or meat without any fear of sticking. I've often thought what a wonderful gift it would be to season a wok for someone else. But I don't want to give up cooking with mine.

I haven't posted a ton of wok recipes because most the things I make in it are so completely and utterly everyday. I'm not sure there's a lot of interest in a fried-rice-a-day calendar. I've sizzled a few delicious numbers, but it's too damn dark at night for decent photos. So you'll have to trust me on this wok thing.

Except for today's version of fried rice, which is a typical example of what I've been up to. This weekday lunch was made possible by:


  1. The fact that I am self-employed.
  2. My addiction to cleaning out the fridge.
  3. The hard work I put into cleaning and prepping vegetables (a ritual part of every weekend around here).
  4. My habit of cooking up some kind of whole grain (brown rice, in this case) and having it in the fridge all week.
  5. PCC's stocking of chorizo in the deli. Real stuff. I couldn't get it in my neighborhood before. Dangerous.
  6. My ongoing commitment to use my wok almost daily. This is a very serious relationship.

Have I mentioned I'm on another health kick? Choosing whole grains over stripped ones, working to get all my servings of fruits and vegetables in, watching my portion sizes, cutting down on sugar and fats. I'm thankful for this body that has such grace for me and responds so energetically when I take care of it. In this season of overeating and constant indulgence, this is my little rebellion.

Cumin Fried Rice with Chorizo and Kale
Serves as a light lunch for two. The important thing with fried rice is that your rice is cold--it's been in the fridge for at least a few hours. For this reason, I always make more than I need and refrigerate the rest. And using brown rice here is no sacrifice--I think it makes a much more delicious version. If you don't have a well-seasoned wok, a large nonstick skillet will work. And you can certainly use other veggies here--peppers, green onions, carrots. The important thing is that they are cut to uniform size.


1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. cumin seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, minced
2" length of cured chorizo, finely diced
1 small zucchini or 1/2 medium zucchini, finely diced
2 c. shredded green cabbage
2 . chopped kale
kosher salt
1 1/2 c. cold brown basmati rice
squeeze of lemon
handful of crumbled feta

Heat your wok on high until a drop of water flicked into it disappears instantly. Add oil, swirl to coat, and add cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Stirfry with a metal spatula for 10 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add chorizo, zucchini, cabbage, and kale, and stirfry to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt and rice and cook for 2-3 more minutes until rice is warmed through and vegetables are getting crispy in places. Dump into two bowls, squeeze some lemon over, and top with a bit of crumbled feta.