Friday, January 22, 2010

CSA week six - Kale and ricotta salata salad

The particular sort of kale we got this week, Russian Red, has a reputation for being relatively tender so I looked around for recipes where I could use it raw. Raw kale salads were kind of a foodie trend last year so there are a fair number of recipes littering the web. I settled on one that I found on the Bitten blog where it says it's credited to Kim Severson from the New York Times. But a little research turned up that it appeared in the January 2007 issue of Gourmet where it's credited to Lillian Chou and described as "inspired by an antipasto that's popular at New York City's Lupa." I know you don't actually care about any of that stuff, but I'm a librarian so I'm picky about correct attribution even as I stretch the bounds of fair use of other peoples' intellectual property.


1 1-pound bunch tender kale, trimmed and stemmed
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)
juice of 1 meyer lemon (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup ricotta salata (or feta. Anything semi-firm and salty, really. I used the 1-year aged farmers cheese that screwed up my salt cod dish last week.), crumbled or coarsely grated

1. Roll up the kale leaves and thinly shred.

2. Whisk together shallot, lemon juice, salt (not a lot) and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.

3. Toss kale and cheese with the just enough dressing to coat well in a large bowl. Check and adjust seasoning.

I added some small-diced tomato which I think added some pleasant brightness. Some pine nuts for crunch would be nice too, but I'm all out.

The salad has a lovely combination of light freshness and hearty earthiness as each bite fades from the dressing to the kale as you chew. And it is a bit chewy-- this is kale not baby spinach--but not at all excessively so. I found both flavor aspects to be great pairings with sirloin tip. I wouldn't want to actually add meat to the salad, though; it stands very well on its own. If you wanted to add something to make it a little heartier, maybe hard boiled egg?


rina said...

Bill: That looks delicious, and since you mention New York I'm going to take it as a cue and say hello. Long time no email!

LaDivaCucina said...


kat said...

That salad sounds really good to me since I really like kale. Funny was just wondering how kale would be as a ravioli filling with cheese

billjac said...

I think kale in ravioli might have textural problems. With each bite you'd finish quickly with the pasta and cheese and end up chewing on the kale. I think you'd be better off with chard.

Reid Millsap said...

Dear Bill,
I like your blog and I will try this salad soon.For your information, you are listed on my website located at:

I would be honored if this page could be listed on your blog roll, but sadly,I am much to shy to ask. Keep up the good work,your friend in food and science, Reid Millsap

LaDivaCucina said...

Yes, I agree with you bill about the ravioli filling. Why not save the nice texture of kale for something that merits a more chewy texture?

billjac said...

Don't bother trying to talk to Kat, Ms. Cucina, she's a drive-by commenter who never checks back in. I think she thinks she's doing me a favor by making sure every post has a comment. And maybe she is, I'm really not sure.

And Mr. Millsap, it looks like you've overcome your shyness but you haven't actually got a blog to add to the blogroll, just a list of other bloggers that's about the same as what I'm already linking to. There's no value added. If you've got a page with actual content, I'd be happy to link to it.

LaDivaCucina said...

Bill, you bring up an interesting point...I'm finding some of our foodie bloggers do not understand how blogging actually works and have commented on several of them to no response back....either there are a lot of lurkers out there or not many commenters, jeez, least we can do is support each other's sites and comment, don't you think? Or reply? Strange....besides you, I get more support from my other blogging buds as opposed to the Miami foodies.

LaDivaCucina said...

And if I'm nice enough to come by your blog and comment, why not welcome me? Or at least reply?? Or even check your bloody blog before a week goes by?!

billjac said...

I think "how blogging actually works" isn't quite as clear to me as it is to you. Blogs are defined by their format--a series of entries, chronologically arranged, with the newest on top--not by their interactivity. Blogs are a broadcast medium and comments are entirely optional. Many bloggers, particularly those coming from journalism backgrounds, aren't comfortable with that two way flow or even with revisiting posted entries. What's done is done; look forward to what's next.

The blogosphere--bloggers commenting on each-others' blogs--is an emergent phenomenon even further removed from the basic nature of the format. The Miami food blogosphere is quite new and you need to give the social network time to develop naturally.

That said, personally, I think it's polite to reply if someone posts on your blog if they've said something substantial and you can further the conversation. If it's just an empty "That looks yummy!" and a link back to the poster's blog, I don't know if I've got anything to say to that. And I don't like to comment on other people's blogs if I can't offer useful information and even then I feel like kind of a dick doing it. I don't really see it as "support" like you do, but then my blog isn't ancillary to my business like yours is.

It looks from your comment that you don't know how many lurkers you have. You should try Google Analytics to keep track of your traffic. It's easy to start obsessing over the statistics, but its good to have the information about how many regular readers you've got and which posts are bringing in random Googlers.

LaDivaCucina said...

I thought the point of blogging was to generate discussion? Otherwise it's just more self-absorbed spewing....If a blogger posts something, someone comments and the blogger never looks at the post again, then its like some weird online diary. Sorry, even David Lebovitz's posts aren't THAT interesting and few of them are.

The way to get more comments and increase more traffic is simply to visit other bloggers you like and not lurk but let them know you enjoy their post or if you have a comment to say, post it. I too sometimes don't have anything to say, so say nothing but actually did a hmmm this time to your post as kale as salad got me thinking but not to the point of saying anything of any significance. I would not have posted that if I was a first time commenter to your site. Many times I don't say something but just visit but I usually do at some point as I know bloggers are doing this to know that someone is "out there" and they are not just "talking to themselves."

I think the bloggers that don't comment back or reply and "move on to the next post" are doing themselves and their readers a disservice. I've got a lot of commenters now and it's funny, La Diva Cucina is part of an interesting blogging community that doesn't include all foodies. I've gotten to know most of my blogging buddies quite well and some have even turned into friendships. I have at least six women that come and vist me (and vice versa) so much and we know each other so much that we are all thinking of getting together for a blogging summit. David Lebovitz just had a blogging summit in Mexico with his readers. It can "personalize" the perceived shallowness of web friendships and lead to more enlightening partnerships.

As you know, we do fun culinary challenges and while some of my counterparts spew political stuff (some of it not to my liking at all) we all respect each other and La Diva C stays away during those posts, I'm all about the food and they know it. I didn't start blogging to argue with anyone.

Finally, I do get the stats and used to look at them more often, my readership has gone up by 20 more people a day. I am doing it for my business and soon I'm going to try and export my blog to my web page to generate more traffic for it.

We'll see what happens with the Miami foodies but if they want more comments on their blogs, I suggest they reply or visit other's sites or don't bother. Their blogs are just not that interesting otherwise!

billjac said...

For a lot of people, blogs really are a weird online diary. That's what they were originally designed for as "web logs", a record of interesting places you've visited on the Web. They're just not designed for discussion. Look at this conversation--it's buried under a post about a salad, nobody's ever going to see it because there's already another post above it, and since it's on my blog, if you annoy me I have the power to delete your comments and ban you. If you want real discussion, go to a message board or mailing list where new posts bump a discussion thread up to the top where it can be noticed and everyone is equal.

I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I don't mind not having the sort of chatter you get in your comment threads. My goal with my blog is to share useful information and show off the cool stuff I make. I wouldn't mind joining the blogging community and/or the Miami foodie community, but that shouldn't be in the comments. Comments on a post ought to be about what the post is about.

As for increasing readership, I don't think comments in other Miami food blogs helps much, at least not for me. Links in the blog rolls help, but I've never seen much traffic from comments or mentions in other Miami blogs. Your experience might be different since your blog is as much about personality as it is about content and your comments display that personality. I don't think you can generalize that into advice for everyone.

LaDivaCucina said...

Bill, there are blogs for everybody and for every reason. I just have personally found more stimulating food discussion and comments from bloggers who are not solely writing about food. I think blogs have come a long way from being the online journals. Anyone can have a blog, not anyone SHOULD have a blog. But we can choose where we want to spend our time.

As for the comments pertaining solely to what was posted, you did start this discussion with your comments about the drive by commenter which brought up blogging etiquette. I also commented on carambola on your "unrelated" latest post as I'm not sure you would still be reading the post where you mention that you are not sure what to do with the fruit.

Finally, what i meant by getting more readers from the commenters simply that they themselves are the readers and their presence is literally acknowledged vs. being merely a stat or a non-commenter that is lurking about.

I am a social person, you are not. I like coming to your blog because your dishes are adventurous. There's enough pap out there without me going to mediocre sites to support people just because. I'm not sure I believe you when you say you don't care whether you get comments or not....that would be very egotistical!

LaDivaCucina said...

By the way, if you don't want comments, then why do you have the comments enabled? You can disable them.

billjac said...

The carambola comments are perfectly apt in a Week 7 wrap-up post. As for this, we probably ought to have taken it to e-mail a while back, but, like I said earlier, nobody's ever going to come back to this post so it doesn't really matter.

A large majority of readers of just about all blogs, message boards and the like are lurkers. I'm a lurker at most blogs I read too. Nothing wrong with that. I don't want anyone to feel discouraged to comment, but I don't want them to feel obliged to either. That leasds to the long series of "Wow! That looks yummy!" comments some blogs get that I'm just as happy without.

I leave comments turned on because I like it when people answer questions I've got, add additional suggestions or useful information, cook the recipes I talk about and tell me how they turn out and that sort of thing. To be honest, I'm like that in real life conversations too which leads to much frustration and annoyance, mostly directed towards me.

Reid Millsap said...

Dear Bill:
I see your point clearly about my wanting to link a single webpage about food blogs to your blogroll. I apologize for that. I do have a blog at and I do write a lot about food and restaurants but it has other content as well. I stand chastened, and thank you for pointing that out. I do like your blog a lot and I also share your love of science. Please don't hold my lust for links against me. It comes and goes and it's under control now.Have a great year. Reid

billjac said...


I'll take a look and see if it fits in. I'm mostly linking to cooking blogs, specifically CSA members, so if you don't have cooking content, I might not have a place for it.

Miami Reid said...

Bill, No problem at all. I did mention that my blog deals with a lot of other subjects other than food and cooking.Therefore, I understand and am not asking for any links. I get it. I Like CSA stuff too. I did a YouTube video of the Beeheaven Farm Day, which is rather short, under "miamireid' videos. Take care, Reid

Karen said...

Well, after all of that! (all my lurking time I thought Kat must be your cousin or something) ....

Did you pre-marinate the kale in the lemon juice at all? Last year I found that kale wilted nicely, pretty quickly, about 15-20 minutes, and then the chewiness was gone. The kale didn't melt into goo like spinach, and still tasted very kale-y, and leftovers still kept well in the fridge. Since my cooktop if broken this is a timely reminder - thanks! Oh, one other thought - this is a good way to use those very sour "clementines" (or calomondins if you've got them) instead of lemon juice - adds a nice flavor element and goes especially well with ricotta salata.

billjac said...

I didn't have to marinate the kale; Russian Red is exceptionally tender (as kale goes) so it's well suited to raw applications without preparation. I didn't notice it getting any more tender after I left it dressed in the citrus-dressing overnight so there's probably not enough acid there to make a difference anyway.

Kat's no relation. I stumbled across her blog when I noticed a bunch of hits on my hon tsai tai posts from Minneapolis one week and tracked them back to the CSA that had included it and her blog discussing it. I posted a comment and ended up a stop on her daily blog networking tour. She's got a lot of good recipes to steal too if you can remember to use them six months later when we get the same vegetables.