Fit for a New Year: Kale and Cranberry Salad with Candied Pecans

Happy 2010! Ten years ago, my husband and I joined friends (and 10,000 strangers) on London’s South Bank to soak in the atmosphere of an impending new millennium. Both couples were expecting our firstborns in 2000 and we were on the cusp of a whole new world we knew little of, but which also couldn’t happen soon enough.

Since then, we’ve seen and been in many amazing places, held interesting jobs and made wonderful new friends, but our favourite moments and memories revolve around life with our two little princes. The princes joined us at their first New Year’s eve party last night and enthusiastically managed to stay up, for the first time, past midnight – well past their regular bedtime of 8pm. (I admit this was rather impressive for me too as I had secretly fantasized about going to bed at 10. I know, pathetic!)

With a fresh decade to explore, it’s interesting how my resolutions have changed over the years. At 20, I couldn’t wait to live and travel on my own (check). At 30, I decided not to waste time with fickle friends and not to be eaten by annoyances, human or otherwise (check and check). This year, my needs are simple. I’d give anything for some free time! Time to finish a book, to organize my thoughts about a possible second career, to write a book, even.

And to exercise. In that spirit, both the husband and I enthusiastically began the first day of the year (as we usually do) by exercising. Don’t be impressed, it’s whether we keep this up the rest of the year that’s the challenge. But I’m setting myself a reasonable resolution of having more days in a week in which I exercise, than not. Even if this means squeezing in 30 minutes on the treadmill in the evening …

So, in line with a healthy start to 2010, here’s a salad I put together for Christmas, which was so yummy it’s worth repeating 🙂 Kale, a kind of hardy cabbage, is the star veg here, and 100g of it will provide 2g fiber, 2g protein, nearly 80% of your Vit A requirements, 70% of Vit C and more than eight times what you require daily of Vit K (watch out anyone on anti-coagulants!).

Here’s to happiness and health to everyone, and lots of quality time with your families!

  • baby spinach, 2 cups
  • black kale leaves, 2 cups
  • romaine, 2 cups
  • candied pecans, 3/4 cup
  • dried cranberries, 1 cup
  • crumbled, herbed goat cheese (optional), 3/4 cup
  • clementines, segmented, 2

Arrange them all in a bowl, except for the pecans which go in right at the end.

To candy the pecans, melt 1/2 stick of butter with 1 cup of sugar in a nonstick pan, and throw in the pecans when the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and turn the pecans over onto some baking parchment and allow to cool. Once cool, separate the clumps into individual nuts 😉

For the dressing

  • meyer lemons, 2, juice and zest of
  • maple syrup, 2-3 tbsp
  • olive oil, 1/2 cup
  • dijon mustard, 1 to 1 1/2 tsp
  • chopped basil, 3/4 cup worth
  • garlic, 3 cloves, smashed with side of knife
  1. Whizz all of the above together in a food processor till creamy
  2. Add to the salad at the last minute and toss
  3. Throw the pecans in at the end
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
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January 1, 2010. Tags: . Dinners, Festive, Salads.

5 Comments

  1. dionneford replied:

    This sounds yummy. I love kale and pecans. Thanks for the recipe and happy new year.

    • divaindoors replied:

      Thanks Dionne! Happy new year to you too. I had meant to add that anyone worried about their sugar intake could just use roasted pecans instead, and substitute the maple syrup in the dressing for stevia 🙂

  2. Debbie Galant replied:

    That seems like a lot of work for a salad. Can you bring one over?

    • divaindoors replied:

      LoL! You know, I had this one without the dressing and it was scrummy. One could always omit the fun bit too (candying the pecans) x

  3. Victor Sasson replied:

    You make greens look so scrumptious. I often cook collards and green swiss chard with a quick blanch and sautee in olive oil and garlic, but this raw kale is good enough to dive into.

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