Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing


Most of April has gone by already and for the last few weeks I didn't turn on the computer or reach for the camera while cooking.  I've been consumed with my full-time job of caring for my toddler whose naps are now very short and frankly at night I am in bed by 9 pm.  My body is also consumed with growing another small human; my mind reeling with questions of how we're all going to adjust once he or she joins us a few months.   I guess this has left me with little creativity left for And Baby Cakes Three.

Then yesterday I got a comment from a friend and blogger named Magda asking where I had been, and if was everything OK. I smiled because I often feel the same way if TracyAmelia, Denise or Fiona haven't posted in a while.  I wonder if they have a touch of the blues, are overwhelmed with work, or if they're even dealing with something more trying.  It's strange but think of these people when I clean my sink at night (Tracy's is always immaculate in her photos.)  Maybe when I'm out walking I think of Amelia's perspective on life and reming myself to look up at the sky.  I see something exciting happening in the literary world and send it to Denise on Twitter.  I wonder how Fiona makes it all happen (work, kids, family, blog) seamlessly, but I'm always thankful when she speaks of the challenges of a particularly difficult week.

These online friends have made blogging seem less of a vain act of marketing myself.  Instead, I blog because I'm sharing something with these special people who I hope one day to meet.  And while I can willingly go a week or more without turning on my computer, I'm glad to have this space to come back to where I can "meet up" with a few of these women and see what they've been up to.

Now for the recipe.  Last night P and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary in a neighborhood restaurant called Tiny's. It met all of our expectations for a good night out.  A cozy place with a friendly staff, and unassuming yet perfectly imagined food.  I devoured the Kale and Apple Salad as an appetizer - and then set about to recreate it this morning.  I hope all my friends like it -- both those who I've spent time with in person and those I only see virtually.

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing
Inspired by the salad at Tiny's in TriBeCa
Serves 2

I know there has been a wild craze for eating Kale Chips recently.  I've tried making them at home and I was less than excited about them.  Now that I've had kale in a salad, I'm completely sold.  This salad feels so good to eat.  It's one of those things where you know you're treating your body like a temple that deserves respect and reverence.  This recipe feeds two but it took all my willpower not to eat the entire thing myself in one sitting.

One bunch of Kale
1 organic apple (skin on) cut into bite sized chunks
1 carrot, shredded
2 celery stalks sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/4 cup grated gouda
1/4 cup or more chopped walnuts

Prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the coarse stalks and cutting into bite size pieces.  Rinse it well. Remove the moisture from the leaves by using a salad spinner if you have one.  Combine the kale, apple, carrot, celery in a large bowl.  Toss it well with the maple mustard dressing, then add the shredded gouda and walnuts and toss again.

Maple Mustard Dressing:
Adapted From Eating Well
1/2 cup olive oil (Eating Well suggested Walnut oil or Canola oil)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper

Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a Mason Jar with a lid.  I used about half for the salad and saved half in the refrigerator for next time.


  1. I'm glad to read that you're okay, Nicole.

    Happy anniversary to you and your husband.

    Take care!

  2. Oh, Nicole. You are a good soul. Reading this made me think of the benefits of this online world. I suppose the trick is in balancing it with the live physical world before us. There are good things and people to be found in both. You seem to be handling this balancing act very well. Seeing my name here and knowing you think of me when you find nifty literary tidbits truly warms my heart. I've been through a challenging few days and this makes your little note from afar feel all the more special. Thank you. And...I'll be making this good looking salad very soon. Take care, Denise

  3. And happy anniversary! Tiny's looks like the perfect place to celebrate.

  4. It's like you wrote this recipe just for me... I LOVE kale, LOVE it!! Happy Anniversary!

  5. What can I say, except that you expressed my thoughts exactly. I find myself wondering about these new friends I touch base with pretty much every day, thinking about their day, their kids, their lives. I am grateful for Instagram when I don't hear from some of you because I can see all is well, and we/you are just caught up creating lines of cars and trucks on coffee tables or making things that are delicious to us but too simple to post about. Thank you for your words, I treasure them and it makes me happy that I am not the only one to feel that way. Also, I just booked my tickets to the NY in the summer and hope to get the chance to meet you and your family while we are there, although I feel like I already know a lot of the important stuff about you already. Love the look of that salad. Even if you had finished it all in one sitting, it still would not have been a bad thing for you and your little one.

  6. Cara Nicole: your timing could not have been better with this post! I think we have created very special world: albeit virtual, it feels a LOT more connected that some physical world. I cherish you, and Tracy, and Denise (and am hopping over to visit Fiona now). Each unique in your own way: I feel incredibly intimate with your visions and your souls. You have an uncanny ability to write about quotidian moments and i feel like i have known you forever. I have indeed had a few hard weeks, if not months, hence my slower posting rate (as you might have noticed). And I think of you too so often, a pen-pal relatively far but extremely close. We have crossed paths on the road a few times, so I know it's meant to happen soon that we meet in person. Sending you love from London (I am here for a week, for work, but also meeting my mother who is joining me from Roma). Amelia P.s. you are GOING to have to send me your address via email, so I can send you some home-made biscotti to feed that little bambino (actually all 3 of you!)

  7. I was happy to read your post this morning.I know what it is like right now to go through trying times when my creativity is zapped. You need to focus on that busy toddler and yourself. Happy Anniversary,Nicole.

  8. You know I have lots of kale that needs picking from my garden before it goes to seed. Your recipe would be a great use for some of it. What a great pairing with apples! Thanks and beautiful photo.

  9. I love kale in salads - it works so well with hearty ingredients. This looks beautiful and healthy.

  10. My mouth was watering at the thought of eating this salad; I am not usually crazy about kale (perhaps because I only made it once as chips and it tasted horrible). this salad is just lovely! (courage, kids do grow fairly fast and pretty soon you will be contemplating what to do with the extra time!)

  11. Hi Nichole, I know that it is difficult for us to manage all the day to day needs and still keep up with all that is worthwhile online. Foodblogs by their very nature are the most complicated--content-wise---photos, recipe, story. We do the best we can to stay connected.

    Meanwhile, that's a great looking kale salad--love the bits of apple in there, and maple-mustard dressing sounds delicious.

  12. What a lovely, touching post. I now email daily or weekly with so many online friends probably out of the need to keep an eye on them regularly whether they blog or not. Happy Anniversary to you... I have to get on the kale train! Adding apples and the sweet-savory dressing is wonderful! Love the combination of flavors!

  13. Happy anniversary, and thanks for some lovely thoughts on blogging. I feel the same way! I also remember feeling as you do now--that fatigue is unreal, and all the more noticeable the second time round since you have a first one to still take care of.


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