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With holiday parties in the offing, you may be stuck trying to think of what to bring.  I’ll be posting some great holiday recipes this month, including some low glycemic desserts.  Whether you are hosting a party, bringing a dish to a party, or just dining at home, these recipes are just what you need to eat healthy this holiday season.

If you have seen me driving around town, you’ve seen my bumper sticker that says “Eat More Kale”.  If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of kale and other dark leafy greens.  So what better way to start than with kale and a (“Raw”) Kale Fennel & Orange Salad!

I discovered kale for myself early in my healing process.  Prior to this, my definition of a dark leafy green would have been mixed baby greens and spinach.  Not wrong, just naive.   Turns out, I’m not alone.  I took a survey of friends and family and asked if they ate dark leafy greens.  I found that half never ate any dark leafy greens and of those that did, a quarter of them only ate spinach.

Don’t let “raw” in the title scare you.  It’s easy to make… and delicious.  All you need is a large bowl, a knife, some salt, a little lemon, and your hands.

“Raw” is a bit of a misnomer.  We are massaging the kale rather than eating it raw.  We do this for 2 reasons.  First, massaging makes it easier to chew.  And second, massaging helps breakdown the goitrogenic properties.  Goitrogens are naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the thyroid gland functions and can become a problem if you have an iodine deficiency.  Cooking kale takes care of this as well.

destemmed kaleIMG_4505How to De-Stem & Massage Kale:

Start by holding the kale leaf from the bottom of the stem with your left hand.  With your right hand, tear the leaf off the stem a little, and wrap your hand around the bottom of the stem just below the leaf.  Hold a loose grip.  Then pull the stem in your left hand through your right hand.  You’ll end up with the stem and the leaf separated.

At this point, you’ll want to chop the kale into bite size pieces.  I find chopping it into ribbons (chiffonade) and then cutting into two or three segments works best.

IMG_4507IMG_4510Put the kale in a bowl large enough to give you enough room to massage or knead the kale.  Add the salt & lemon and begin massaging or kneading the kale just like you would bread dough.  The kale will start to breakdown, release some juices and wilt.  By the time you are finished, the kale will have shrunk to about half its size.

You do this same massaging or kneading procedure with the fennel.  With the fennel, you want to slice it as thin as you can.  A mandolin would come in handy for this, if you have one; otherwise, your sharp chef’s knife will do just fine.

The variety of citrus in season this time of year is tremendous so feel free to substitute in the citrus of your choice.  Enjoy!!

What’s your favorite dark leafy green or green holiday dish?

Kale Fennel & Orange Salad

Serves 6

Dressing

1 shallot, diced

2 tbsp Champagne Vinegar

1 tsp orange zest

¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad

2 bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 oranges, supremed or simply separated into segments

10 kalamata olives, chopped

2 ¼ tsp salt, divided

Directions

1)    In small mixing bowl, combine shallots, vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, and olive oil.  Whisk together by hand.  Season with salt and pepper.    Set aside.

2)    Place chopped kale in large mixing bowl and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp lemon juice for every bunch of kale.  Massage kale with hands until it begins to wilt.  See above for more detailed explanation.

3)    Place sliced fennel in medium mixing bowl and ¼ tsp salt.  Massage fennel until it softens.

4)    Transfer the fennel to large bowl with kale.

5)    Add oranges, olives and some dressing.  Toss well.

6)    Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

7)    Serve individually on salad plates.

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