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kale slaw with avocado and almonds

The battle with our raccoons rages on.

I call them “our raccoons” because while I rarely see them staging their attacks, I know their faces from the grainy images my grandparents captured a few months ago with a borrowed night vision camera. There they sat on the back porch, happily munching pellets of dog food after dipping them to soften in Bella the Great Dane’s water bowl. Their most recent offense hit closer to home: having discovered our vegetable garden, they quickly made their mark with paw prints trampling through the onions and mounds of freshly dug earth burying the baby chard I planted just last week. Complaining of their furry wiles to friends from the East Coast, I quickly discovered that my relationship with raccoons was analogous to theirs with deer: one girl’s cuddly critter is another girl’s nemesis.

I’d been warned about their cleverness, but our resident bandits are far craftier than I imagined. The most memorable transgression took place years ago, when my parents purchased a dozen goldfish for a shallow stone pond in the garden. Our vision of a serene little ecosystem complete with lilies was thwarted a few mornings after, when we discovered all the fish had mysteriously disappeared. Not to be deterred, my grandfather constructed a preventative mesh covering, screwing it into the sides of the pond just beneath the water to protect our fish from prying paws. I’d like to end the story there, but several mornings later we surveyed the wreckage of our new system, the mesh skillfully pushed to the bottom of the pond in an attempt to squeeze the fish through. A few days later the lilies were gone.

Since I left the farm in December I haven’t been the most consistent gardener, but I like to consider myself a stalwart defender of the kale. Up to now all this has entailed is rubbing aphids off leaves and harvesting responsibly, but should it be called for I’ll be out there in the dead of night, clanging my pots at raccoons on the rampage and hoping for that one elusive victory.

Kale Slaw with Avocado and Almonds

1 bunch kale (Toscano kale or the young, tender leaves of almost any variety work best)

half a green cabbage

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. mustard

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

olive oil

1 avocado

handful roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Stack the kale leaves in a tight bunch and slice into thin shreds, starting with the tops. Slice the half cabbage into shreds and toss bit by bit with the kale, adding until the amounts of kale and cabbage are roughly equal.

To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust to your preference, adding more honey for sweetness or more mustard for increased zing. Add oil bit by bit as you whisk until the dressing thickens. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Pit and cut the avocado into quarters, then slice into small pieces and toss with the salad (the avocado should blend with the dressing, making the slaw creamy). Top salad with chopped almonds and serve.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am enjoying this wonderful salad as I type. I found it on Greg’s site at Sippity Sup. Very happy to be here and looking forward to trying out more of your recipes. And what a small world–I’m familiar with Love Apple Farms as I live in the SF Bay Area. 🙂

    Thanks for a fabulous salad–my husband is on his second serving and I’m about to fill up my bowl for a second time, too. 🙂

    March 20, 2012
  2. Nona McConville #

    Greetings Sara … Jeffrey here! Just wanted to say congrats on your article in the Sunday edition of the Times … and in the first section too! That is so huge. All the McConvilles loved the piece.

    Your writing is so natural and entertaining, even more so to us because we get to personally connect all the characters and events. Keep up the great work. Don’t fret too much about a job in the ‘real’ world, where ever that is. Just stay with your passions and the universe will bring you one in it’s own good time.

    Hayley’s down for the week (just now screamed that she got a B- grade for the quarter in OChem … stoked), so we had the family over yesterday for a feast. Nona worked for days on Beef Bourguignon (yes … I had to check the reciepe to spell that!). She went Plan C with it, and made fresh mashed potatoes for a base instead of the pasta or rice suggestions. Absolutely awesome.

    Please say ‘Hi’ to all the Barbours and Pets for us. We miss you guys. We’re so overdue for a visit to the Mesa … hope to escape up there and see you soon.

    Love, Jeffrey
    jeff@jm4realestate.com

    March 19, 2012
  3. Arggh. I left such a good message about why I liked this recipe. But when I filled out my info it said I did not have a wordpress account and I should press the back button. So I did and signed in with Twitter, but it erased my message. Oh well trust me. It was a nice message. GREG

    March 18, 2012
  4. Hi Sara
    really enjoying your blog (your roasted cauliflower with raisins, capers, and almonds has become a staple in our house.) I’ve also sent several friends your way, so you have some fans in Canada!
    Give my best to your mom and dad.

    March 15, 2012

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