A very long time ago, I worked in a kitchen for a short period of time. The restaurant was a steak house and I worked on the salad station. It was a time in my life when I was debating quitting university to go to culinary school so I thought it was a good idea to get some experience in the kitchen before I made such a life-changing decision. For a lot of reasons, I didn’t end up going to culinary school but the one dish I think of when I think of that time was their caesar salad. I remember, on my last day, the chef I was working with gave me a little container of the caesar dressing because he knew I loved it so much. Since then, I have never really made my own caesar salad dressing. This is because every time I looked up a recipe they called for anchovies, which I have never been able to find at the store. A couple of weeks ago, I got a massive craving for caesar salad and decided that instead of tracking down anchovies, I would just try to make a dressing without it. On top of that, I knew I wanted it to be a kale caesar salad. I finally got my hands on some black/dinosaur kale again (which is my favourite in salads) and since caesar salad dressing is quite heavy, I didn’t want any delicate greens that would get weighed down.
I actually think this is one of my favourite salads that we make. As many times that I have had it, I am always surprised by the punch of flavour that I get with every bite. I think that the genius of this salad is that you add flavour to each component and don’t actually make a dressing: the vinegar in the red onion and dates give the acidity and sweetness, the butter, sumac and chilli in the almonds and bread are the spicy and oily bit, and all the final dish needs is a squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go!
We went to Peru a little while ago and I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of food. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to eat as a vegetarian but it worked out pretty well! One of my favorite things (that even my meat loving boyfriend ordered again and again) was the quinoa soup that was ubiquitous. I never really knew exactly what to expect, it came in a number of different forms. Sometimes there was a variety of vegetables, sometimes very few. Sometimes it had dairy, sometimes it did not. But it was always delicious.