Our second day in DC was even more fun than the first. My brother Dane lives in Baltimore, so he took the train down to meet us and wander around the city. We hadn’t seen him in a while, so it was good to get together. We started out with breakfast at Founding Farmers in DC, where we immediately hopped onto the fatty-fat train by ordering a huge plate of freshly fried beignets. They were worth every bite. After breakfast, we took a much needed walk down to the White House lawn, where we saw Marine One taking off. Honestly, it was pretty cool to see that giant chopper flying over our heads. After hamming it up for a bit in front of the camera (totally necessary on any vacation), we walked over to the National Museum of American History, putzed around there for a while, then made our way to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and whatnot. The best part of this portion of the trip, I have to say, was the guest book in the archives. It was basically the comments section of a museum, with most comments saying something along the lines of, “Your guards are rude!” and “The lines here are too long!” I flipped through every page of that, believe me. We were pretty museumed-out after all of that, so we found a bar that had cold beer and lots of board games. Of course, we played Settlers of Catan and ate pretzels with queso. After Kramer beat Dane and me, we hopped in a cab and met up with some old Arizona friends in Adams Morgan, which reminded me of Williamsburg so I felt right at home. After dinner and some more drinks at Madam’s Organ, we headed back to our hotel, but not before having a piece of pie and one last cocktail at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. Next up: North Carolina!
Kramer and me on the White House lawn.
On to recipe three of my tart cherry journey. If you’re unaware, I’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute to bring four lip-smacking tart cherry recipes to you this summer. And I’m certainly not mad about it! Plus, this post features an even more exciting element: a giveaway! Choose Cherries is giving you the opportunity to not only win some tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries like the ones used in this recipe, but they’re also giving away a Le Creuset stoneware set, Le Creuset cooking tools and an Anthropologie apron! Those are some seriously awesome prizes if you ask me – any cook covets stoneware from Le Creuset, and I love anything from Anthro. To win, just Tweet about the contest here or leave a comment on this post, making sure to add your email address. The contest will run through Friday, August 29th, so be sure to enter! Anyway – on to the recipe.
Who doesn’t love tart cherries? They’re much more nutritious than sweet cherries and add a more interesting flavor to your usual dishes. For example, this kale salad. A simple sprinkling of dried tart cherries packed a ton of deliciousness into my typical lunch, and added a great texture. Each bite of dried tart cherry was like a little treat – I’m sure you’ve all been there. You have a favorite part of your salad, and you try to savor the best parts so that the last bite is a combination of regular lettuce plus whatever the star of the show is that day. You know that my last forkful of this salad was a perfectly composed bite of kale, sweet potato, almond and dried tart cherry. Kramer is not a huge fan of kale, so I had to be creative with this salad. I’ve found that the best way to handle kale is to make a hearty dressing, first and foremost. Kale is a hearty green and needs a dressing that can hang in the game. I’m a sucker for anything with grainy mustard, so I did a simple dressing of mustard, a little mayonnaise and lime juice. Cherries and limes are a natural combination, so why not? The next, and most important factor in making the best kale salad you can, is to really man-handle those leaves. I poured my dressing onto the kale, added my ricotta salata (which is a salted ricotta and absolutely fantastic), and squeezed. You want to get the dressing into each and every crevice of the kale, so that the acid in the lime breaks down the greens a little bit and the cheese blends with the dressing for a creamier result. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive with it! Once you’ve sufficiently scrunched and squeezed, toss the kale with roasted sweet potatoes, a sprinkle of slivered almonds and, of course, your dried tart cherries. This is a vibrant salad, alive with both flavor and texture, that even the wariest of kale will enjoy. Perhaps the best part of this salad is that it holds up really well. I’d even go as far as to say that I liked it better the second day, making it the perfect plan-ahead weekday lunch.
My brother Dane and me.
Goofing around at the American History Museum.
Now for salad! Gather your ingredients.
Toss your salad ingredients together, except for the dressing and the sweet potatoes.
Whisk together your dressing, then pour it over the kale.
Then use your hands to really incorporate the dressing into the kale leaves.
Add in your sweet potatoes and serve with a few extra slivered almonds on top.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, washed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. kale, washed and trimmed
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup ricotta salata or similar cheese (like feta), crumbled
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- 1⁄4 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- juice of 2 limes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- First, roast your sweet potatoes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Clean your sweet potatoes and rub each with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Wrap each sweet potato individually in foil, then place in the oven to roast for 45-60 minutes, under fork tender. Allow to cool to the touch before cutting into bite-sized pieces (skin on or off, your choice).
- When the sweet potatoes are almost ready, get your salad together. Toss together your kale, almonds and ricotta salata (save the cherries to add last). Whisk together your salad dressing ingredients, then pour the dressing over the kale. Use your hands to really work the dressing into the kale – this will help the dressing cover the leaves completely and the acid will also make the kale less tough. Once well coated, add in your cubed sweet potatoes and dried tart cherries.
- This salad can be served immediately, or you can cover and refrigerate it to serve the next day.