I have lost my groove. It is gone - who knows where or why? - and I have been waiting for it to come back as quietly as it went. Today I am tired of the waiting and so I am pursuing the mysterious motivation to share whatever it is I have previously taken such delight in sharing. I could blame it on the dryer-fire or the ongoing restoration project that is frustratingly stalled. It could have been the brand-new fridge sitting in the middle of my kitchen for a few weeks that chased my groove away (I am notorious for needing every element in its rightful place before I can be creative) or the empty pantry that short-circuits so many kitchen adventures before they even begin. I find myself paralyzed by the incredible abundance of healthy recipes beautifully photographed that fill untold numbers of food blogs and wonder if the world really needs another entry in that class. Somedays I love the old-school look of the blog and other days I think it really needs an overhaul but that thought completely overwhelms me. Whatever the cause I have missed being involved in this endeavour and so here I sit, fighting the temptation to check my Pinterest feed or see what is newly posted on Instagram in an effort to procrastinate the exercise of writing. I confess I have gotten lazy and the only way to get my groove back is to get ... grooving?
Tonight's dinner seems like a good place to start. This morning my plan for dinner was a kale salad with beets and roasted salmon. Simple, undemanding, healthy. Certainly nothing to write about. And then. Then I saw this recipe on Food 52 and it just had to be what was done with the kale and the salmon. I was so right. This is better than good and almost as easy as the easy plan that wouldn't have been news of any kind. Sometimes the day just ends up a lot better than it begins.
Turns out this recipe was inspired by one of Heidi Swanson's recipes from Super Natural Everyday. I in my turn have made minor changes to the recipe that Ashley Couse published on her lovely blog Bloom & Nourish. Granted my changes are truly minor but aren't those little changes that we make when we cook what gives a recipe our signature, a personal flavour? I like a touch of heat to make things interesting but another might find that level of spice either entirely bland or too intense. My preference for food with virtue colours the dishes I choose or create. Feeling free to add or subtract from a recipe or an idea is what makes being in the kitchen gratifying and fun. Sometimes things work out amazingly well, other times not so much but every time I learn something for another day.
crispy coconut kale with roasted salmon, sweet potatoes & coconut rice
(adapted slightly from Bloom & Nourish)
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp Tamari
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" cube
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 bunch kale, ribbed and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 lb salmon fillet
Combine the rice with the water and coconut milk and cook. (I confess to having a rice cooker for so long that I would have a hard time managing or knowing what to do without one. It is just what happens when you live in Japan - everyone has one like everyone here has a stove.)
While the rice is cooking turn the oven on to 400 degrees F. Using a small tightly lidded jar combine the coconut oil, sesame oil, Sriracha, sea salt and Tamari. Close tightly and shake well to emulsify. Set aside.
Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the grapeseed oil then spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika and slide the lot into the oven to bake for about 25 minutes or until tender. Turn or stir the potatoes once during roasting.
Give the coconut oil dressing another good shake and pour roughly 2/3 of it over the chopped kale and coconut flakes. Mix well so that everything is well coated and spread on another baking sheet. Set aside.
Drizzle the salmon fillet with a couple tablespoons of the remaining dressing. Add the salmon and the kale to the oven with the sweet potatoes and roast for the last 15 minutes or so of the sweet potatoes baking time. Remove from oven when the kale is crispy, the salmon flakes easily and the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve the salmon on a bed of coconut rice topped with crispy kale and sweet potatoes. And be amazed.