My younger daughter turned nine this past week and it’s our tradition for the birthday girl to choose her birthday meal made by yours truly. She warmed my heart this year by her choices: kale chips and a wedge salad.
I wasn’t complete surprised, this coming from a girl who famously pounded her highchair demanding more broccoli and salad.
Actually, she wanted to go completely vegetarian and have roasted brussel sprouts as her main course, but in an effort to maintain the family peace (my older daughter is a complete carnivore) I suggested we should have steak as our main.
What could be more classic than a wedge salad followed by steak?
Both kale chips and wedge salad are so simple that the freshest ingredients make all of the difference. Our grocery stores are well stocked with local organic kale these days and so finding really fresh green kale was a cinch.
After perusing numerous blog posts on making kale chips, and having a few mishaps of my own, I’ve realized that the key to success is to insure that the kale is dry, lightly tossed with oil (don’t drown the leaves) and roasted low and slow.
Don’t be deterred by kale’s distinct aroma as it cooks – I think the bitterness is actually cooked out of the kale. The result is a crisp, sweet-ish (I mean it is kale) taste.
As for the wedge salad, I always go for a homemade blue cheese dressing and sometimes I also top it off with crumbled bacon.
This being her birthday dinner I decided to really go for it and add the bacon which I cooked in a skillet until it was nice and crispy.
I chose the best quality blue cheese I could find – this was an imported Danish blue cheese. Buy the best blue cheese you can but I definitely advise against those pre-crumbled packages since the cheese tends to be very dry and bland.
Overall this birthday meal was quite a success. The kale chips were eaten as an appetizer, and then we moved on to a first course of wedge salad. The meal was completed with steak (sorry no pictures) and chocolate cupcakes.
Happy Birthday Maggie!
1 bunch of green kale
1 t olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse kale leaves in water and completely dry. Rip kale leaves into bite size pieces, removing the stems. Put in a bowl and toss with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out evenly on large baking sheet, being careful not crowd them on the sheet. Bake ten minutes. Rotate the sheet and gently toss the kale leaves. Bake and additional 8-10 minutes, allowing the kale leaves to become crisp but not brown. Cool before eating.
Wedge Salad, serves 4
3/4 C mayonnaise
2 T white wine vinegar
1 t worcestershire sauce
1/2 C crumbled blue cheese
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Add most of blue cheese, leaving some to top salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice iceberg lettuce into four wedges. Dollop dressing onto lettuce and top with blue cheese and bacon.
* Note that if you prefer your blue cheese dressing to be thinner, add buttermilk one tablespoon at a time until preferred consistency is reached.