We’re almost at day 70.
It’s hard to even imagine what our lives were beyond this current phase, and even more difficult to picture what the eventual return to “normalcy” will look like. In the face of uncertainty, I’ve found solace in the little things. Pruning my unnecessarily large collection of house plants (that’s 15 in a humble one-bedroom apartment, in case you were wondering). Daily phone calls with my family, a constant flurry of activity on group chats and weekly virtual trivia nights with my childhood best friends. Discovering previously unchartered parts of my neighbourhood on foot on long evening walks.
I stumbled across an uplifting Reddit thread the other day, in which people were sharing how they were living their “best quarantine lives”. At the risk of sounding like a negative Nancy, personally, I can’t say the past two months have been struggle or stress-free by any stretch of the imagination. But with the help of support from loved ones and a handful of healthy coping mechanisms, I have thankfully been able to strike somewhat of a balance as of late.
One of those coping mechanisms is, of course, cooking. Strange as it may seem to some, I find being in the kitchen incredibly therapeutic. Nine times out of ten, at the end of a long day, you will find me mindlessly massaging kale, replaying the events of the day and allowing my thoughts to simmer.
Today’s recipe is one that I make time and time again. It is a homage to the end of the local Kale season here in the UAE (hello, summer temperatures) – and is one of my go-to’s for any gatherings or dinner parties – remember those?
- 3 cups of chopped shredded kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- Juice of one lemon
- ½ tbsp sea salt
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup sliced cucumbers
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp sliced onion
- 2-3 tbsp each of pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
- ½ an avocado sliced
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas or lentils
- Add kale, oil, lemon, salt and nutritional yeast and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl and massage everything together until the kale is tender
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well, top with assorted seeds
If you’ve never tried massaging kale before, you’re missing out. It’s amazing what acid, salt, and fat (combined with a little TLC) will do to a once tough and fibrous green. Say hello to soft and tender kale that packs a serious flavour punch.
It also means that the dressing is all taken care of from the start – but if you’re a fan of extra dressing a squeeze or two of lemon juice and an additional drizzle of olive oil on top is never a bad idea either.
A very warm Eid Mubarak in advance to those who celebrate.
Until next time, friends.