Many years ago, (well, decades ago, to be honest) my oldest son attended The Waldorf School of Cape Cod. A recent post on Facebook from his teacher, (who was looking forward to kale sprouting up in their school garden) reminded me that Waldorf education had the children gardening and eating from their own hand-sewn, plowed and tenderly cultivated school-based garden long before the “farm-to-school” movement, the locavore movement, or even the push for healthier foods for our kids. It was part of their integrative curriculum, a key part of science class, so kids could learn about the cycle of growth and about living things that nourish us, the symbiotic relationship between the earth and humankind.
On a recent trip to the last indoor farmer’s market at Kennedy’s Gardens in Scituate, I found myself in search of local fresh foods I could nourish my own family with. Like most folks, my love of cooking is usually propelled by the results: delicious food to eat. But in recent years with more awareness of local food, and many more local venues for finding the foods, I now also enjoy meeting and speaking with the farmers and bakers and artisan and vendors who sell their wares. When I purchased a bag of two varieties of kale (elephant and purple leaf) from Oakdale Farm in Rehoboth (http://www.oakdalefarms.com/) and then found beautiful plump orange carrots there too, I knew I was going to make the kale slaw I had recently made with less-than-stellar supermarket carrots. This slaw has kale, carrots, cilantro and red cabbage (for color, really). I also added dried cranberries (which can be found at the Plymouth indoor farmer’s market coming up on April 12th). It is heavily doused with a Thai-style peanut dressing and the result is divine.
Here is the recipe:
One head or bunch of kale with the stiff middle part removed, and lovingly sliced into ribbons, about 4 Cups (remembering the fact that the kale is preferably organically grown so super healthful!)
1 Cup of chopped red cabbage
½ Cup of julienned, shredded or thinly sliced carrots; (2 large carrots)
2-4 T of chopped cilantro, (to taste)
About 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Handfuls of chopped peanuts to taste (optional)
Dressing: ( Please double because you’ll wish you had!)
2 T smooth salted natural peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s organic)
2 T soy sauce
2 T chopped fresh raw ginger (peel first); grated also works
1/3 cup neutral oil like grapeseed
1/2 T honey or agave, to taste
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt to taste
Whisk together or whir up all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Thin with 2/4 tablespoons of water if desired. Pour dressing over the slaw and toss well, allowing to sit for at least 15 minutes for flavors to meld.
While I was making the salad, I reflected on the conversation I’d had with the farmer who sold me the vegetables: how they had to reinvent themselves and transition from selling mostly plants to mostly veggies after Home Depot came into their area and almost put them out of business. And how awfully thankful I am that they did!
The process of preparing local foods is for more than for the end result: it nourishes the community we live in along with feeding ourselves.
Submitted By, Katherine Rossmoore