Kale and Quinoa with Almond Sauce and Preserved Lemons

Another departure from the heavier topics of this blog to one of my favorite topics - food.

We have joined a CSA operated on a historic farm near our home. Every Saturday morning the kids and I drive over to pick up our food - our share of veggies, plus some eggs, plus some local dairy provided by another farm nearby. There still seems to be plenty that I buy at the grocery store (bulk items, canned beans, household products, cereal, jam, ketchup, etc.), but it feels so good (and so good for us and the planet) to be able to buy my veggies and other things locally.

This week's share had kale and other greens, which I love. I couldn't wait to get home for lunch to cook up this recipe that had materialized in my brain. I'm eating it now, and it is as divine as I had hoped. And easy - especially since I skipped some of the more onerous preparation steps!

Almond Sauce:

3 tbs almond butter
3 tbs tahini
raw garlic to taste (peeled and trimmed only - let the processor do the chopping)
1 cup water, divided

1 bunch kale (I had some sort of Russian variety; dinosaur kale would work well)
1 cup quinoa
water to cook quinoa (about 3 cups)
4 wedges preserved lemons, diced thin (you can substitute 1 tsp fresh lemon zest)

Lightly salt the quinoa water and bring to a boil. Theoretically you're supposed to soak quinoa before cooking it to remove a rumored bitter flavor from the grain, but this is one of those steps I regular skip. Who has the time? And I have yet to detect said bitterness. Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low-med. Allow to simmer while you prep the rest of the food.

Add the almond butter, tahini, garlic, and 1/2 cup water to your food processor and turn it on. Through the pour opening in the processor lid, slowly add more water until it develops the consistency of ranch dressing. Transfer to a small bowl for pouring and set aside. The raw garlic will have a bite, but it will mellow after you add the hot quinoa.

Rinse and chop the kale, removing the thicker stems that would just be awkward to eat in this sort of salad. Place in a large non-reactive bowl and pour a generous amount of the almond sauce on top. Top with the lemon, and when the quinoa is ready, pour it hot over the rest of the ingredients and fold together. The hot quinoa brings all the flavors together and lightly cooks the kale to perfect-tender. Yummy. If you don't have lemons on hand, this would probably be good with raisins, too, to bring out the sweetness in the almond sauce.

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