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Just a quick explanation for the radio silence… I went to a friend’s wedding off-island, but extended it to a much-needed longer vacation.   Here are a couple snapshots from the Cape Cod portion of the trip (mostly from Instagram… my username there is girlcooksworld if you’d like to follow me there).  I have to say, September just may be my favorite time to visit.  The crowds have (mostly) left, the weather is still (mostly) warm, and the beach parking is free!

It was great to step away from work and blogging for a bit (and real life will always have to take precedence over blogging), but I do hope to be back in a couple days with a new recipe post.  It’s been far too long and I’m itching to get back in my well-stocked kitchen.

Massaged Kale Salad with Mango, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Massaged Kale Salad with Mango

Although I’ve been eating kale for a long, long time (Marcella Hazan’s excellent Tuscan Peasant Soup was my “gateway drug” to this dark, leafy green), I’ve been firmly resisting the kale salad trend.   And so kale always found three other eventualities: kale chips, soup, or green juice/smoothies.

While I’m usually pretty good at resisting fashion trends (high-wedge sneakers, I’m talking to you), I tend to cave to food trends pretty quickly… curiosity always seems to win out.  And unlike the Luther Burger or Double Down,  kale salad seems to have some serious staying power.   And so I finally caved.  I only wish I’d done so sooner.

Kale

Massaged Kale Salad with Mango 1

While kale is tougher and more bitter than your average salad green, there’s a couple of tricks for making it work.  First, a quick massage of the leaves will help soften and break down kale’s tough structure.  And pairing the kale with something extra sweet–like mango– will help balance the flavor.

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Fresh Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Every summer I get a little bit of produce envy when I read about the overabundance of zucchini and/or tomatoes in everybody’s garden.  Every time I attempted to grow either, the plants would invariably succumb to some sort of rot or pestSigh.

But I suppose I shouldn’t get too jealous of you mainland folks.  After all, every summer I am happy to help out friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers looking to pawn off  mangoes from their over-productive trees.

Jalapeno Peppers

Mango Salsa Ingredients

Although I live in a condo these days, it wasn’t too long ago that I was the one who had to deal with dozens of newly ripened mangoes on a daily basis (oh how I miss those Pirie mangoes!).   Weekly batches of mango curry chicken and daily smoothies barely put a dent in the supply.

Rather than give the plain fruit away, I often made and gifted batches of fresh mango salsa.

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Cherry-Infused Vodka

Cherry Infused Vodka

Since operation fridge and pantry clean-out is full still in effect, I thought I’d drop in with a post that’s more public service announcement than recipe.  Cherry season is drawing to a close, so if you’re a fan of cherry mixed drinks (like this very cherry lime mojito!), you may want to think about infusing some vodka with the some fresh cherries while you can still find them at the market.

Cherry Infused Vodka 1

Bing Cherries

I’ve only used Bing cherries, since I love their vibrant hue and bold flavor, but you’re welcome to try Rainier as well.   The resulting product will likely just have a more delicate flavor, like the cherries themselves, as well as a lighter tone.

There’s really no right or wrong way to make this… the following “recipe” is just a guide to get you started.

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