Anyan from Asia!

Hello, friends! (안녕하세요)

Apologies for being absent—it’s been a crazy month spanning three provinces, three countries, and many many meals. I haven’t hardly set foot in a kitchen since I left Toronto three weeks ago and in such my blog has suffered. Plus, it’s been August and I trust that all of you were out drenching your skin and self with every last drop of summer. Right? Right.

I visited farmer’s markets in Boston, Massachusetts, Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Kelowna, B.C.—unfortunately the only to survive were those from way out east, from the rainiest day.

 

Oh my sweet, sweet kale.

Oh, and that other thing. I moved to Korea. The dude and I packed our bags, said our goodbyes (my saddest to my beautiful little Breville  juicer, though not the mucky kitchen in which it last sat) and hopped a few planes across borders and an ocean. Into a land where kimchi is abundant (who needs probiotics?!), coffee is first-class, and the neon lights never stop flashing. Kinda like Vegas, except that I’m not on a four-day-bender—I’m living here for a year.

Some time ago the dude and I decided we should pack up and make our way across the globe, for the experience, the travel, the relatively cushy salary, and the fun. So we’re here, faced with a hundred-or-so kindergartens and elementary students each day. Neither of us with much teaching experience, but both with open minds and as always, empty bellies.

I’ve searched every market here for kale, to no avail. I’m already plotting shipping a few seeds overseas…

Though said dude and I made an unofficial pact to try and eat Korean while we’re here, meaning no supplements from home (bye-bye, delicious vega powder), and no ordering everything off of iherb (except maaaaybe some almond milk, ’cause soy sucks), I did find a few things at Costco (yes, it’s big here!)—Spirulina (hooray!), Fish Oils, and Vitamin C. Since fruit is expensive here, even moreso than at home (for non-organics), it looks like it’ll be more of a treat than anything. And I don’t want scurvy, so chewable orange-flavoured vitamin C it is!

~$23 CAD (!!!)

Costco-sized algae

So we’ve been here two weeks. I’m starting to find places that serve raw vegetables. Brown rice. Organic things, too. My “kitchen” is a hot plate in a shoebox-sized nook and eating out is often cheaper than in, so I imagine most of my health missions will take place outside of our apartment. But I promise to write. Hopefully next time with some kale in my belly. Until then…

xx

Kass

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How I Left the Farmers’ Market with More than I Expected (or, Charlie and the Arancini Truck)

Yesterday was the Strawberry Opening of the Ryerson Farmers’ Market, complete with live music, a scarecrow, scads of strawberries, and of course, lots and lots of kale.

LOTS of kale.

I had to resist buying every variety knowing I’ll be gone this weekend, my fridge needn’t be so full!

…I think there were other vegetables there, too.

Though I only had $11 dollars on-hand, I still walked away with 2 big bunches of kale, 1 big bunch of rainbow chard that was brighter than most rainbows I’ve seen, a huge bunch of spinach with stems still attached, and 5 cucumbers in various hilarious shapes and sorts. From what I know, most of it was picked that morning, and it was ALL organic. All of it! Take that, fast-food “value” menus!

Seriously, I think I have a veggie boner just from talking about it.

But that wasn’t all I left with.

Though I was tempted by the Maple Butter (maple syrup heated at such a high temperature that it takes on the texture and mouth feel of butter), and the honey-spice drenched almonds (as above), it was the Arancini Truck at the end that caught my eye. Or my nose.

When my boyfriend came back from Italy, he spent hours telling me about the gelato and desserts, countless days talking about the pizza, but he’s still talking about the arancini.

Arancini is a Southern Italian treat, essentially a breaded and fried ball of rice with a generous helping of tomato sauce. It’s definitely not something I’d advocate eating every day. But when in Rome…. Though his mom had recreated an amazing rendition (where I first tried it), we hadn’t spotted it anywhere else around Toronto. Until this truck.

I popped my head in and told him that though I’d already spent all my money on veggies (like a good little kale addict), we’d tried and loved arancini and would love to come visit their regular location. Charlie, presumably the owner, simply went to the back, wrapped up two arancinis with an extra tub of sauce, told me to come visit Colombo’s at Danforth and Woodbine (and to watch for them on Dragon’s Den in the fall), and handed me the packages, with a kind smile.

RU Farmers’ Market, I’ll definitely be back. With more bags this time.

Kale & Pumpkin Seed Presto Pesto

Wheeeeee!

Check out the big haul of organic kale I got from the Farmer’s Market at Ryerson this week! Just three bucks for the biggest bunch, stems, dirt ‘n’ all!

I love kale.

Maybe a little too much, I thought as I placed it in the fridge next to my Red Russian Kale and Lactinato Kale.

Did I mention I considered naming the blog “Will Work for Kale”?

After I de-veined (to the earwig of Carly Simon) and washed my beauties, setting some aside for juicing, and some for easy lunch salads, I still had plenty upon plenty left. And I knew it could only have one fate.

PESTO

Not any ordinary pesto my friends, but a fresh, power-packed, pumpkin seed and kale pesto. For dippin, spreadin, sandwich-slotherin, and spoon-lickin. Yup. I did that too.

I call it “Presto” Pesto because it literally takes five minutes—my kind of recipe.

P.S. Notice how I said “organic” kale? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released their 2012 list of the “Dirty Dozen“—listing which produce you should really buy organic due to its high pesticide content—and my beloved kale is on that list. So though I’m okay to buy onions, pineapple, and avocado conventional (they’re on the “Clean Fifteen”), I’ll be making sure my leafy greens are chemical-free, thanks. All the more excuse to swing by the farmer’s market!

Kale and Pumpkin Seed Presto Pesto (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free)

Makes about 1.75 cups, according to my best eyeball measure

Ingredients:

2 big handfuls of washed, chopped and de-veined kale

2 cups pumpkin seeds, ideally soaked

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (gives it a slightly cheese-like, thick, rich flavour)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt and pepper to taste

a small handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or EFA oil (I used UDO’s 3-6-9 blend, ’cause I had free samples :)) – you can use more for a more traditional-like pesto recipe

Directions:

Combine all ingredients up to cilantro in a food processor. While food processor is running, drizzle in the oil through the top. This will help ensure your pesto has a smooth, consistent texture. Keep combining until all the chunks are gone. Then toss with pasta, spread on wraps or sandwiches, make a tortilla or pita pizza, or as I like, schlop on potatoes like sour cream!