My trip is finally over! I decided to settle in Lynchburg, Virginia for the Fall and Winter, with strong intentions to intern at Evan’s Knob Farm in West Virginia, next Spring and Summer. I found a place until then, signed a 6 month lease in anticipation of my plan, and have been unpacking everything from the back of my van- unfolding the mobile campsite into what looks like a squatter’s nest in my barren apartment.
Some features distinguish my personal hovel from any kind of degenerate crash pad, if the discerning eye cares to look closer…. My kettlebells and other work out equipment reside in the far corner of my living room and are already applied enthusiastically to start each morning’s routine. The wall next to my kitchen is papered with lists and plans and strategies and goals, and what should be the bedroom is taking shape into a sewing studio for upcoming commissions and design frenzies. I still have one more lap half way across the country to grab the bulk of my belongings from Missouri, after which the south will be my home base for the foreseeable future.
Since my kitchen tools are mostly in Missouri, I am cooking in a kitchen using the bare minimum of campsite supplies; two small bowls, a tin mug, a cast iron skillet, a cutting board, a fork, a knife and an antique puuko. This should present an interesting challenge! (However challenge accepted, as the last two days’ diet of almond butter, apples and protein bars was starting to leave me a little sick. )
Keeping my handicaps in mind, I hit the grocery store. Southern Grocery stores delight me, as many items are very close cousins to European standbys. Scrapple is a bit like hausmacher, fat back is speck, livers and offal of all kinds abound, and good butter is available cultured and from local sources. It’s delightful.
Today’s recipe however, I dedicate to the heatwave that settled on us today. It is simple, cheap, and direct. Late Summer strawberries and kale are bulked out with goat cheese crumbles and carrot matchsticks. Apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper season it subtly so that the kale almost seems to have a nutty taste in conjunction with the goat cheese, which is already adding a creamy complexity to sliced berries.
I put this together like a salad shaker- a handful of kale, a handful of carrot matchsticks, 2 sliced strawberries of enormous size, a shot of apple cider vinegar and salt to taste. Jam two bowls together and shake. Top it off with a few tablespoons of goat cheese crumbles and some fresh ground black pepper to make a fast and cooling dinner.
If you want to blow your mind, check out Wikipedia’s article on strawberries, where you’ll learn that the strawberries you buy at the store are relatively new in the fruit cultivation scene (1700’s) and that they are not actually berries…but rather something called an aggregate accessory fruit, the seeds of which are not seeds, but ovaries. Strawberries have a fascinating journey from the forest to confectionary fetish, if you’re a botany nerd that is.
Nutritionally, they offer vitamin c and manganese, and are anti-inflammatory. They are traditionally in Season late Spring and early Summer, however green houses and other techniques keep them coming well into late Summer. I was just harvesting some in West Virginia at the end of August.
I ate this as a meal to get food in me on a day I felt too hot to cook, but it’s so easy that it would make an excellent throw together side salad with a larger meal. I could see it pairing well with grilled chicken or lean steak.
Ingredients For a Single Serving
1 cup of chopped kale
¼ cup carrot matchsticks or grated carrots
2-4 strawberries cut into wedges
2-3 tbsp goat or blue cheese crumbles
1 shot glass full of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Take two small metal or plastic bowl. An old yogurt container will also suffice.
Place kale, strawberries, carrots, apple cider vinegar and salt into one bowl and cover with the other bowl. Flip it around a few times. Give it a good couple of jostles. Show it who’s boss.
Dump it into the container it will be served in and top with goat cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Marvel that you thought you needed directions. Eat it.