The Need for Speed

Our wedding gifts have begun to arrive. It is like Christmas. Even Matthew, who was once lackluster about the notion of a registry, excitedly tears open boxes and cards filled with loving words. I am positively overwhelmed as well as humbled by the generosity of my friends and family. All these beautiful new items, each with sentimentality behind them, are helping add life to our little home. Matt's wonderful parents gave us a brand new butcher block complete with a set of beautiful, sharp and shiny new Wusthof knives that would make even the most experienced of chefs blush. If you are in the market for proper knives, Wusthof are the best of the best. Ask anyone at Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table. For years, it seems that I have been shaping meals using dull knives. Sure, a bit more elbow grease but no injuries here. No more. I sliced a lemon with such effortless grace this morning that I longed to cut another. I called Matthew in to help gawk at our sparkling new tools. 

Sometimes the need for speed is a bad thing. Especially when in the kitchen. While gingerly dicing fennel today, I punctured a finger. There was a bit of blood and so, I shrieked. Matthew came tearing into the kitchen, assessed the nothing-with-nothing scenario and bandaged me up. Back to business in the Johnson house it was. As I returned to the kitchen, my husband cautioned me to slow down. No one to impress in here. Fast forward four hours later. My Swiss chard needed chopping. Chop, chop, chop, this doesn't feel right. Red. I think I nearly removed the tip of my finger. More blood, more shrills and panic set in. In a half hour, my hapless injury has mandated two bandage changes. I suppose I could stand a stitch or two but we aren't adept at assessing these things. Anyway, back to the Cuisinart days I go. Safety first. For now, I will stare longingly at my beautiful new set of knives but there is no way in dickens that I am pulling them out any time soon. They will be in my nightmares tonight.

The below dish was prepared with love on New Year's Day. I love New Year's. The night before is often a hopeless wash but the excitement of a clean slate introducing a year ahead is quite enticing. Each year, I like to prepare resolutions. These are more or less self-imposed improvement mantras.  In 2016, I aim to slow down, listen more and not sweat the small stuff. So far, so good. Each year, my dear friend from university, together with her husband and children, host a January 1 swing by event. She prepares splendiferous pulled pork, gloriously prepared black eyed peas and perfectly seasoned greens. This year, Chick Fil A nuggets were also on the menu. Let me tell you how well they pair with ice cold mimosas. I digress. Back to the salad. When massaging the leaves, I also had detox in mind after five days of gluttony in New Orleans. This simple yet innovative salad is gorgeous and I plan to put it into regular rotation. 

Please forgive the brevity of this post. A self-proclaimed hypochondriac, I am fretting about my diced finger nicely. I plan to stand on the front porch, suck in the winter air, count to ten and change my bandage. I think a robust glass of red will improve matters too. With this I implore you, please be safe in the kitchen my friends! And what type of post would this be without my wishing you a halcyon New Year filled with everything and then some in the wish department.

Raw Collard Green Salad

The Goods

1 bunch of collard greens - coarsely chopped (careful)
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes - or more depending on the level of caliente you like
Knob of ginger - peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves - chopped
Kosher salt galore

Get Cracking

1. In a small dish, mix your apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic. Set aside.

2. Throw your collards into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and tenderly massage the leaves for a minute or two. 

3. Now throw the elixir from step 1 on top. Mix with hands again. Give a generous pinch or more of kosher salt. Season to taste.

This can sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. We had leftovers and I enjoyed mine the day following with cold pork tenderloin. It was magical. One can supplant collards with swiss chard or Tuscan kale. Clean, detox eating at its very best. Bon appetit.

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