When Mexico is Next to Croatia

The Umbrellas of Thailand, NYT Travel Show

The Umbrellas of Thailand, NYT Travel Show

Just back from the New York Times Travel Show which, although not nearly as grand as it used to be, is still interesting. It’s at the Javits Center, a trip of its own–a lot of new apartment buildings have been built nearby or are in the works but currently there’s nowhere in the area to shop, eat or have your dry cleaning done.

I collected info on places I’m going to or at least tried. Oaxaca, MX, coming in February, was not represented at the Mexico area but the rep-in-charge promised some specialized skinny (maybe.) Italy, up in May, had various vendors on hand although nothing for the country as a whole or even specific geographic areas. I grazed destinations on my “let’s think about it” list including South Africa; Prince Edward Island,

Summer with lupines, PEI

Summer with lupines, PEI

(near yet very far when you try to actually get there); Malta and Croatia. Anyone with a yea or nay on these, I’d love your input.

The seminar on maximizing the travel dollar was reasonably interesting with a few websites and tips I didn’t know. Later, the program by restaurateur Bill Telepan

Bill Telepan

Bill Telepan

morphed into something about Expo Milan with a panel –I left as it began as did the person next to me, both of us disappointed not to hear the chef expound on his  eponymous restaurant  I’ve eaten there numerous times and always loved it.

Since I can’t replicate the cooking at Telepan, this recipe is something I made recently and adored. Spoiler alert: one of the key ingredients is kale which some loathe as it’s so popular it’s about to turn up as soap (or maybe has.) Don’t be put off by either the healthiness or complications factors: you can eat it ignoring that it’s good for you and it’s really not that difficult. AND, once made, it keeps, undressed for quite a while in the fridge.

The Mighty (Overhyped) Kale

The Mighty (Overhyped) Kale

Kale, Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts Chopped Salad (full amount would feed an army. Halve or even quarter amounts for two.)

For the greens:
• 1/2 pound curly kale (about one small bunch, or half of a larger bunch)
• 1 pound Brussels sprouts
• 1 pound green cabbage (about half a medium head or a quarter of a large one)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the dressing:
• 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 cup olive oil
• 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil, optional
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for assembly
• 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios, for assembly
1. Wash and spin dry the kale, and then cut it, plus the Brussels sprouts and the cabbage, in small squares, about 1/4-inch by 1/4 inch. For the kale, it works best to rib the leaves, roll them into fat cigars a few leaves at a time, then chiffonade them. Keeping the slices together and uniform, turn them 90° counter clockwise and make even slices lengthwise, about a 1/4-inch apart. (The same method works for the cabbage.) I started and it was
2. fussy to just roll and chiffonade kale as best you can. )
3. Halve the Brussels sprouts lengthwise, cut each halve in half, and, with them lying cut-side down on the cutting board, slice them like you would an onion. Don’t stress about technique too much here — the important part is that everything is roughly the same size — if it’s easier for you to just chop and mince like you would a pile of herbs, go ahead and do that.
4. Place all chopped vegetables in a large bowl, add sugar and salt, and massage the greens slightly until they no longer feel raw. This salad will only improve if you do this a few hours ahead of time, but it’s not necessary. (At this point, the salad can sit for up to 2 or 3 days. It will lose water, so drain each time you dress and eat/serve it.)
5. To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender, and blend until the color lightens and everything is combined. (You can also use a whisk and a strong arm for this.) Slowly stream in the olive oil, and then the hazelnut oil, if using — you’re looking for everything to be thick and emulsified. (This dressing will last for 2 weeks in the fridge.)
6. Add dressing to greens, a few spoonfuls at a time — you want a well-dressed salad but not a soggy one. (Keep in mind you will have leftover dressing, so no need to use it all.) Fold in the sesame seeds and pistachios, and serve.

You could drink something very unhealthy like Diet Coke or  white sangria (my vote) with this and serve as a meal at lunch with bread and cheese or a side salad at any time. Think of it as the gym in a bowl,


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7 Responses to When Mexico is Next to Croatia

  1. Lorinda Klein says:

    Mari –
    You will love Oaxaca. It is a wonderful, mystical place. Sit on the zocalo for an afternoon and watch the world pass by.

    • marigold says:

      I’ve been there before although last trip was a few years ago. If you have any special thoughts, love to know. Going with my older daughter.

  2. Charlotte Levy Schwartz says:

    Hi Mary, from an old classmate. I really love your blog.
    I went to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2010 with my best friend. She works for South African Airlines; she markets the country and the arlines to high-end, specialized travel agents up and down the East Coast. The trip was amazing. We first visited Victoria Falls in poor depressed Zimbabwe. One afternoon we walked across the bridge into Zambia. Then we flew in a 5-seater plane into the Okavanga Delta in Botswana; we stayed at a lush Orient Express lodge for 4 days. Seeing all the animals in morning light, evening moonlight – whenever we could was thrilling.
    We left Botswana and flew to Capetown for 3 days, then headed east to Shamwari Game Reserve, inland about an hour from Port Elizabeth. The entire trip was 14 days. PS Your US dollar is extremely strong in South Africa.
    Ahhh Malta. In 2012 my companion Bill Simon and I took a small ship sailing cruise from Malta up the west coast of Italy to Nice. Malta is any history buff’s delight.
    We hired a driver for our 3 days there -prior to the ship’s cruise- because we were jet lagged. I really loved the island.
    Have fun choosing your next adventure. Next time Bill and I are in New York, perhaps we can get together with Judy Goldman and Ruth Davis. We met them a while back at the Neue for lunch, and then wandered upstairs to see the collection of my friend and neighbor. He is an ardent colector of Viennese and German pre-WW I annd II wood pieces and silver – among other delights.
    Have fun planning…
    I look forward to the next blog!

  3. Bob Mack says:

    Would unreservedly recommend Malta and its capital Valletta. Fantastic Baroque architecture and a magnificent Cathedral of St. John containing a dramatic Carravaggio as well as ornate, mind-blowing Baroque carvings. Have been there twice on cruises with my wife. The Grand Harbor is one of the most romantic in the world, especially at night.

  4. Ellen Giusti says:

    Croatia has beautiful Adriatic vistas and coastline (much better than the Italian side), charming towns and islands (Capo d’Istria, the Italian name of a town on the tip of a peninsula, and Hvar, an interesting and long island). Food was great. There is a lot of Italian influence.

  5. Mary Flannery says:

    I love kale and have since I was introduced to it 20 years ago. I make it at a few times per week (sautéed) and get it at the farmers market all year long. Red Russian kale is my favorite.