Aakash, Nate and I drove up to Sonoma to celebrate Nate’s birthday with wine tasting and a peanut butter sandwich picnic. It was overcast and windy, very like New York this time of year. My favorite part (I drove) was buying beautiful purple heads of garlic and the sweetest fresh strawberries from a roadside stand in front of the berry fields and across the road from a vineyard.
Roasting strawberries is a great way to preserve the flavor of fresh spring strawberries for longer than two days – or to save some already sad-looking berries. Roasting them with olive oil, a bit of maple syrup, and a generous spoonful of balsamic gives these a jammy, tangy flavor that goes great with the creamy avocado and a bit of spiciness from freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
I know. Kale. But listen, there’s a reason there’s a cult of love around this green leafy. It’s earthy, herby, almost peppery and stands up well to all types of cooking – and, ya know, it’s good for you. With this cold weather, the sometimes bitter undertones will have sweetened right up - kale is best after a frost. Even my three-year-old cousin Brenna loves this veggie (she eats it raw from the stem, so buck up, people).
My final argument: at least it’s not a kale salad. Although I’m not crossing things out.