When Valentine’s Day comes around, I am usually dressed up in a tight fitting dress and stilettos. Telling myself to think thin so I don’t regret wearing a tight dress out on the town. But then I look at most restaurant menus and remember that they usually feature rich and heavy dishes that are often followed by some decadent dessert that I would most definitely want. How am I supposed to step up the romance if I feel like I need a nap after dinner? So I decided to change it up this year, wear something sexy, and slip on my kitchen apron over the top. I spend the afternoon baking that dessert I am not turning down, and then prepare a light and healthy dinner to go beforehand.
Something sweet - strawberries
Something to make my breath stay fresh before kissing- fennel
Something to keep me full while not being heavy on the stomach - kale & almonds
Something to give it a kick - balsamic & lemons
And there you have it! A salad that is easy, goes with any protein you may want to pair it with (I suggest halibut or grilled shrimp), and is something that is unexpected and sure to please. The rest of the evening you can focus on your special someone.
My favorite kitchen gadget for this recipe is my mandolin. I set it on a thin setting, shave my fennel and strawberries on it to make prep quick and easy.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 bunch curly kale, ribs removed, sliced very thin
1 bulb of fennel, sliced thin
10 strawberries, core removed, sliced thin
½ cup whole roasted almonds, chopped slightly
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
fresh cracked pepper
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and dijon mustard, set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss shaved fennel with lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt, let marinate for approx 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix sliced kale with the balsamic vinaigrette and lemon zest.
Add the marinated fennel, toasted almonds, lemon zest, and sliced strawberries, toss gently.
After years in the restaurant industry, Lorin began her blog A Modern Muse as a platform to share how she lives a well-balanced life, sharing recipes, photos, and how she stays healthy while still finding time to indulge.