So several years ago I met a group of people through my friend Stuart who attend something called the Burning Man Festival. Now for those of you, like myself, who do not know anything about Burning Man it can be summed up in one word, sandy. Well, you will see why.
According to Wikipedia:
Burning Man is a week-long annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event begins on the last Monday in August, and ends on the first Monday in September, which coincides with the American Labor Day holiday. The 2012 Burning Man Festival took place between August 27 and September 3. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described as an experiment in community, art, and radical self-expression. Burning Man is organized by Black Rock City LLC. In 2010, 51,515 people attended Burning Man. 2011 attendance was capped at 50,000 participants and the event sold out on July 24. In April 2011, Larry Harvey announced that the organization had begun the process of transitioning management of the festival over to a new non-profit organization called the "Burning Man Project".
So what this excerpt doesn't tell you is that it's a massive community effort on the part of the people there to leave no visible footprint. That means what came in goes out. And with 50,000 people in attendance that's no small feat. It's really interesting.
Of course ultimately it's all about experience at burning man. Partying, drinking. drugs. music and art all collide in a sort of hippy spirited free living environment where social norms are challenged as free thinking takes it's summer holiday.
The event is divided into groupings called camps. Each camp has a theme and a proposed purpose. Some self involved and other open and public. There are whole camps which are focused on music, dance, and even food. One of the most interesting was one I heard about that offered showers. And then there's one that just makes bacon all day and night. Hello Bacon! I would have been there all the time. I know my burner friends are cringing.
So what does this have to do with Kale Salad. Well let me tell you. Nothing really except as a segue into talking a little about the Hippy movement of the 1960's.
Years ago when California became a hotbed of the so called Hippy Movement, it also became the home for the first serious vegetarian food movement in this country. Why, well because one of the outgrowths of this culture was an awareness of nature and naturalism as it applies to life, including what and how one eats. This led to the growth of the vegan raw and vegetarian food culture in the west and this went on to inspire California chefs in their first looks at a farm to table cooking mentality. Isn't connectivity an interesting thing.
One of the hallmarks of the early California raw, vegan, and vegetarian food trends was a heightened awareness of produce and sourcing fresh foods. Another was also the further development of the salad as a meal concept.
Of course California had led the way in pretty inventing the "Salad Meal" with the introduction of such dishes as the Cobb Salad ( introduced in LA. at the very famous Brown Derby restaurant) or the Crab Louis Salad ( which was introduced much earlier in San Francisco). Or the Caesar Salad which came out of prohibition era Tijauna Mexico, where wealthy Californians would go to escape the liquor laws.
Further in the 1950's and 60's Sunset magazine introduced the US readers to a variety of Salad meals like these. Some of which, like the Taco Salad, are so common today one would never think that it was not a known quantity everywhere in the US. all the time.
Another hallmark of the Hippy driven vegetarian food movement was a moving away from animal fat based sauces and dressings. As a result there are interesting and delicious ingredients that when used together make for very nice results. As with everything this movement moved into main stream culture in California and helped to shape California cuisine.
One such dressing that has become as famous over time as ranch dressing, especially on the west coast is something called "Goddess" dressing. The name comes from another dressing very popular in the 1960's "Green Goddess" which is rich in dairy and not vegan. So goddess dressing was the vegan version of this using tahini (sesame paste) as the base and incorporating other flavors to make a rich creamy satisfying dressing without the dairy.
As I continue to experiment with Kale Salads I have made my own version of this dressing. It's so good you can put it on anything. Annie's all natural products and Trader Joe's make a version of this that is really good but making it at home makes it a little better I think.
And I put together a Kale salad recipe that I think is as good as any Californian Vegan Hippy Dippy Chef would make. Maybe even a little better....but that's for you to decide. Enjoy Ya'll.
California Style Kale Salad with "Goddess" Dressing
1 bag of kale stems removed or 1 bunch kale stems removed both options cut into small pieces or ribbons
2 small carrots shredded
4 radishes sliced thinly
2 tablespoon sesame seeds white/black mixed
10 oz baby bella mushrooms quartered and lightly sauteed and cooled and drained
1/2 medium red onion finely diced
1 bunch mint leaves finely chopped
1 bunch parsley finally chopped
2 green onions diced on a bias
1/4 cup crushed parmesan croutons or toasts ( optional leave out if you want this salad gluten free)
Mix all ingredients except sesame seeds and green onion pieces in a big salad bowl and toss generously with "goddess" dressing, garnish the top with the sesame seeds and the green onions.
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Tahini paste (plain)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 whole green onions chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (if you have it)
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons dried parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
water as needed to thin out if desired
Place everything in a food processor and blend till smooth
Will keep covered for up to two weeks in the fridge