When I moved to LA in the late ’90s, I was pretty sure of two things. First, that I was going to love graduate school. And second, that I–born and raised in Northern California–would hate living in LA. But life has that funny way of playing tricks on you sometimes, and of course the opposite was true.
About LA: I liked the 72 and sunny, of course, and I liked riding my bike to the beach and the farmers market. I liked breakfasts on Venice Beach and the late-night city scene and did I mention the 72 and sunny? But what I loved most about living in LA was my roommate.
Having a good friend means a lot in a new place, and I lucked out when I connected with my roommate through the school’s matching system. She picked me, she later said, because I said I wanted to find an apartment with a balcony so I could have an herb garden. Ours flourished in the three years we lived together, and I was so sad to say goodbye to her when I left my roommate and that apartment to move to Seattle.
But life has that funny way of playing tricks on you sometimes, and now she lives in Seattle too. We went shopping for seeds and starts this spring for our respective gardens, and when we had lunch last week she brought me a gorgeous bag of newly-picked kale from her back yard. Old friends, tender new greens, both so nice to have around.
A kale salad was in order, of course. Some creamy avocado, some toasted almonds for crunch. I gave that fermented black garlic one last chance and blended it into a vinaigrette. Last time I baked it and I thought maybe I had destroyed its magic properties with the heat–but no, its flavor simply isn’t that dramatic. So you can save yourself $3.50 and substitute half a head of roasted garlic for the black garlic if you prefer.Kale and Avocado Salad with Black Garlic Vinaigrette: First, make your dressing by blending the following until smooth: 1/2 head black garlic (or substitute 1/2 head roasted garlic or 1 regular garlic clove), 2 Tb. rice vinegar, 2 Tb. olive oil, 1 Tb. chopped parsley, and salt and pepper. Tear a bunch of kale into bite-sized pieces. Dress and toss well, then divide between bowls. Top each bowl with some diced avocado and a handful of crunchy toasted sliced almonds.