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Nora Hay, age 9, teaches us to make her favorite fall dish

Nora with the finished product.
Elspeth Hay
Nora with the finished product.

Tonight we're making Tuscan kale salad. It’s my daughter Nora's favorite.

"I think it was my grandma’s recipe, but then I had it and I really liked it, so my mom started making it, and now I know how to make it," she said.

Nora's going to walk us through the steps:

First, you start by getting the kale ready.

"So I’m taking all the kale off its stems. So when you eat the salad it doesn’t have a bunch of big stems in it, because these stems are pretty thick. And then I usually rinse the kale! It’s dirty," she explained.

Nora added that she also cleans it because when she picks kale from the garden it sometimes has bugs on it, like caterpillars, and she "hates eating those."

Nora gets the kale ready and then spins it to dry it. Then, it's time for the dressing.

The dressing has: "Garlic. Olive oil. Lemon. Salt. And that's pretty much it."

"Oops! And parmesan!"

Elspeth Hay

"So now what you do is you plug the magic bullet in, then first you put one lemon in and then I usually juice my lemon by hand but you can also get lemon juice at the store. Ugh, these lemons are hard to squeeze!"

"Ok, and after you squeeze the lemon juice, you put it in the Magic Bullet cup, or do you measure it first? No, you don’t have to measure it. But you do need to sift it if it has any seeds in it. I have a sifter and I pour it through, then I have my lemon juice. So next I think I’ll put in my olive oil."

Nora uses about a quarter cup of olive oil.

"Pouring olive oil is fun. And then after that, I usually put in either garlic, or garlic salt if I don’t have any fresh garlic. I need a big knife, I’m pressing it against the garlic so I think it’s to try to get the skins off, and then you need about like one clove of garlic, and you’ve gotta chop it up really fine if you’re not using garlic salt or garlic powder. But, I’m really good at chopping. Chop chop chop chop chop chop chop!"

She then puts the garlic in the processor and then the parmesan cheese.

"You want to grate a little extra than you need, and you need about a half a cup but I always do a little extra so you can sprinkle it on top of the salad. But one time I grated my finger, and that hurt."

"Ok, so I have about just the right amount and then I have a little extra, and then I put that half a cup into the Magic Bullet, Oh! Salt! I forgot salt, I do about two pinches of salt. Now it’s time to blend it up! Now you blend it. It should be like a weird yellow color once you get it. And now before I eat all of it, we have to put it on the salad. I’ll just lick this later…if you still have your extra cheese, which you should, sprinkle my cheese on top. Now, it’s ready."


Nora Hay's Tuscan Kale Salad

This is a favorite in our family. It's (at this point very loosely) based on a recipe from Melissa Clark that we found on the blog 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson.

1 large bunch kale

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

two pinches salt

a little more than 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Soak the kale for about a half hour in water if it's from the garden, then rinse and dry well. (Kale from the store or a local farm will probably just need a rinse). Pull the greens off the stems and tear into bite-size pieces. Put in a salad bowl and set aside. Then make the dressing by mixing the juice of the lemon with the olive oil, minced garlic, a few pinches of salt, and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Pour over the kale, toss well, and top with the extra grated Parmesan cheese. Devour!

An avid locavore, Elspeth lives in Wellfleet and writes a blog about food. Elspeth is constantly exploring the Cape, Islands, and South Coast and all our farmer's markets to find out what's good, what's growing and what to do with it. Her Local Food Report airs Thursdays at 8:30 on Morning Edition and 5:45pm on All Things Considered, as well as Saturday mornings at 9:30.