Seasonal fare, farm-to-table dining, local ingredients, and community-supported agriculture. These are all terms that, although so commonplace in my vocabulary today, did not hold much meaning to me just a few short years ago. Of course, I had been to farmer's markets, and even grew up visiting our family farm on the weekends to pick vegetables and milk the cows... so I'm not saying that these concepts were foreign to me in general. But in the past few years I have been so anxious to know more; more about where my food comes from, how to obtain it in a way that is better for the environment, and what ingredients I can combine to feed my body something wholesome and good. It's a choice I make daily (at every meal, actually), and while I am far from perfect... I simply strive to make an effort and to be better.
While Charlotte is certainly not New York or California, where restaurants like Chez Panisse abound, it has taught me a lot about the local food movement. One of my favorite places to eat in the city is Harvest Moon Grille - Ryan and I stumbled across this little gem shortly after they opened, and it's a place I recommend to locals and visitors every chance I get. All of their food is sourced from within 100 miles of the city, and the local, seasonal dishes they serve are out. of. this. world. They even have sweet potato doughnuts sometimes :)
During our most recent trip for brunch at HMG, while everything was delicious as usual, what really stuck with me throughout the meal, and afterwards, was how perfect the side dish was. It was a kale and cabbage slaw, and had all the flavors and textures I was craving - tangy, crunchy, and just a little bit sweet. I kept it in mind when I made my own version at home, and the result was just as good as I remember.
Kale Slaw with Poppy Seed-Yogurt Dressing
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and discarded, leaves torn into small pieces
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar and sugar. Add the yogurt and poppy seeds, and whisk to combine. Toss the kale, cabbage, apple, and onion with the dressing. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss, and taste, adding more if needed. Serve immediately, or, if you have time, let sit in the fridge for an hour or two. The flavor only gets better!
Serves 6-8 as a hearty side.