For quite some time now, I have been meaning to write about my experiences at Upper Valley Aquatic Center, in particular my work with Katherine Tremblay. I joined UVAC shortly after it opened to swim. While I knew the facility had a lot more to offer beyond the pool, I was at a point in my life when I was tired of going to gyms and attending fitness classes. An aerobics class fanatic in the 80’s (what can I say…we all were doing it after seeing Flashdance), I craved the quiet and meditative aspects of swimming laps on my own. But, things had to change when I was diagnosed with osteoporosis last fall and my physician recommended I add more weight-bearing exercise to my exercise routine. I decided it was finally time to use my free training session and I met with Katherine.
Katherine is unlike any fitness instructor I have known. Don’t get me wrong. I have met and worked with many wonderful and talented people over the years. What is unique about Katherine is the dynamic combination of expertise and optimism she brings to her work. She’s a spitfire. She’s grounded. She’s taught me to believe in my own strength and to take the fear out of trying new things. She and I worked one-on-one for 4 months, then I ‘graduated’ to taking her fitness classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. They are hard. They are challenging. They are fun. They are full of camaraderie and laughter. Invariably, I leave her classes a better person than when I walk in and I bring her enthusiasm with me throughout my day.
Katherine and I also share a love of cooking and eating well. We often exchange recipes and new ideas on ways to prepare healthful meals. This recipe for Winter Greens Salad with Tahini and Lime Dressing is one I know Katherine would love. Rich and nutritious kale leaves are massaged with a dressing of tahini and lime then tossed with dried fruits and honey roasted peanuts. The salad is delicious on its own, but can be made a part of a full meal when served with a hot soup such as Spicy Sweet Potato Soup and Pinto Bean Soup with Parsnips and Beef. You can find these and other seasonal recipes on on my blog,
Winter Greens Salad with Kale Tahini and Lime from Gathering Flavors
Servings: 4 to 6
For the dressing:
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup rice wine vinegar or Chinese rice wine
juice of one whole lime
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
1 large bunch winter greens, such as kale, swiss chard or spinach
1 cup slivered dried fruits, such as apricots, dates and golden raisins
¼ cup honey roasted peanuts
Make the dressing by putting all the ingredients in a small jar. Place the lid on tightly. Shake
until all the ingredients are combined.
To make the salad, tear the leaves of the greens off their stems. Rinse to remove any excess dirt. Shake off excess water but do not dry completely. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. (You should have about 4 cups of greens.)
Pour about half of the tahini dressing onto the greens. Using your hands, massage the
dressing into the leaves so they are fully coated. Cover the bowl and allow to sit for at least
one hour. This will give the dressing time to soak into the leaves and tenderize them.
Place the slivered dried fruit and honey roasted peanuts on top of the dressed greens. Toss
everything to combine. Taste. Add more dressing, salt and freshly ground black pepper, as
1. This is a basic recipe for this salad. The key ingredients are the winter greens and tahini
dressing. The possibilities for additions to this salad are endless. Here are some ideas.
(Quantities will vary depending on how hearty a salad you would like to prepare. In general,
about ½ cup additions per person is a good rule of thumb):
* A chopped apple, walnuts and raisins
* Slivers of roasted chicken, cashews and dried cranberries
* Grated cheddar cheese, dried apples and slivered almonds
* Bean sprouts, chunks of firm tofu and sesame seeds
* Roasted root vegetables cut into bite sized pieces
* Croutons, shaved Parmesan, a bit of lemon or lime zest
2. Tahini is a sauce made primarily of pureed sesame seeds. It can be found in most grocery stores in the foreign food sections or near other nut butters. You can substitute a creamy peanut butter in the dressing, if you like.
3. Any extra dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Bring it to room
temperature before using and shake to combine ingredients, if separated. If the dressing
becomes two thick, add a drop or two of water to loosen it up.
Dena Testa Bray may be reached by email at [email protected]