Posts Tagged ‘kale’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Kale, Yeah!

April 26, 2016
Our famous kale salad, with mint, edamame, chickpeas, tomatoes and dried cranberries in a lemon herb dressing.

Our famous kale salad, with mint, edamame, chickpeas, tomatoes and dried cranberries in a lemon herb dressing.

Over the past few years, kale has become a mainstay in our diets. We eat it in salads and smoothies, sauteed, steamed and raw; even massaged.

Kale is a hearty green, and can be a little tough if it isn’t prepared properly. I prefer to remove the thick, center spine of the kale and concentrate on the more tender leaves. Some say I am giving up some nutrients by removing the tough center stem, but frankly, if it isn’t enjoyable to eat, people will opt out of eating it all.

The first time I made a kale salad for a huge crowd, a friend came over and spent hours taking the stems off, shredding and washing the kale. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated, and vowed not to make the dish again for more than a few people.
As experience often goes, I have learned some tricks to streamline this process and prepare it expediently for a crowd.

How to de-stem kale:

Hold the kale by the thick stalk, and slide your fingers down, quickly removing the leaves. Tear them more if necessary, and toss them into a salad spinner or colander to be washed. If it is a large quantity, I lay the freshly washed greens out on a thick beach towel on the table to absorb the excess water that the salad spinner missed.

Kale is one of the few greens that can handle being dressed in advance without wilting. You can toss the salad prior to serving and let dressing soften the greens.
Some people opt for massaging their raw kale. You can do this with the actual dressing if it is a lemon or vinaigrette type, or with just olive oil and salt. Sprinkle the dressing or oil over the washed and dried greens in a salad bowl, and use your clean hands to rub it into the leaves. This softens them, distributes the dressing, and takes a little of the bitterness away.

You can also de-stem the kale before cooking it, or using it in a smoothie.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Shrimp with Beans and Kale

March 23, 2015

I am always looking for something new to do with shrimp, especially something that doesn’t involve them being served over rice or pasta. I stumbled upon a recipe a few weeks ago, and apparently, how I remembered it and what it actually was were not quite the same. I guess that’s what makes an unrecipe work so well. It is a combination of delicous flavors that are prepared to one’s liking, rather than measuring out specifics.

This base is a wonderful vegetarian dish on its own. The cannelini beans give it some heft and are a great plant based protein. The garlic and onions add lots of flavor and the kale is healthy addition adding color, taste and lots of vitamins!

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Shrimp with Beans, Kale and Tomatoes:

Saute a small diced onion and a couple of diced garlic cloves in olive oil until translucent. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch or so of red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like your food. Add some diced tomatoes and cook until the sauce starts to thicken a little. You can use fresh or boxed tomatoes.( We used a box of Pomi diced tomatoes.) Add strips of kale and a box or can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, or other white beans. Simmer until the kale softens and the beans are fully heated through. Adjust the seasonings and sprinkle with a big handful of fresh, chopped basil.

In the meantime, shell and devien about a pound of shrimp. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan until very hot. Cook the shrimp until slightly browned and opaque. This should only take a minute or two on each side.

To serve, spoon the bean mixture into bowls, and place the sauteed shrimp on top, and enjoy!

 

photo: indigojonesnyc instagram

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Turning a New Leaf

January 21, 2015

This year, kale has been touted as a superfood that is nutritionally superior to all others. It’s popularity has reached a fever pitch, to the point that it’s trendiness is starting to wear on us.

kale

kale

For those of your kale obsessed foodies, we have some big news.

The Center for Disease Control just released a ranking of 47 fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional value. The CDC took into consideration the amount of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins.

I’m sorry to tell you that kale ranked 15th on the list. I know you’re devastated. But, alas, there are even healthier greens to explore. It’s ok. You might find one you like better, and you can start a new trend of your own.

watercress

watercress

Watercress took the #1 spot, with Chinese cabbage, chard, and beet greens coming in next. Spinach ranked #5 followed by chicory, leaf lettuce and parsley. Romaine lettuce is 9th and the #10 spot goes to collard greens. With leafy greens taking the top 16 spots, it seems you can’t go wrong if you go green.
Of the foods tested, 41 of the 47 were classified as “powerhouses”, which are strongly associated with reducing chronic disease.

chard

chard

Those that did not make the list are garlic, onion, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and tangerines. While still healthy choices, they failed to meet the team’s criteria for classification as a powerhouse fruit or vegetable.

See the complete report here.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Is Kale the Holy Grail?

October 23, 2014

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For the past few years, kale has been touted as THE superfood to eat. It’s not the easiest green to consume. It can be tough, and even when cooked, I prefer to remove the center rib and cut it into smaller pieces to help tenderize it. Many people actually massage it when serving it in a salad to soften it up, and let the salad dressing soak in to allow it to wilt a bit. When used in smoothies, it takes a powerful blender to chew through raw kale to avoid those pesky leaves getting caught in your teeth.

That said, I do enjoy kale and have been eating it sautéed for much longer than fashionable. When something comes out of the woodwork and becomes such a health food fad, I always question it’s validity. ( Hello gluten free for all mankind!)

I set out to do a little research on just how king kale stacks up against the other less lauded greens.

The facts: Kale has 33 calories per cup, and contains 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protien. It has 9% of the recommended daily requirement for calcium, and 6% of required iron. Here is where the rubber meets the road: kale has 134% of the recommended daily dosage of vitamin C and 206% of vitamin A. Pretty impressive stats, right?

Well, some of the others hold their own against the king, with spinach, collard greens and swiss chard being worthy opponents in the nutritional competition.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 5.38.19 PM

 

*  via SELF nutritional data

The verdict? While kale does in fact remain the leader of the pack, adding dark leafy greens into your diet is a clear win, regardless of the type.

Editor’s note: In researching this post, it’s important to note that the serving size for each green is not generally consistent. Recommended servings of spinach are almost double that of kale, making the differentials closer. Several sites stated different facts, but did not have the nutritional data for all four vegetables. This data, from Self Nutritional Data, stated serving sizes equally, while others did not, therefore making it the best comparison for this purpose.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kohlrabi

January 9, 2014

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It’s hard to walk into a restaurant these days, and not find some type of kale on the menu. Over the last few years, it has become one of the trendiest foods on the planet, and one of the best for you.  Chefs are serving it up raw in salads, sauteed as a side dish, shredded in soups, and macerated into juices and smoothies. Sometimes it’s treated better than you are, and massaged to make the sturdy leaves more tender.

Well,move over kale, there’s a new kid in town: kohlrabi.

Food experts are predicting that this ugly root, not commonly found in American cuisine, will be the next big vegetable to hit the food scene.

The bulb, which comes in stylish shades of purple or pale green, sprouts stalks and leaves. Although the entire plant  is edible, it’s the crunchy bulb with a slightly sweet yet tangy flavor similar to a radish, that gets the most attention.

Kin to the more popular broccoli and cauliflower, kohlrabi was just that that perplexing root found in CSA boxes that people were not sure what to do with.

In Asia, it’s often pickled, and in other areas, it is grated into pancakes and fritters. Chefs on this side of the world are experimenting with it, due to it’s unusual flavor, and high nutritional content. At just 36 calories per cup, this  high fiber, potassium and vitamin C rich vegetable is worth looking into.

Peel away both the hard outer skin and the underlying fibrous skin, to reveal the crisp flesh.

Cut it into sticks and bake them into healthy “fries.”

Julienne the bulb, and use it as you would raw cabbage to create “kohl-slaw.”

Puree it as you would mashed potatoes, or slice it and bake it au gratin.

Use it in soups, or fry it into pancakes. The options are vast.

Have you tried kohlrabi yet? Share your recipes in the comments below!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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CSA Tuesday

November 13, 2012

Today is CSA Tuesday, and our selection is a bit Thanksgiving- esque in nature.

We got sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions, thyme, turnips and several bunches of kale. We also got more radishes, to add to the 2 bunches that we didn’t eat last week.

Turnips look like big radishes, but have a much different flavor!

Potatoes and onions in various shades of reds and browns.  Perhaps I will roast them with the turnips and some herbs for a comforting winter dish.

Fresh herbs never seem to last very long, so I think I will try this trick I posted a while ago, for frozen herb butter:

https://indigo-jones.com/2012/07/18/herbal-essence/

I will to roast the radishes, for an another interesting side dish, as previously posted last summer:

https://indigo-jones.com/2012/07/02/unrecipe-of-the-week-47/

I’m off to saute some kale for dinner…that should pretty much take care of this week’s inventory!

CSA Tuesday

October 17, 2012

After last week’s bitter greens extravaganza, it was nice to see a more balanced assortment of produce from my CSA.

We got 2 butternut squash, an eggplant, a carnival squash, arugula, celery, radishes and collard greens.

There is easily the makings of a salad for the uncreative nights, and perhaps some butternut squash ravioli if the weekend is not too crazy.

I have been taking whatever is leftover at the end of the week and making “CSA Soup.” So far, they have been interesting, filling and very low calorie.

CSA Soup:

Dice a small onion and saute it in a little olive oil. Add chopped up “whatever is left” and add it to the pot. Add enough broth ( chicken or vegetable) to the pot to fully cover the vegetables.  Cover the pot and allow it to simmer until the vegetables soften. Puree the soup until it is smooth. Season according to taste.

I have used roasted butternut squash and kale, and spinach and  tat soi so far. You really can’t go wrong.

I have frozen the soup in individual containers, and taken them out for an easy, nourishing lunch.

Enjoy!

Risotto Cakes

October 6, 2012

The butternut squash and kale risotto was delicious, but we had leftovers. Risotto doesn’t reheat well. The creamy consistency goes to somewhat “gluey” pretty easily. It does however transform beautifully into risotto cakes, which gave them a new life.

Melt  butter in a frying pan. Add cold risotto formed into patties to the pan, and fry on both sides until golden brown and heated through. Enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week: Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale

October 5, 2012

During the week, I tend to make the same old things for dinner; salmon, shrimp, and an occasional roasted chicken from Whole Foods.  It’s fast and nutritious, but a bit dull at times.

The CSA box is pushing me outside my comfort zone, and challenging me to use what is at hand to whip up dinner.

Tonight, I used the butternut squash and kale, in a rich risotto with seared scallops on top. It was comfort food at its best. Delicious, but simple enough to allow the flavors of the farm fresh ingredients to shine.

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale:

Halve the squash and rub it with a little olive oil. Roast it in a hot oven for about 45 minutes, until it is soft.

Scoop out and discard the seeds, and skin, and cut the squash into small cubes. * I only used ½ of the squash. Wrap the other half up for another use.

In a large pot, sauté one small diced onion in a little olive oil and butter. Add 1 or 2 cups of Arborio rice (depending on portion size) and stir until the rice is about to brown.

Add 1cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock and white wine to the pot, and stir until it is absorbed. Keep doing this for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender, and almost porridge-like. It is not necessary to stir it every minute, but be careful that the liquid does not cook out while it is unattended. Stirring also helps get the desired creamy consistency.

Stir in some grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

While the rice is cooking, wash a couple of handfuls of the kale and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Sauté it in a bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper for a couple of minutes until it starts to wilt. Set aside.

Gently mix the squash and the kale into the rice mixture. Serve in bowls and enjoy!

Seared scallops optional.

CSA Tuesday

October 3, 2012

It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time to pick up our farm selection from the CSA. Today’s assortment is more balanced than it has been:

There is a huge butternut squash, a head of lettuce, some young broccoli rabe without any florets ( the jury is out on that one until it’s cooked),red potatoes, a beautiful bouquet of kale, some rosemary and a bunch of celery.

I am thinking about a simple vegetarian dinner tonight, especially if it prevents me from having to go back out in the rain again!

Any great ideas out there?


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