Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All hail, kale!

Recently I have become obsessed with kale! It's incredibly healthy and delicious. In fact, 1 cup of cooked kale, or 2-3 cups of raw kale contains only 33 calories while also contributing an astounding 137% of the daily value of vitamin A, 100mg of Omega-3s (a big plus for non-meat eaters), and 3g of fiber! Kale comes in many varieties, most of which can be dated back over two-thousand years. Most kale recipes tend to focus on cooked preparations of kale, but I have recently discovered the tastiness of raw kale which is highlighted in the two recipes below. Enjoy!!

Dinosaur kale, also known as lacinato or black kale
Kale Caesar Salad - serves 4

2 bunches of dinosaur kale, also known as lacinato kale or black kale
2 cups of croutons, preferably homemade from day old bread (recipe below)
1/2 cup freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 lemons   
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 can of anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4, 1 inch thick slices of day old bread, torn into small pieces - I used olive bread, but you can use any kind you like.
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the torn bread with the olive oil and rosemary. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn the croutons halfway through to ensure even browning.

Grate the zest from the lemons. Cut both lemons in half. Place the garlic, anchovies and lemon zest in a small bowl or mortar if you have one. Press with a large spoon or pestle and pound to make a thick paste. Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a the juice from one and a half of the lemons. Add the vinegar. Whisk thoroughly to combine. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the olive oil. Whisk until smooth and creamy and slightly thickened. Taste the dressing and add more lemon juice to taste. You can make the dressing up to two days ahead of time.

Salad Assembly
In a large bowl, combine the kale and croutons. Pour dressing over the mixture and toss to coat. Add the cheese, toss again and serve.

Green kale, also known as curly kale
Massaged Kale 
This recipe was given to be by my co-worker, Amy. Since amounts are not specified, this recipe should be used as a guideline. The amounts of all ingredients can be altered to suit your own personal taste.
1 bunch of green kale, also known as curly kale
Sesame oil and salt, to taste
2 celery stalks, diced
2 large carrots, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated using a microplane
Agave nectar, to taste

2 tablespoons shallot, diced very small                                                                                         
Rice vinegar, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, I like to use Sierra Nevada Pale Ale mustard
Sesame seeds, toasted are preferred
Sesame oil


Rip or cut the kale off of its' thick stem and put that in compost (the thick stem part). Break or cut remaining kale into small pieces and set in a bowl. Drizzle the kale pieces with salt and oil and massage in small handfuls until well moistened. Squeeze out excess liquid and put in separate bowl. Add diced celery and shredded carrot and grated ginger. In a separate small bowl, make a dressing with shallot, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, and the mustard. Add sesame seeds. Pour the dressing over along with a drizzle of agave nectar and toss...mmmmmmmm.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kale, Mushroom, and Swiss Quiche

Are you often asking yourself 'what can I possibly make for dinner that is healthy, filling, contains whole grains and at least two servings of veggies?' Okay, so maybe that's not the exact question you ask, but you get the idea. Quiche is one of those amazing all-in-one meals that fits all of the above criteria, if done right. I made a delicious mushroom, kale, and swiss quiche for dinner a few nights back. I got a late start on making dinner and I was starving by the time it was ready, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but the recipe is below. If you stick with the crust and custard recipe I've provided, you can change up the filling anyway you like - just make sure you end up with at least 3-4 cups of filling (always lightly saute`ed) to put into the pie plate.

Pie Crust
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 cup stone ground, whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons of milk

Enough olive oil to coat the saute' pan
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 ounces low fat chicken sausage (I used whole foods pesto chicken sausage from the meat counter)
2/3 bunch dinosaur kale (the kind with the bumps on it), chopped small
8 oz brown mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tsp granulated onion powder, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

6 slices jarlsberg lite swiss cheese

3 large/jumbo eggs
1 1/4 cups skim milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine butter and flour in food processor and turn on machine until mixture is uniform throughout. While the machine is still running, add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time. You may need slightly more or less milk, depending on the humidity in your environment. Once mixture has come together, turn off food processor and remove. Hand form pie crust in an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.

3. Coat a large skillet with olive oil. Over medium heat, saute` garlic and chicken sausage for 5 minutes until sausage is about half way cooked. Add all other filling ingredients and saute` for 8-10 minutes until kale is wilted and veggies are tender. It is fine if the sausage is not fully cooked.

4. Layer cheese on top of crust in pie plate.

5. Pour warm filling over cheese.

6. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl.

7. Pour custard mixture over filling.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 37-42 minutes, until custard no longer jiggles when pie plate is bumped.

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 6 slices and serve!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 - The Year of Fresh!

 I have many resolutions for 2011:

1. Run more
2. Wake up earlier (I am embarrassed to put the average time I woke up during 2010 in writing, but let's just say the roosters were up way before I even considered rolling my lazy butt out of bed)
3. Finish my MPH degree
4. Go to Europe!

While all of these are great, my number one resolution is to make healthy, fresh foods every day! Take a look at what I have in mind...

The beginnings of a fresh, raspberry lemon tart
Sweet potato and broccoli salad

Nectarine pie - vegan!   

Green salsa with fresh avocado and cilantro!

2010 - The Classics

The year 2010 was one of both tasty meals and infrequent blog posts. Take a look at some of the yummy dishes Tristan and I threw together. It is my hope that 2011 will be filled with overwhelmingly delicious and numerous gastronomic experiences...any many more blog posts. Stay tuned!!
Cheese Lasagna with Broccoli

Goat Cheese and Tomato Crostini with Balsamic Reduction

Vanilla Cake with Fresh Strawberry Mousse

Baked Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli

Cranberry, Apple, and Brie Sammie

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sammie with Citrus Mango Slaw