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.

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