I get quite a bit of email concerning food. What new cookbooks to look for, what are the latest trends in cookware and ingredients.
This past week, I received an email expounding the merits of kale from a group of growers wanting to make today (Oct. 2) National Kale Day.
While neither promoting or outright dismissing the idea, I do admit that I enjoy a bit of the crisp green on occasion ... and since I need something to write about. ...
Did you know that kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and rich in calcium and contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties? And that kale contains a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants that have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat?*
In recipes, you can use fresh, raw minced kale as a substitute for parsley in tabbouleh, or, when making pesto, substitute half of the amount of basil called for with kale. Blend kale with apples, kiwi or bananas to make juices and smoothies. Finely chop (mince) kale and whisk with eggs for a breakfast of scrambled green eggs (served with ham, of course!)
For use in a salad, massage a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt into fresh kale leaves and refrigerate for a few of hours. By lunchtime, the kale is softer but not wilted like lettuce would be and can be topped with any vegetable combination you like (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, slivers of parmesan cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette OR dry-roasted peanuts, almonds and red pepper flakes with an Asian-style dressing).
Of course, you can always braise kale, along with mustard greens and collards and turnips for a big ol’ mess of greens.
I actually enjoy kale chips. Chop up some kale leaves, toss with some olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt and ground black pepper (fresh minced garlic and/or red pepper flakes are optional) and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Talk about addictive!
Keep an eye on the chips, they can easily burn in the blink of an eye.
Enjoy these recipes and check out nationalkaleday.org
Caramelized Onions and Appes with Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, skin on, cored, cubed
6 cups thinly sliced kale
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, apple and salt. Cook one minute, stirring often. Add honey and lower the heat to low and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onions and apples are golden. Add the kale. Cover and cook 2 minutes, until kale is soft.
Chef Jennifer Iserloh, nationalkaleday.org
Kale and White Bean Soup
Makes 6 servings
1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini or navy
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 quarts water
1 (3-by2-inch) piece Parigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
(optional) 1 lb sausage such as kielbasa, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart of water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes.
While soup is simmering, brown sausages (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage and remaining quart of water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, intil kale is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.