Monday, January 30, 2012

Good bye Kale Recipe



Good-Bye Kale Recipe

For a meal we served to guests the other night, I thought that a good send off to our friend would be ease off of the all kale diet by using up the scraps of kale left over from dinners gone by. So I took some beans we got from our grain share, pinto's and cooked them with a bit of olive oil, some left over stock from beets, water and bay leaf. When the beans were nice and soft, I added some ribbons of crispy kale to give it some color and veggie-ness. The marriage of kale and legume was complete in this simple and surprising delicious dish. A legume is basically, a round dried thing that is good for you, not much different than an leafy thing that is good for you together to make for a satisfying meal. Other legumes are clover, lentils, peanuts.

Good-Bye Kale Recipe
Beans with Good-Bye Kale Month kale.

1 half bunch left over kale from Kale Month
2 cups pinto beans
Olive Oil
1-large onion, sliced medium thin

Soak beans over night. Drain, cook until tender with good amounts of olive oil and salt. IF YOU HAVE IT, add a parmesan rind and some fresh herbs. About 45 minutes. Saute onion in oil. De-rib, roll and slice kale into ribbons. Add to onion and cook until crispy. Remove from heat and stir into beans. Add olive oil, salt and pepper with a dash of vinegar or wine, if desired.

This is the last of the kale recipes. February is chicken month, including eggs. Stay tuned!

Recipe: Restaurant Kale Part 2 - Deconstructed Kale


Kale, De-constructed

I love restaurant week in New York because the portions are so small. You go, the place is great, the food famous, the reservation, hard to get. Then you eat and the food is so scant, in such small amounts, that you have to focus on every bite.

That was my experience a couple of weeks ago in at Promenade des Angeleis, on 23rd and 10th. We got there, had to take a cab, rain, and so on. Inside it is early still, only 7:30 and the place is dead. Then our friends show up and speculations are made, newspaper articles referred to and so eventually the food comes, we get soup and a terrine and a fish dish with tiny anchovies and from the regular menu, brandade on crostini...the rest I don't remember but I do remember the kale and during restaurant week, kale is the one dish you get a decent portion of.

Before deconstructing the kale salad, I become painfully aware of the waitstaff. When we are served our first course and then our main course, all of these waiters converge on us at once. It must have something to do with the way they run the place. It seems as if the entire staff has staged an intervention of food and each us is served, by a separate person, simultaneously. It is like we are a car and they are the pit crew. Or we are a foodie mosh pit.

This particular kale dish was ripped leaves, massaged in oil with strips of good prosciutto, the thinnest slice of button mushroom, really not even worth mentioning or even including in the dish but then shaving of parmesean, quite an outstanding delicious bit of parm, and all in a vinaigrette along with unnecessary pomegranate seeds. It was the best kale salad I have ever had and I must say it is because of the quality of the prosciutto, olive oil and cheese -- mushroom, pomegranate seeds notwithstanding. 

Such is restaurant week. Regular people go to expensive restaurants where they get a little window of luxury. Kale really shines in this context where trend and abundance meet in a perfect storm. Kale is cheap. It grows in snow. No one yet has the nerve or has figured out how to make kale expensive so it is one dish at restaurant week that you get a lot of.

Recipe: Whole Foods Kale Kugel

Mushroom Noodle Kugel, courtesy of Whole Foods Market in Hadley 

This comes recommended by a friend, Sarah Kanabay at Whole Foods in Hadley. She refers to kale as the 'poster child leafy green' which probably is why we love it so. 

This recipe for a dish called Kale and Mushroom Noodle Kugel is as comforting as comfort food can get. I think that I might agree with one individual who commented about the dish that the substitution of ricotta for cottage cheese is a good one. As one individual commented on the store's website, ricotta might suffice rather than cottage cheese, to which I agree. 

ALL of these ingredients can be local. If you are a real purist, egg noodles and the ricotta itself can be made at home with local ingredients. I have not yet tried this but will do so once I can figure out how to make noodles. This recipe features quite a few Whole Foods ingredients which can be substituted, of course. Where is the fun in cooking if you don't get to substitute?

Serves 8

This hearty dish features mushrooms, kale and egg noodles, bound with cottage cheese and sour cream for richness. Use a variety of mushrooms in place of the button mushrooms, if you like.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons 365 Everyday Value Unsalted Butter, plus more for buttering
1 (16-ounce) package 365 Everyday Value Wide Enriched Egg Noodles
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 lb white/button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup 365 Everyday Value Organic Low Fat Sour Cream

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch dish; set aside. Cook noodles in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse and drain again; transfer to a large bowl. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until mushrooms are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes; add thyme. Add to noodles, toss and set aside. Whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream and remaining salt. Fold into noodles. Transfer to prepared dish, press down gently, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Serve warm or room temperature.

Nutrition

Per serving: 360 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 170mg cholesterol, 520mg sodium, 52g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 19g protein
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3112

Whole Foods Note to Avoid Lawsuit: We've provided special diet and nutritional information for educational purposes. But remember — we're cooks, not doctors! You should follow the advice of your health-care provider. And since product formulations change, check product labels for the most recent ingredient information. See our Terms of Service.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GREEN STREET CAFE RIP

Last Saturday night, Green Street Cafe's final supper, the place was hopping. Food, fireplace and jazz were in full swing and although by 7:30 they were out of pirogi in brown butter and lamb meatballs with hand made noodles. But what they had left was better than anything else you can get in town.

GSC owners Jim and John never stinted on quality, never compromised which was why the food was honestly good, why they had their fans, why they were so intense. John and Jim made the soup Nazi look like a neophyte.

For the 20 or so years Jim and John were in business, they insisted, in their way, on perfection from their wait staff, the best food that they could afford and at times could not afford and in summer grew their own produce for the restaurant. There was a grill outside on Fridays featuring lamb burgers, in summer, along with Jim's heirloom tomatoes.

Winter featured a lovely menu including the weird yet delicious duck leg cooked in the fireplace and mussels, cooked in a mustard wine sauce and served with bread.

Always in season was the ongoing battle with next door neighbor, Smith College. Smith was the landlord and has been trying to throw them out for years. Basically they wanted the place back. It didn't fit in with their expansion plans and Jim and John went down swinging. Little details like the wrecked cars in the parking lot that abutted Smith's engineering school (see photo above taken by Paul Shoul) was the latest Green Street's latest retaliation against their oppressors.

Now John and Jim are moving on. "We're doing a CSA," says John. "I want to sell 1000 shares!" he adds, just to throw down yet another gauntlet. But they were good to their staff and to some regulars who called the place home for a while.  Family dinner, a restaurant tradition of feeding the staff before diners show up, was always on the table. This can't be said for most other restaurants. It is pretty old school and requires management that cares and treats the staff like family. Of course, family takes many forms.

In the middle of service on Saturday, the band called Jim over to sing. The place fell silent when he raced down the stairs. Sidling through the crowd to grab the microphone Jim fixed a withering gaze on his guests. "This is dedicated to the staff," he said and began to sing, "You Make Me Feel So Young."

Goodbye John and Jim. You gave more than what you got.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Recipe: Kale Chips



Kale Chips:

Who needs defense when you have Tom Brady and Kale Chips?

•    1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    Sea salt and pepper, for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Toss in large bowl with salt and pepper. Lay pieces of kale out on baking sheets, dark green side up. Bake until crisp in top half of oven for approximately 25 minutes. Have a look at them every 8 minutes to ensure even baking. Serve while warm, immediately, in a large bowl. Pair with beer. If somebody looks up and says, “Hey, these chips are black!” pass the dip. (Yogurt and lemon with white pepper works well.)

For a more formal presentation, kale makes an elegant entry in its long leafy shape. Just remove stems with scissors and skip the step of cutting the kale leaves. Cooking directions remain the same. Long kale chips can be served in various vessels such as pewter beer steins and other football game ephemera. Pair with a nice Pinot Noir. If somebody says, “Hey, who brought the lawn clippings?” squirt some organic lemon on the chips.

Either way, kale chips are an effective transportation device for salt, like popcorn. But that's cool. They're so healthy, it is impossible to eat too many! Go Pats!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recipe: Don't Try This At Home Kale

  
Think you have mastered kale? Think again. When somebody says, 'kale chips' (#1000 out of 1000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) can also be a snack food,' you have to try 'em.

So I tried. I tasted kale chips two years ago in Hartford. A restaurant owner passed them out. Delicious black squares salty and with a bit of something else, not sure what. I learned that her kale chips were dehydrated. Don't have one of those machines so moved on in the research.

Discussing kale with some kids in Great Barrington, a woman named Sharon said she loved kale chips and made them all the time.  She baked them in the oven, real hot, oil and salt. Easy!

She said the secret to kale is to make sure it is very, very dry before cooking. "So I leave all of the cut leaves on the table to dry overnight. Then my partner comes home and she says, "Is this an art project?" 

Further investigation revealed several recipes, all of which involved drying before baking. The dehydration method, I ruled out since I don't have one of those machines. Being a locavore, I try to keep the grid to a minimum.

Anyway, I remember the business about drying and take a couple of recipes and put them together. I follow the first steps, all recipes specify cleaning, cutting away the stems and drying.  After drying, baking instructions ranged from 250 to 350, depending on the recipe. I wash the kale and decide to stick the leaves in the oven, very low, to DRY them right away rather than having to leave them out on the table over night. Seems like a quick way to do the overnight method. But it was a one-way ticket to Pompeii. When I took out my sad little squares of kale, they were ashen, like burned notes lire, like an art project. They tasted of blackness.

In the end, we went out to dinner at Hope and Olive in Greenfield, where I knew kale would be on the menu. The place never disappoints, never forsakes our local bounty, no mater what the season. Way out in front of the food curve, Hope and Olive was first to feature mead, hard cider and grass-fed beef on its menu.

Last night, Hope and Olive's Kale Salad featured ribbons of kale. If you try to make this salad at home, massage the kale as described several posts ago, before adding the other stuff. In this case, the other stuff was white rice, sliced beets, the exotic red and white stripped kind, bits of squash, not sure what kind, roasted whole pecans maybe with a hint of sweetness and apple.

It should be noted for those who are trying to make the dish, is that the roots are cut into MATCHSTICKS. This is a step that must not be ignored because scale is important when it comes to mixing this much different food together. You don't want to let the kale ribbons get lost in great lumps of other produce.  How wonderful this salad is. An entire meal.

Can kale the super food also be kale, the super star of snack foods? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recipe: Restaurant Kale, Part 1


Bread Euphoira is my morning place, my second family, a source of friendship, coffee, sugar, advice on things. Things such as kale for example. 

Recent forays into the restaurant world investigate how this tough, obscure little plant is playing out in eating establishments across America. Perched on a ridge in the foot of the hilltowns in my little part of the country is a place run by a mad baker and his wife with a stalwart staff including Molly and Sean. Molly wants to learn to how to make kale. Has a friend who grew up on a commune, intentional living, works wonders with kale. Molly specializes in Mac and Cheese and aspires to Commune foods. 


For her, kale is an unattainable feat. We discuss kale for a couple mornings and she, in conversation, pauses for a brainstorm and says, “Oh, right here, he knows how to cook everything, ask him about kale!” Sean comes into the conversation, nods, and recites the following about kale. (It should be noted that he is tall and fair in complexion with dark hair and glasses perched almost a third of the way down on his nose. Molly is a sprite with a great black shock of straight bangs.)  

Sean says: “I always blanch it. You have to blanch it. After blanching it, no vinegar. Kale is too bitter already, do butter. I like butter.” He later adds that oil is OK but definately not vinegar. Sean talks restaurant talk. You will see what I mean by the recipe below. 

So I go home and try it and it works pretty well. Couple of weeks later I go back and discuss kale with Molly again. She blanches at the idea of blanching and I can’t say that I blame her. What is blanching anyway? Steep in boiling water. What is steep, how long is the boil, what kind of boil, what kind of pan? You can use any pan deep enough to take the kale with some water on top to ‘cover.’ Bring the water with some salt to a boil, put the kale in the pot until the it withers a bit, or is ‘shocked’ by the water. This will soften the kale but not overcook it making kale attainable, less elusive, for all mankind, not just those in The Commune.


RECIPE: Sean’s Kale


1-Bunch Kale
Butter (or oil)


Blanch kale until al dente (not too soft, with a bit of a bite)
Serve as a ‘hot side’ meaning warm, on the side, maybe tossed with butter and salt and pepper with whatever else you have like red pepper strips or pickled onions, hard boiled eggs, etc. 

NOTE: wash kale, remove stems and roughly chop before beginning this recipe -- MN

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipe: Street Kale

"Street Kale" otherwise known as urban decoration. Photographed on 22nd bet. 8th and 9th, NYC
Street Kale: It's what's for dinner....

This urban food, while similar to kale purchased by the man at stores and farmstands, is worthy occupation fare during times of strife. Preparation requires cutting off leaves at the stem with a leatherman knife or tie off with guitar strong then soak for 5 to ten minutes in water bath to remove traces of street urine. For quick consumption, de-rib, roll leaves into cigar shape, cut into little stubs and fry in skillet with ghee, oil for free butter pats found at the breakfast bar in extended stay hotels near Chinatown. If you have enough fuel but no fat or a good knife, de-rib with fingers and blanch kale leaves in boiling water for five to ten minutes. When ready, text friends #dinner.

Friday, January 6, 2012

RECIPE: Put Me In Coach Kale

Source: Recipe Box

Kale is a worthy substitute.

If kale could talk, "Put me in coach," would be its mantra.

Take a random recipe plucked from box unearthed in a basement or estate sale. The basics are there such as salt, fat, acid and with that in place, substitute away. Here, for example, a vintage Newspaper Recipe for Greek Tortellini Salad ("This potluck-size salad can be made several hours ahead.....") has the basic ingredients for a side dish that can sit for a bit under cover and for the ingredients potentially not in your larder, such as a package of plain or tricolored refrigerated cheese tortellini, feel free to substitute with kale.

In this case the other ingredients are peppers, onion, olives, vinegar, oil, mint, lemon juice, sherry, salt, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and feta cheese....more than enough action to make this dish work with kale as the star. Because of kale's star power due to flavor, nutrients, fridge endurance and winter availability, the dish can be made with far fewer ingredients.

A quick massage and ribboning of the kale (see below) with addition of onion, vinegar, oil, an herb you might have on hand, an alcohol you might have on hand (not beer) instead of the sherry, real garlic and some cheese (not swiss) as an option makes for a sustainable version of this Vintage Recipe Box recipe.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recipe: Massaged Kale


Mountain View Farm: house, barn, tractor, sky, summer '11

Recipe: Massaged Kale

To say that kale is healthy is like saying the earth is round. Kale is so healthy it is at the top of the list that ranks foods by evaluating a range of micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities. The ANDI score is formerly called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index and it ranges from produce to dairy with produce leading the pack with a score of 1000 for kale, according to documentation provided by Whole Foods. Carrots have a score of 336 and oats 53, trout 36 and swiss cheese 15, just sayin! By working olive into the nutrient packed fiber of this hearty, hearty, green, the leaves relax and luxuriate in a bath of garlic, lemon and salt. 

Give it a good rub, lots of payback. A massaged kale salad will keep in the fridge with dressing or up to three days.

Massaged Kale Salad

1 Head of Kale
1 T olive oil
honey, about ½ t
juice of one lemon
2 T chopped almonds
salt & pepper

Remove stems from kale with a sharp knife or scissors and roll individual leaves of kale into cigar shapes. Cut width-wise so the kale becomes like ribbons. Place kale ribbons in a bowl and massage olive oil into pieces. Toss with lemon, salt, garlic and add almonds if you like. Pepita seeds are also great with kale.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Recipe: Jack's Kale Crostini



 Recipe: Jack’s Kale Crostini

This kale on toast delight is from the recipe box of Jack Algiere of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture where the kale is in season, the extended season, that is. This seasonal farmers' market sells produce from Stone Barns' own hoop and green houses and meat from the farm's livestock. At Stone Barns Farm in upstate New York, farming is what farming would be like if millionaires built the place. The buildings are originally the dairy and hay barns that made up the Rockefeller estate. Food in situ, food at the market and food in the restaurant where menu features seasonal dishes in multiple courses, is worth a visit. Stone Barns is a non-profit farm and education center. The restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is located on the farm as well. Both are open to the public.

Kale Crostini - Jack Algiere, Stone Barns, NY

Ingredients

1 lb kale, deribbed
1 t salt, or to taste
¼ to a third C olive oil
¼ C grated Parmigiano cheese
1 lemon, juiced
½ t cumin
2 anchovies
1 handful of almonds or pine nuts

Procedure

1.     In a skillet, sauté kale in some of the olive oil, to darken.
2.     In a food processor, pulse the garlic, the remainder of your olive oil, anchovies and nuts.
3.     Add the sautéed kale to the food processor. Pulse a couple of times to roughly chop.
4.     Finally, add the salt, cumin and lemon juice. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Pulse until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.
5.     Slice your loaf of peasant bread or other crusty bread.
6.     Lightly toast the slices of bread in an oven, until golden brown.
7.     Spread the kale mixture on the bread and enjoy

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Recipe: Kale with Farro and Chicken Soup


kale with farro and chicken soup

Sick boyfriend, two days after Christmas, looking for something simple, easy to digest, healthy and without sugar or caramel! In fridge is a couple of chicken legs from our meat share (Chestnut Hill Farms) and on the top of all the cupboards are jars and jars and jars of grain, we just received from our grain share (Pioneer Valley Heritage Grains) so what else but a chicken soup with faro, an ancient grain that I don’t know how to make yet. Turns out the farro gets cleaned then toasted then cooked with 1.5 C water until water is absorbed. The rest of the dish is business as usual and after a day he was all better, the boyfriend, that is....local chicken and grain make all the difference.

1 C farro
2 chicken legs
1 onion
2 peeled parsnips
1T thyme dried
pepper grind 2-3
1 large clove garlic

2 C carrots, diced
2 onions, chopped roughly
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into thin strips
¼ C apple cider
1 C chopped carrots

Clean and brown faro and set aside. Make stock with chicken legs, onion, parsnips, thyme and pepper by bringing 2 quarts of water to a boil over the ingredients and reducing it to simmer for 45 minutes. When stock is finished, strain out liquid and set aside the meat. Return stock to pot and add carrots, parsnips and farro. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove chicken meat from bones and shred meat. Set aside. In large cast iron stock pot, sautee 2 onions with kale, cut very thin in 1 T olive oil. When browned, add apple cider. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add stock and pieces of chicken. Bring to boil, cook on low for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Serve warm in large bowls with crusty bread.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Recipe: Dino Kale Sunny Side Up

Dino Kale Sunny Side Up

Grab some kale out of the snow or off the shelf at the store or off a dusty table at your deep winter storage CSA. Cut it up into ribbons, discarding the ribs. If it is at all possible, get what is called "Dino" kale which is so named because of its wrinkled form. Dino kale is sweet. This recipe calls for a nest of fried kale with a fried egg on top. Take the ribbons of kale and drop them directly into a fry pan of almost,  but not quite smoking oil. Remove after around a minute. They will be almost, but not quite, brown, yet nice and crispy. Blot to remove oil using a cloth, not a paper towel....not the Shroud of Turin either....and salt lightly. Fry an egg and gently place it on top of the nest of kale. Deep winter acts of love deserve bumper stickers.