Tag Archives: kale

Kale Chips – Crunchy, Tasty, Healthy, and EASY

28 May

My friend Carolyn has been telling me about how good kale chips are. I kind of found it hard to believe. Kale? Really?

Kale, if you don’t know, is one of those virtuous leafy greens that often confuse you in the supermarket: Is it chard? Is it kale? Is it collards? What do I do with it? And is it going to smell up my kitchen if I try it?

Really, kale is simplicity itself to use. It’s the bumpy looking one with curly edges and a stem that is not very thick (chard’s stems are more noticeable and quite often red or yellow – as in rainbow chard). Rinse well, cut out the stem and cook it much the way you would spinach, just cook it a bit longer, as it is denser and tougher. I don’t use it raw. It is a cool weather crop, meaning that if you have a patch of dirt, you can grow it even in winter, which is a big plus if you are big into seasonal eating.

Now Carolyn loves good food, so I knew she couldn’t be making it up, however odd kale chips sounded to me. And the more I thought about it, the more I considered the Asian seaweed strips I like so much. Wouldn’t it be similar?

So I got myself a bunch of kale – about 8 oz, give or take — from Sang Lee out in the North Fork and gave it a try.

Had to wrestle this from the table in order to get a shot of the shrapnel!

The results were a revelation! The kale chips were crunchy and had a slight, but pleasant bitterness, tempered by the salt. My parents and John the Painter who happened to be doing some painting with my dad downstairs gave it a try – Leandro was not having it – and we made short work of the whole tray. In fact, my pictures are pretty thin on the actual kale because in my eagerness to try them, I forgot to take any photos until we had almost cleaned them out!

I will be planting kale in the late summer and I will be making this all winter long for my late-night movie snack! Thank you Carolyn!

What was left when I remembered to take a picture!

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale (about 8 oz. – can be increased)

1 Tbs oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil, but you can play around with flavors)

2 pinches salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay kale pieces on parchment paper, leaving space between all of them – no touching! Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until leaves are crisp. Serve.

Advertisements

Spinach or Chard or Kale Pasta – the fastest pasta in my arsenal

15 May

When it is crunch time – 5:30 p.m. and nothing planned for dinner, or 10 p.m. and nothing made for Leandro’s lunchbox, I do not despair. As long as there is a bag, or half bag of frozen spinach or chard or kale in the fridge, a box of pasta and some garlic (and there pretty much always is), I am good to go.

Leafy greens are powerhouses in the veggie world. Kale provides calcium, Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium and folate. Chard has vitamins A and D. Spinach has iron. And best of all, my son, who I started on garlicky, cheesy pureed spinach on pasta as one of his first solids, doesn’t really differentiate among them, so I can vary at will. Start your kids on the good stuff early, I am telling you!

Second best of all? They are all terrific from frozen bags.

And third? You can throw the frozen greens right in with the boiling pasta…ladies and gentleman, this is a one-pot convenience meal par excellence.

I have posted a similar recipe before, with options for freezing the sauce for baby food, but this time I am giving you the bare bones with how to handle each green. You can, of course, also use fresh greens, but our spinach and chard isn’t ready for harvest yet, so I am still using bagged.

Pasta with Dark Leafy Greens

(this can be halved for smaller meals)

1 lb. pasta of your choice (the curly short kind or farfalle/bowties grip the greens best)

1 lb bag frozen chopped spinach, kale, or chard

2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste

abundant grated cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano) or 1/2 cup crumbled feta

Bring abundant salted water to the boil. Add pasta and, if using kale or chard, add that immediately too. If using spinach, add halfway into the pasta cooking time.

Drain the pasta and vegetables and return the empty pot to the stove at medium heat. Let any residual water boil off, then add olive oil, garlic and optional hot red pepper flakes to the pot. Cook garlic gently until browned, then add pasta, greens and cheese to the pot. Combine thoroughly, salt to taste and serve.

Souped Up: Andouille Sausage, Garbanzos and Kale

13 Apr
Aye me hearties…

One of the few things I miss when winter finally gets out of my face for a few months is hearty soups. So, to celebrate (or bid adieu to) the tail end of the cold and damp, I made just such a hearty (and spicy) soup. I served it to late evening guests recently as a stodgy and substantial — but lively – counterbalance to late evening imbibing. It was very restorative the day after too! I actually served it in tea cups, which was kind of sweet and cozy, and just the right moderate portion for night-time. It’s also easier to handle than bowls when you are sprawled on couches and not seated at a table.

It is another riff on one of my favorite types of soup: a bean, a green and a sausage. This time the bean is nutty, firm garbanzo and the sausage spicy Cajun-style Andouille. The green is kale. If you are not familiar with kale, it is available pretty much year-round, another leafy-green packed with nutrients and fiber and all that good stuff. It is similar to spinach and chard when you cook it, but you have to cook it quite a bit longer for it to soften up. The advantage is that it won’t get mushy in your soup, but will retain a bit of crunchy character. The colors in this one are also really lovely!

Andouille Sausage, Kale and Garbanzo Soup

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ Cup red pepper, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

6-8 oz andouille sausage (or other highly seasoned sausage – I like spicy, but you can use non-spicy too), in ½ inch slices

1 bunch kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped

2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch squares

32 oz low sodium vegetable broth (or however much broth you have, mixed with water to make 32 oz)

1 15.5 oz can chick peas (garbanzos, ceci), drained and rinsed

2 Tbs fresh thyme or 1 Tbs dried (may be increased or decreased to your liking)

 

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil until liquid and fragrant, add onions, stir to coat then reduce heat and allow to soften and become translucent. Add red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage slices and cook through. Stir in kale and potatoes and coat well. Add vegetable broth and additional water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a lively simmer for 15 minutes. Add garbanzos and thyme and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread/a grating of parmesan cheese/a dollop of fine extra virgin olive oil.

%d bloggers like this: