Curried Turnips and Kale

Curried Turnips and Kale

I put a cast iron skillet on the stove at a low medium (4 out of 10) heat and put about 1/4 cup of sauteed celery and onion mix in the pan to thaw. (When I got 10 heads of celery from Harvest Share, I sauteed half of them with onions and made the other half into mirepoix and froze them in freezer bags, so I just pulled out a bag, whacked it against the counter a few times, and dumped 1/2 cup of it in the pan.

While the onions and celery thawed in the pan, I peeled a turnip and cut into chunks a little less than an inch square. I added some salt and pepper and let cook for about 4 minutes. Coming back to stir it a bit, I added 1 TBSP of rice vinegar and 1 tsp of curry powder. I stirred a few minutes longer before adding 1/2 cup of fresh kale. I put the lid on and let it cook for a few more minutes, removing when the turnips were tender.

You don’t really taste the vinegar, but there is a lightness to it that comes from that bit of acid. The curry adds a nice bit of heat and the turnips are such a bright, sharp flavor that balances well with the earthy kale.

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Breakfast Tostada with Kale, Eggs, and Lemon

This took less than five minutes to make. I heated two pans on the stove, one set at about 4/10 and the other at 6/10 on the heat dial, a low and a high medium. In the low medium, I added no oil at all. I put about 1/4 of a small onion cut in thin slices and about 1 cup of chopped kale, chopped up. I added a bit of salt and pepper and a few red pepper flakes. I squeezed the juice from half a lemon on it and let it cook. I did not want it to get overly cooked, just warmed.

When the kale was about half done, I melted 1/4 tsp of butter in the other pan and cracked an egg in the melted butter. I added salt and pepper, and let it cook for a minute.

I put the tostada on a plate, spooned the kale and onions on the tostada, then I flipped the egg for a few seconds and placed the egg on top of the kale. When eating, I broke the yolk right away so it blended with the kale and onions. The kale alone tastes too strongly of the lemon juice until you mix the egg yolk…and then it’s a perfect lemony sauce .

This is a pleasant mix of textures, soft creamy eggs, crunchy tostada and soft, but still toothsome veggies. The egg yolk and lemon are a light and creamy sauce for the salty tostada and the sharp onions and slightly bitter kale. It’s fast, easy, and delicious.

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Toasted Pepitas & Plum Vinaigrette

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I sliced 1/4 head of cabbage into thin ribbons and chopped up an equal amount of fresh kale in similar thin ribbons.

In a large pot, I brought 2 cups of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. I added the cabbage and kale and put a lid on it, letting them cook for one minute. I strained the water off and set them in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, I sliced up 2 plums and sautéed them in 2 TBSP of white wine vinegar and 2 tsp of soy sauce with 2 tsp of Tajín. I added a bit of salt and pepper, a tsp of sugar and stirred until the plums were just about to break down, but were still holding together. I poured the dressing on the kale and cabbage, stirred and set back in the fridge to cool.

Before serving, I toasted the pepitas in a bit of peanut oil with smoked paprika.

This made two large servings or four small salads. It’s a great blend of hearty veggies, sweet fruit and tangy vinegar. The pepitas add a bit of crunch and umami.

Linguiça with Cauliflower, Kale and Grape Tomatoes

Linguiça with Cauliflower, Kale and Tomatoes

This was a delicious and hearty casserole that took very little effort and about 20 minutes to make. I sliced 1 piece of linguiça sausage (about 6 oz.) into 1/4 inch pieces. Then I chopped up 1/4 of a yellow onion. I tossed them together into a medium low sauté pan, since the linquiça has plenty of fat for the dish without any additional oil.

I then chopped up 2 cups of cauliflower and added the cauliflower, and some salt and pepper, to sauté for a bit. Meanwhile, I cleaned 5 pieces of kale, removing the stems. I rolled the kale up and sliced in ribbons and then did a quick chop cross-wise of the ribbons. This made about 4 cups of kale. Kale cooks down a lot, so when cooking you always want to add more than you think you want.  I added the kale, another bit of salt and pepper to the pan. While that cooked, I quartered grape tomatoes – until I had 1 cup of them. When the kale was about half done, I added 2 TBSP of red wine vinegar and the tomatoes and let cook for about 4 more minutes.

The vinegar is critical to elevating the flavors. It helps the flavors blend. The linguiça is spicy and adds rich flavor to the vegetables. This made 4 servings of delicious casserole.

Kale & Grapefruit Salad

kale and grapefruit salad

I used a small bunch of lacinato kale, washed, removed the stems and chopped the leaves. This made about 8 cups of chopped kale. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated. With my hand, I massaged the oil into the kale, softening the leaves.

With a knife, I supremed a grapefruit, cutting off the ends and the peel and pith. Then I used the knife to cut the flesh off in segments between the skin. I tossed the grapefruit into the salad.

I then added 2 TBSP of mango nectar and 2 TBSP of 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened). I put a lid on the container and shook it to distribute everything evenly and let it set in the fridge for an hour.

When serving, I added a bit of pepper on top. It’s a delicious tart and sweet salad with a hearty kale foundation. The ginger adds heat to balance the sweet mango.

Warm Mushroom and Kale Salad

Warm Kale Mushroom Salad

This was a fast and easy salad that I decided to have as an entree instead. It makes a single serving entree or two sides. The key to success is not overcooking the kale, letting it darken in color but not cooking until it wilts. That makes the rest seem more like a dressing for the kale and keeps it fresh in taste, texture and appearance.

Warm 1 TBSP of olive oil, add 1/4 cup of diced onions, 1/4 chopped red peppers and sauté until tender. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile clean and slice 9 small mushrooms or whatever amount you need to make 1 cup of sliced mushrooms. Also mince one clove of garlic. Add the garlic and mushrooms and let cook until tender. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Finally, add 2 cups of chopped, cleaned kale and 1.5 tBSP of Balsamic Vinegar and stir. Keep stirring quickly so the kale heats evenly and quickly without steaming and wilting. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It might sound crazy to add salt and pepper three times, but the secret of good seasoning is to season at each stage of cooking for the amount that you have in your pan. This will make your seasoning more effective and actually end up using less salt and pepper.

This is earthy with a bit of tanginess from the balsamic vinegar. The flavors blended beautifully and would make a great side dish for something like a pork chop or beef steak, but is capable of standing on its own.

Shakshouka

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I was inspired to try this Middle Eastern egg dish for a mid-morning brunch thanks to friends on my timeline. I am so glad I did. I did not have fresh tomatoes to make it from scratch and used a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. It was still delicious and incredibly easy.

I put a tablespoon of olive oil in an iron skillet and brought the heat up to medium. I added 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp of cardamom and let them simmer in the oil until the rich aromatics scented the room. Meanwhile, I diced a small yellow onion and 2 garlic cloves.  I added the onion, salt and pepper and let sauté and then added the garlic along with 1 cup of finely chopped fresh kale. The kale is not usually found in Shakshouka but I don’t care. It was what I had on hand and added a delicious grounded earthiness to the flavor.

I then added a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and some salt and pepper. I filled the can about 1/3 full and added water and let it come to a nice simmer. Then I cracked 6 eggs on top and let them cook. I wanted the yolk a little more done than recommended, so I put the lid on towards the end. I continued to let them poach until completely done.

This made 3 servings You could, if you like, reserve the sauce and poach just 2 eggs at a time. It’s rich, spicy and very filling.

I sprinkled some feta on top but that could easily be left off because with the spicy tomatoes, it was superfluous.

I heated the leftovers for another meal – using very low power so they eggs didn’t freak out and this time, I sprinkled a bit of sumac on top and that seemed to marry the flavors even better.

Ed & Zelda’s Pork Chop Express

Kale and Pork Chops

I play a war game called GoodGame Empire and have made some great friends there. Two of the best of the best of GGE are Ed and Zelda from the Dragon Rampant alliance. I recently changed alliances, leaving them behind when I moved. I will miss them a lot, they are good people and we will just have to IM each oner and stay in touch. Anyway, Ed loves nothing so much as a pork chop and talks about them the way poets talk about clouds. If there ever is an Ode to the Pork Chop, it’s author must be Ed. Zelda loves kale, something we bonded over . So my last night in the alliance I cooked up a meal in their honor.

I fried the pork chop in a bit of olive oil, turning it once. My mom always said repeated flipping of your chops or steaks will dry them out and so my main focus in cooking a chop is getting a good sear, flipping it over to sear the other side and then turning the heat down a bit to let it cook through enough.  I like them medium rare which reminds me to suggest you read The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules — Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food from Scientific American.

The kale was easy. I took two slices of bacon and cut into small pieces and friend them with 1/2 of a small yellow onion. I cleaned three pieces of kale, cutting them off the stem and chopping them up. I added 2 TBSP of the Wild Plum Sauce I made (the recipe just before this one) when the kale was nearly done, covered for about a minute and served with the chop. I added a bit of Wild Plum Sauce on top of the pork chop, too. Delish.

The wild plum sauce is sour enough – like a vinaigrette that it complemented the kale beautifully. As to the pork chop, I could never do it the justice in words that Ed can.

 

Chicken and Dumplings with Tomatoes and Kale

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Does everything taste better with kale? I don’t know, but the evidence is piling up.

I made an easy chicken and dumpling soup. I had the broth reserved in the fridge from a chicken I cooked a couple weeks ago. You could use canned broth, too, probably, but it’s easy enough to make your own broth and make it rich and flavorful with lots of vegetables and herbs. I just strain it twice and save it in containers.

I put the broth in a sauce pan, added 1 14.5 ounce can of canned tomatoes to heat and began to mix up the dumplings. I made a big batch because you can cook up some dumplings, serve them and then add more dumplings back to the soup broth. To make the dumplings I mixed 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 tsp of baking powder and 1 cup of flour. The batter was soft, but hung together on the spoon. I dipped a soup spoon in the boiling water and then into the batter to spoon it into the broth. By dipping my spoon into the hot broth, I ensured that the batter didn’t stick to the spoon and slid easily off into the broth. I let them boil until the floated on top of the broth. While they cooked, I clean two ribs of kale, removing the ribs and chopping the kale leaves. I added them to the soup and served when done.

After I had two bowls of soup, I cooked up the rest of the dumplings and put the soup in the fridge for later. This made 8-12 servings of soup, depending on your bowl. It’s a rich, flavorful soup with a bit of heat from the jalapeños in the canned tomatoes. I frankly love those particular canned tomatoes and will use them in soups a lot.

From start to finish was about 25 minutes.

Kale & Italian Sausage Lasagna

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I seldom make lasagna. How seldom was brought home to me when I was washing out my food storage bins and discovered that my lasagna was past its expiration date. I had not realized pasta had an expiration date, so there you have it. That poor box of lasagna has been dragged through two moves and I still had not emptied it, so I decided to finish it off and actually make a pan of lasagna. Now, I didn’t happen to have ricotta or mozzarella on hand since I seldom buy specialty cheese as I don’t use them quickly enough and they spoil. So, I made do with substitutes that made a tasty but totally inauthentic lasagna.

But let’s work through it. First I started water boiling. When it began a rolling boil I added eight pieces of lasagna pasta. I also added 3 pieces of Italian Sausage right out of the freezer. I figured why dirty two pans…and if anything the sausage might add some flavor to the pasta.

I got out a rectangular baking dish that was about as wide as 2.5 pieces of lasagna and just a bit shorter than the pasta. I laid down three pieces of lasagna, the middle one overlapping the two outer pieces. I then thinly sliced one of the pieces of Italian sausage and laid it down over the pasta. Taking about 1/2 cup of cream cheese, I dotted cream cheese in the spaces between the sausage. I then layered finely chopped kale on top. I used one full stalk, removed the ribs, and then chopped the kale.

Then I laid down two more strips of lasagna for another layer. I took the other two Italian sausages and  removing the skins, I chopped them up in a bowl and added 1 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes with jalapeños. I would have used fresh but didn’t happen to have any on hand. I mixed the sausage and tomatoes together and layered them on the pasta. On top of that I added a layer of black beans from a can, thoroughly rinsed in cold water.On top of that I added some sour cream which made a nice bed for the next layer of kale – using one more more stalk of kale finely chopped. I added a final layer of pasta and baked until done in a 350° oven. When it was done, I sprinkled some parmesan and some pepper jack cheese on top and broiled for just a few minutes to brown the cheese.

So, this made 12 servings which is why I don’t make lasagna very much. Luckily my friend came over and had some, too. It was delicious and easy to make and really did a good job of cleaning out some remnants in my fridge (cream cheese and sour cream). It was not too spicy, rich and flavorful.

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