All Hail Kale!

Kale is the latest green super veggie. I mean it’s everywhere and you can’t get away from it. But why would you want to? I give credit where credit is due and Kale is the new black, it goes with everything.
Go to any “trendy”restaurant and I bet you’ll find at minimum two Kale dishes. I know the price of Kale has shot up in some parts of the country due to its recent popularity but luckily my local Kroger carries it year round for .99 or less. Since fresh veggies aren’t readily available this time of year I find myself buying a bunch of Kale just about every shopping trip.
This past week I wanted to make a rice, pesto and shrimp dish. Well my best efforts to keep my basil plants going indoors has fallen to my dog Rooster and his need to visit the “salad bar” on occasion. The pesto I made late last year after harvesting all of the basil outdoors is long gone and I was left looking for a substitute. The recipe I was basing my dish off actually called for mint, well that’s gone dormant for the winter so my only option was Kale.
It’s amazing how little Kale I needed to make this pesto shown in the picture here. Just IMG_20150126_164721925_HDRthree leaves, minus the rib, some EVOO, salt and fresh grated parmesan. I could have added a little lemon juice but decided that was just a little too summery for a cold evening.
Over the past year I’ve used Kale in soups (Italian Wedding Soup), pasta dishes like I would use spinach, pizza, salads – Kale Caesar is a favorite of mine with my homemade *Caesar dressing, pork chops stuffed with kale and feta and so much more. Today I made Kale chips, oh these are so good, they taste like roasted Brussel sprouts.


Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I didn’t do anything fancy for flavors on my first time, just extra virgin olive oil and salt. Preheat oven to 375. Tear leaves away from ribs into bite size pieces. Place in bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Arrange in one layer on baking sheet, place in oven for 10 minutes. Rotate pan after 10 minutes and drop temp down to 150, bake for another 5 minutes. I turned the oven off and just left the Kale in for another 10 minutes, then remove from oven, allow to cool and enjoy. A tiny bit of lemon juice would really brighten the chips up and be delicious. Like most leafy greens Kale really cooks down so you may want to do several pans or batches at a time. I think my next batch will be Black Truffle oil with Black Truffle finishing salt.
Caesar Salad Dressing
I make my dressings in small batches so they don’t expire before I can use them. I also don’t really measure my ingredients out for my dressing but the ingredients I use are listed below with approximate measurements.
1/2 cup freshly grated or ground Parmesan cheese
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 fresh egg yolk (optional) You may find the olive oil is enough emulsification but for a thicker dressing I add one, fresh from my chickens, egg.
Salt and black pepper to taste
Chop the anchovies and garlic, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. I store mine in Weck jars in the fridge and use them within two weeks of making.

Need yet another reason to eat your Kale? Just checkout the benefits:
At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has:
Nearly 3 grams of protein
2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full)
Vitamins A, C, and K
Folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development
Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. (While kale has far less omega-3 than fish, it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc
– source Webmd

Ok, well I just finished yesterday’s batch and couldn’t resist. Next batch with truffle oil and truffle salt are baking now.
– I started this post two weeks ago but as we all know, sometimes life just gets in the way of the things we want to do. Last night I found another use for Kale, creamed Kale. Holy cow was it delicious.
Remove kale from rib and tear into bite size pieces. Blanch kale (I found you can really skip this step if you’d like), place kale in pan placed on low heat, add 1/2 cup of cream and 2 tablespoons of butter and stir to mix well. I then added 1/4 cup of Montery Jack cheese, heated and allowed the mixture to reduce. Not the healthiest dish but sure was tasty. Sorry no pics, we were too busy eating to photograph.


About Kellie Stargaard

Wine blogger
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