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Mar 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘kale’

Meatless Monday: Kale, Asparagus and Spring Pea Slaw

Monday, June 6th, 2016



Tonight, we’re barely touching the stove. Blanched asparagus, shredded kale and spring pea pods come together in a Spring Slaw. Dressed simply with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, this dish lets seasonal vegetables shine. Click here for the recipe.


-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Tender Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing

Monday, January 4th, 2016



This kale salad boasts simple preparation and bold flavors. Blend on avocado, lemon juice, vinegar-based hot sauce and olive oil to create a creamy dressing with a kick. Give those greens a well-deserved massage and rub the kale with lemon juice and salt to soften the leaves and lessen the bitterness. Toss with the dressing and cherry tomatoes and dive into a healthy new year. Click here for the recipe.



Just Five: Tender Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015



2014 was The Year of Kale, and everyone is over it  – except me. This beautiful dark green leaf is delicious when sauteed, braised, added to soups and stews or blitzed into juices. I never got the whole kale chip phenomenon, but I love that it brought so much attention to this misunderstood vegetable.

Many people balk at kale in its raw form: too tough and stringy. Instead of gnawing on it for five minutes, try a little tenderness beforehand. Massage that kale. You heard me. Get in there and really work it over. Roll it between your hands; squeeze it like a stress ball; beat it up. Massaging kale breaks down its tough cellulose; you will actually see and feel the change in the texture. The kale will feel softer than before and will taste much less bitter. Doesn’t a good massage have that effect on us all?

Tender Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
3 to 5 servings

1 avocado, pit removed and peeled
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
1 Tbsp. vinegar-based hot sauce (like Tabasco or Cholula)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups chopped lacinato kale, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

• In the bowl of a food processor or blender, puree the avocado, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the hot sauce until combined. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and with the machine running, pour in the olive oil until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to reach a thick but pourable consistency. Set aside.
• Place the kale in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Use clean hands to massage the leaves 2 to 3 minutes, until the kale is slightly darker green and feels softer.
• Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add the cherry tomatoes and serve.

By the Book: Julie Mueller’s Blueberry Superfood Smoothie and Peach and Kale Stem Smoothie

Saturday, July 12th, 2014



I weigh the merits of single-subject cookbooks in the same way that I do single-purpose kitchen gadgets. Do I really need an avocado slicer or a garlic peeler when I can get the job done with a universal tool like a knife? So when a cookbook wholly devoted to kale comes along, I ask myself whether it’s outstanding enough to replace the ones I have that encompass the whole brassica family – along with every other leafy green on the planet.

Julie Mueller’s Let Them Eat Kale! Simple and Delicious Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Superfood, published this month, offers 75 recipes for using kale morning, noon and night. A tidy introduction provides a primer on the health benefits of kale, varieties of the plant and methods for preparing it, which range from using it raw to putting it under heat via blanching, braising, sauteing, roasting and grilling.




Smoothie recipes comprise half of the breakfast section of the book. A colorful image of a purple-specked blueberry smoothie caught my eye, as did the minimal (five!) ingredients needed to make it. And, when it’s 6 a.m. and you’ve not yet had that cup of coffee, the uncomplicated task of blending appeals, too.




The smoothie was thick and filling, but it tasted mostly of banana and blueberries. While you can feel good knowing there is 1 cup of vitamin- and fiber-packed kale in there, its earthy flavor is lost amid the fruit. Were I to make this recipe again, I’d double up on the kale.




Mueller smartly offers a few recipes for using kale stems. Though tough and fibrous, stems hold some nutritional value. Rather than discard them, they can be chopped and used like broccoli stems or celery to add crunchy texture or, in this case, to bulk up a peach smoothie.




The herbaceous quality of kale was completely masked in the resulting beverage. Fruit flavors abounded, but the drink was overwhelmingly sweet. That’s logical, I suppose, since it held ripe peaches, bananas, almond milk, orange juice and coconut milk. Based on information from Nutritiondata.com, the sugar clocked in at 49.68 grams. That’s nearly 25 grams of sugar per serving and 20 percent of the daily recommended sugar intake, per the National Academy of Sciences. How beneficial is a “superfood” when it’s smothered in sugar? What I did like about this recipe was the undertone of fresh ginger. Next time, I’ll add more ginger, kale and ice, and ease up on orange juice and one of the nut milks.

Let Them Eat Kale! isn’t going to take up precious cookbook space in my kitchen. But those just jumping aboard the kale bandwagon will appreciate Mueller’s easy recipes for incorporating the vegetable (whether sneaking it in by the cupful or letting the big green leaves shine by the bunch) in their diet.

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie
2 servings

1 cup kale leaves, loosely packed
1½ frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat from the can)
1½ cups almond milk

• Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with the liquids (This will help blend everything together.). Blend until smooth.

Peach and Kale Stem Smoothie
2 servings

2 ripe peaches, pitted and frozen
2 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
2 kale stems
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 ice cubes
½ cup almond milk
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat from the can)

• Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If necessary, add more almond milk or juice to help the blender process the frozen fruit.

What’s your favorite way to eat kale? Tell us about it in the comments for a chance to win your own copy of Let Them Eat Kale! 

Just Five: The Dee Special (Kale and Eggs)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014


Sometimes, I help out at LHC in Tower Grove; I think I bring a certain gravitas to the joint – mostly because I’m twice as old as most of the employees. I truly enjoy bouncing ideas off cook Tom Valli. Case in point: Here’s a recent tête-à-tête about what has become my go-to meal after a shift.

Dee The Helper: I have to figure out what I want to eat. I’m thinking sauteed kale.
Tom The Cook: Really? Just a plate of kale?
Dee: Well, maybe throw an egg at it? Or two?
Tom: What if some bacon were to fall in?
Dee: Well, that never hurt anybody. What do you think would happen if some syrup spilled on the plate?
Tom: Syrup with bacon is good. Syrup with eggs is good. Therefore, it seems logical that syrup and kale would also be good.
Dee: Excelsior! We have hot sauce, right?
Tom: Goes without saying. Don’t tell anyone to order this in real life, OK?
Dee: I wouldn’t dream of it.

The Dee Special (Kale and Eggs)
1 Serving

1 to 2 tsp. olive oil
1 slice bacon, chopped
3 cups kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sriracha or other hot sauce

• Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook 2 minutes. Add the chopped kale and saute 3 to 5 minutes until just starting to wilt. Transfer the kale and bacon to a bowl. Stir in the maple syrup and tent with foil. Set aside.
• Carefully wipe the skillet with paper towels and return it to the stove over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, if needed. Crack the eggs into the skillet, pour in 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Cook no more than 3 minutes, until the whites are just set.
• Slide the eggs on top of the kale, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with hot sauce and serve.



31 Days of Salad: Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Friday, January 24th, 2014



At times, it seems there are two types of salad: the virtuous ones that leave you hungry an hour later, or the gluttonous ones with more pork belly, cheese and runny egg yolk than veg. Rare is the salad that satisfies your appetite and dietary needs. This number fills you up and packs the nutrients with healthy kale and sprouts.

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
4 Servings
Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 bunch kale, stems removed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
½ to ¾ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

• In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside to let flavors combine.
• Shred the Brussels sprouts and kale using a mandolin, food processor or knife. Toss the shredded vegetables together in a large bowl.
• Slowly whisk the extra virgin olive oil into the lemon juice mixture, adding a dribble at a time until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste.
• Add the crumbled feta, breadcrumbs and dressing to the shredded sprouts and kale. Toss well to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.




Kale Spoonbread with Red Lentil Sauce

Monday, July 1st, 2013


A perfect side for any summer barbecue, this southern-inspired spoonbread uses leftover grilled corn (canned corn could be substituted) and the leafy greens that come to market during these hot summer months.

Don’t hesitate to cook down the extra greens from the bunch, too; they make an excellent accompaniment to the dish and are a great source of iron and calcium. This recipe will produce an abundance of red lentil and pepper sauce, but serve it up later in the week as a light summer soup or pair it with a side salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Kale Spoonbread with Red Lentil Sauce
6 Servings

Red Lentil Sauce*

2 red bell peppers
2 cups red lentils
1 quart vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of 1 lemon

•  In a broiler, roast 1 red pepper, turning every several minutes until all the sides are blackened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the roasted pepper in a brown paper bag and close it tightly to trap the steam. When the pepper is cool, take it from the bag and remove the stem, skin and seeds. Cut the pepper into several large pieces and set aside.
•  Meanwhile, combine the lentils, vegetable stock, water and bay leaves together in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
• Remove the bay leaves. With a slotted spoon, scoop half the lentils into a food processor. Add the roasted pepper and pulse until smooth. Remove and set aside.
•  Strain the remaining lentils through a chinois for 10 minutes to remove excess liquid. Seed and chop the 1 raw red pepper into large pieces. Add the lentils and raw red pepper to the food processor. Pulse until smooth.
•  Pass both batches of the puree through a chinois to remove any remaining pepper skins. Season with salt, lemon juice and zest to taste.

* This sauce is prepared in two batches, as all the lentil and peppers will not fit in a standard-size food processor.

Kale Spoonbread

1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 ½ cups water
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 or 2 kale leaves, cut into thin strips
½ cup roasted corn (1 ear of corn)*
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sorghum or molasses (optional)

•  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
•  Combine cornmeal, water and buttermilk together in a heavy bottomed, 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk continuously about 5 minutes, until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
•  Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks. Beat the egg whites using a stand mixer or whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside.
•  Place the cornmeal mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed, slowly adding egg yolks, baking powder and sorghum until combined.
•  Fold in kale, roasted corn and egg whites. Pour mixture into a buttered, 8-by-8 inch casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes, until spoonbread is set.

* To roast corn, place an ear of corn still in its husk on a grill over moderate heat (approximately 300 degrees) for 7 minutes a side, until the husks turn a caramel brown and the ear is tender. Corn also can be roasted in its husk under the broiler with the red pepper while preparing the sauce.

Meatless Monday: Kale “Caesar” Salad

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Like so many dishes that have become staples in international cuisine, the history of the Caesar salad – and who first brought it to life – isn’t 100-percent clear. The most widely accepted story circles around Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who lived in San Diego and opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico during Prohibition. According to his daughter, Cardini created the salad on a particularly busy night when supplies had run out.

In the many decades since that fortuitous night, chefs, home cooks and foodies the world over have adapted the classic into too many variations to count, but the original recipe, interestingly enough, didn’t even use the anchovies that are standard in today’s version. So, technically, this vegetarian could have just told you to buy some vegetarian Worcestershire, leave out the little fish and call it a day. But that’d be too easy.

Instead, I’m going to put you to work, starting with making your own croutons, which, if you haven’t done so already, couldn’t be simpler. And once you taste a fresh batch from the oven, you won’t even glance at the bagged variety again, especially since this DIY project is the perfect way to use up that day-old bread currently drying out on your counter. As for the dressing, I chose to go with the creamy, mayonnaise-based variety to help balance the bitterness of the kale. (Yes, the nutrient-packed green is in here … and it’s raw … and you’ll like it.) And pinch-hitting for the anchovies will be another edible from the murky waters below: kombu. This dried Japanese seaweed supplies that force of fishy flavor that vegetarians and carnivores come to expect with a Caesar salad. Meat-a-tarians can just close their eyes and pretend it’s the real deal.

Find the recipe for Kale “Caesar” Salad, here.

Meatless Monday: Sweet Potato and Kale Pie

Monday, February 4th, 2013

I love pies. They’re refreshing in the summer and comforting in the fall and winter. When spring finally arrives, they’re also the perfect way to welcome the warm weather. I love them with one crust, two crusts, stuffed with sweets or — like this recipe — stuffed with savory goodness for those days that sugar and cream just won’t do (If that ever happens in my home, kitchen gods, come help me!).

Sweet Potato and Kale Pie
Makes 1 10-inch pie

For the crust:
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and sliced
Ice water

For the filling:
2 Tbsp. butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup ricotta
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup grated Parmesan, divided
¼ large sweet potato, sliced paper thin

• First make the crust. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and process until the dough reaches the consistency of damp sand.
• Move the dough to a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of ice water. Combine until the dough can be formed into a ball, adding 1 more tablespoon of ice water at a time, as needed, to reach that point.
• Wrap the dough in plastic and freeze for 10 minutes.
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap and place on a well-floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about ¼-inch thick and large enough to fit your pie pan.
• Press the dough into the pan, trimming any excess that hangs over the sides. Prick the surface of the dough, including the sides, several times with a fork. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
• To make the filling, melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan that has a lid. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper to taste.
• Saute for 10 minutes, or until the onions become brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and olive oil, and season the filling again with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook until the kale is wilted, about 6 to 8 minutes.
• Remove from heat and mix in the ricotta, honey, thyme, nutmeg and ¼ cup of Parmesan. Season with a little more salt and pepper, then transfer the mixture to the pie crust, spreading it out evenly. Top with the sliced sweet potatoes, the remaining Parmesan and a few sprigs of thyme.
• Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the top is brown and crispy.
• Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Meatless Monday: Apple-Cheddar-Kale Sandwich

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Ever have those nights when a sandwich just sounds … so … perfect? Where the bread is grilled to buttery perfection, and you just so happen to have your favorite chips stashed in the cupboard? This sandwich — stuffed with fruit and bitter kale — strikes a wonderful balance between savory and sweet (with an extra bite from the sharp cheddar and a nectarous note from the fig spread). I prefer the tanginess of Granny Smith apples and the look of white cheddar, but feel free to sub in your favorite varieties.

Apple-Cheddar-Kale Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich

½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup vegetable stock or water
1 oz. kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. butter
2 slices whole-grain bread
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
½ Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced (or 4 slices)
1 Tbsp. fig spread

• Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, but not browned.
• Turn the heat up to high, and add the stock (or water) and the kale. Stir to combine, and then cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
• Heat a stovetop grill pan over medium heat. Grease the pan with the butter, and put both slices of bread on the pan. Top one slice of bread with the slice of cheese, so the cheese will soften a bit. Top the other slice with the fig spread so it will become warm.
• Once both slices of bread are grilled to taste (about 2 to 3 minutes), remove the slices to a plate. Top the slice that has the cheese with kale, then apple slices, then place the other slice of bread with the fig spread on top.

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