Friday, September 11, 2015

Culinary Corner: Oh Kale!

Elizabeth focuses on kale this week.  GFF has had consistent kale production since 2012 and some production for a few years prior to that.  We grow two types of curly green kale (Dwarf Blue Scotch and Vates), one type of curly red kale (Scarlet), a flat leaf kale (Red Russian) and a Tuscana type kale (Lacinato).  Our CSA members might notice that we have taken to giving bunches of kale in their shares with more than one variety in them.  We hope you enjoy these thoughts on using kale. [rf]

Dwarf Blue Scotch kale
Kale comes from the brassica family and is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it very popular over the last couple of years as a versatile health food. Raw kale can be bitter and some are off-put by this taste, but there are a number of ways to prepare kale and reduce the bitterness. Almost everyone has tried kale chips and replacing spinach with it in soups and stir-frys, but maybe you're looking for something new? Here are a few new uses for kale beyond stir-fry and stew!

Kale and Walnut Pesto

Don't try this with delicate basil! To get the kale ready, you should blanch it first to soften and dispel some of the bitterness. For this step, I'll often treat the kale like pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt, add kale. Boil for about a minute, then drain. Run some cold water over the kale to stop the cooking process, wring it dry in a clean kitchen towel, then you're ready to go!

  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • kosher salt

Pulse the garlic and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the parmesan, kale, and lemon juice and pulse until chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form a coarse puree. Add the lemon juice and kosher salt to taste, pulse to combine.

Red Russian Kale

Massaged Kale Salad

Yes, you read that right! Maybe you don't want to blanch, boil, saute, or otherwise cook out any nutrients from this leafy superfood. Or maybe it's just too hot out and you don't feel like turning on the stove. Massaging the kale helps break down the fibrous leaf without applying heat, so it's a bit easier to digest.
To massage the kale, just remove the stems, chop it up and collect it in a bowl large enough to fit. Massage/roll the kale between your fingertips for a few minutes until it's soft.

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Fresh fruit of choice
  • Sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Massage the kale for a couple of minutes, until soft, then set aside. Whisk together the lemon juice and honey, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to make a dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the kale with the dressing, and finish with your favorite fruit and some sunflower seeds.

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