Yes, I know…Kale isn’t the most unusual vegetable, nor is it famous for its Summer existence. Though it’s abundantly available year-round, I’ve decided to try some preparations that are more appropriate for these Doberman days of high Summer, as compared to my usual braises or sautés. Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. It’s packed with iron, vitamins A and C, folic acid and calcium. There are many varieties of this dark beauty. Some are decorative and sport vibrant hues of purple and white, and the textures vary widely as well. This week, I picked up Dinosaur and Curly Kale (each bunch was $1.50) to headline this week’s menus.
It’s fairly well known that the spine or stalk of these greens is tough, and kind of interrupts the eating experience. Usually, I’d just load up my stock bag with these, throw it all in the freezer and forget about it until I wanted to make veggie stock. This time, with so much of the stuff around, I decided to not only share the stems with our rabbit, Dude, but also snack on them myself! Dipped in vinaigrette or some hummus, these stalks seriously rival celery or carrot sticks! Snack on!
Yes, Kale Pie. A few weeks ago, I made too much polenta for the meal I was making. So, I decided to flatten and bake it into something of a cracker. Well, this big biscuit became a landing place for dips, beans, salsa and…oops, I ate the whole thing! This was such a tasty idea, I decided to try it as a crust for this Kalestravaganza. The Kale started the way I usually get it going; in a sauté pan with garlic, olive oil and red pepper flake. Then, I remembered a Spinach Pie my mom used to make, with Italian Sausage. I happened to have a veggie version in the freezer, so I crumbled that in with the greens and, loaded it all into my par-baked Polenta crust. I topped the whole thing with sliced Heirloom Tomatoes and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and baked it all at 400° for about 15-20 minutes. When served with a drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar, SOOO YUM…and even better the next day!!
Kale and Fennel Salad
Adorned in a beautiful spiced Orange salad dressing, this Dinosaur Kale (aka, Black Kale or Cavolo Nero) and Fennel salad was a refreshing surprise. My friend has been raving about a kale salad she orders often. My local Ralphs has been advertising one from their service deli… I had to try a raw preparation for myself. With a handful of toasted Walnuts and the zest of an Orange, this became a fabulously filling and satisfying lunch.
Grilled Kale and Squash Wrap
If you scroll back through my past posts, you’d know I love a handy, wrapped-up meal. This combination of raw Curly Kale, grilled strips of PattyPan Squash and Onions was wrapped in a sprouted tortilla which had been spread with my homemade Hummus. I then grilled the whole thing to make it a little crispier and more compacted. Filling, nutritious, delicious and easy to enjoy!
Kale doesn’t just have to be used in leaf form!! Last night, I made a sauce for this Pizza with Curly Kale, Tomato Paste, Red Pepper Flake, Garlic and Olive Oil. After processing it in to a thick paste, I brushed it onto the rolled-out crust and added the veggies you see on top. After topping my side with “fauxmage” and The Boyfriend’s half with mozzarella, I placed thinly sliced Heirloom Tomatoes on top. Served with a combination of Stellar Salad, Black Mission Figs and Sugar Snap Peas, this nutrient-packed pizza made for a beautiful dinner, with leftovers for my lunch today!
Dude with a very nutritious snack J
Let me know what you think of these yummy creations and this new theme! Stay tuned for more featured Summer produce!!