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Posts Tagged ‘kale’

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I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to tell you how much I LOVE kale. I mean, I really LOVE it. Like I could eat it twice a day, every day for the rest of my life kind of love. Admittedly, the love is not exclusive to kale, it applies to all leafy greens really. There’s just something about their bitterness and versatility that seems to make every meal complete for me.

Kale appears a lot on this blog in vegetable pies, sweet potato quesadillas, minestrone soup, mixed greens and chickpeas, green smoothies, and tomato Florentine soup. It’s also the star ingredient in what appears to be one of my most popular recipes- the one I hear the most about from all of you dear readers- marinated citrusy kale and black bean tostadas . This is one of my most favorite dinners and this particular recipe has inspired many more dinners of a similar sort featuring kale and beans and tortillas.

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The meal is so easy to put together and it tastes a bit different every time, depending on what you have on hand to use. For tonight’s kale and bean topped tortilla, I used:
1 pound mixed beans and barley
10 ounces kale, roughly chopped
5 flour tortillas
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 jalapeños, minced
salsa verde
lime

I slow cooked the beans for 8 hours on the low heat setting of my slow cooker. This time, I used a bag of 18 bean and barley mix from Trader Joe’s which was quite good. I cooked it in the slow cooker with 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water and a few minced garlic cloves. (More slow cooked bean recipes can be found here and here).

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Once the beans are finished cooking, here’s how I assembled the dinner, it’s not so much of a recipe as a method:
Sauté a few cloves of minced garlic in a large skillet with a good glug of olive oil. Once garlic is fragrant, add minced fresh jalapeño (about 2 medium with seeds removed) and kale (about 10 ounces) and sauté until wilted- about 4 or 5 minutes.
Brush tortillas lightly with olive oil and place in toaster oven or oven, on 200 degrees for about 5 minutes or until browned.
Put tortillas on plates and top with kale, a large spoonful of beans and barley from the slow cookers, a drizzle of salsa verde, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Squeeze the juice from a lime wedge atop the mixture and eat with a fork and knife.

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I’ve always loved the idea of gardening, tinkering around in the dirt with a few plants never really understanding the right thing to do, always having a low yield. But, this year, my parents sent us a garden box (a raised bed) and I researched and planned, determined to really test my green thumb.

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And, I have to say that if you’ve never tried it you are missing out on an amazing opportunity. There is no gratification greater for me than serving a meal with vegetables that I grew with my own two hands. I love kneeling down with my knees in the cool grass, plucking lettuce leaves, arugula leaves, and kale from the garden box for lunch and dinner…there is something so therapeutic about it, something so naturally fundamental to my being. And, I love how much Jack is interested in the growing, caring for, and harvesting.

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This is the time of year when the garden is abundant with its harvest. I love serving fresh, simple salads with every summer dinner, so when we had friend’s over for dinner this past weekend, I knew one of my shared dishes was going to be a mixed greens salad. I chose to keep it simple so as to highlight the freshness of the lettuce and arugula leaves without losing all those delicate flavors. I paired the greens with goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries and then lightly tossed it in olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and kosher salt. It was the perfect taste of homegrown summer time!

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Oh, you MUST make this dish. I’m serious. Scroll straight down to the recipe, hurry out to the market to gather your ingredients, and put it on your table tonight. You and your family will be so happy that you did. It is so good. So, so good…

Despite the lack of ingredients, this is one of those dinners that clings to your taste buds making them sing and dance, awakening them with it’s full flavors. After every bite, you will continue to be surprised by the citrusy freshness of the kale, the incredible flavor of the beans, the way the feta cheese provides just enough tanginess, and the impeccable crunch of the tostada.

This meal is sort of like a healthy pizza. If you aren’t too familiar with tostadas (David wasn’t), then you should know tostada is a Spanish word meaning “toasted”. In Mexico, tostada refers to an open faced, flat, rigid tortilla spread with cheese, beans, sour cream, chopped lettuce, sliced onion, and salsa. Most of the time, the tortilla is deep fried to attain that toasted crunch, but I baked them in this meal and the result was crunchy perfection.

I’m excited to hear what you think about them, so please share! I know they are being added to our regular rotation, especially since we can’t seem to eat or drink enough kale these days (we are adding it by the handful to our morning smoothies- recipes and pictures I promise to share soon).

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Citrusy Kale and Black Bean Tostada
adapted minimally from Not Without Salt

Tostada
4 flour tortillas
2 teaspoons olive oil

Brush 4 tortillas with olive oil, sprinkle with salt then bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until completely crisp. Be careful not to burn!

Kale Marinade
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups kale, thick ribs removed and roughly chopped

Mix ingredients in a large bowl, toss to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Black Beans
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I know…I didn’t have any in my freezer and I really wanted to make this dish! The can ones here work just fine, no need for the slow cooked ones unless you already have some made.)

In a small sauce pan saute garlic and shallots in olive oil over medium heat until just fragrant. Add beans and simmer about 5-7 minutes, until soft and warmed through.

Assemble
1 avocado, roughly cut
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place baked tortilla on a plate, top with warm beans, marinated kale, chunks of avocado and crumbled feta cheese.

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So…this is not exactly a soup…in the traditional sense. I had a heavy hand when adding the spinach tortellini, so instead of a tomato broth rich with flavor and dolloped with tortellini bites and kale leaves, I ended up with a mostly tortellini dish (note that I even served it on a plate for Jack’s dinner the following day). However, the abundance of tortellini allowed for plenty of leftovers and for weeks that have been as busy as ours have been lately, leftovers are a necessity.

And, the best thing…the soup is easy (prepared in less than 25 minutes with a antsy toddler pacing the kitchen in anticipation of dinner time) and it’s good.

Tomato Florentine Soup with Tortellini and Kale adapted from this recipe by Running with Tweezers
* This is the exact recipe I made. If you want a more soupy soup, use only 10 ounces (or 1 fresh package) of tortellini.

In a large soup pot, heat about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add 2 large cloves of minced garlic and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and sauté until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Pour in 5 cups of vegetable stock and a 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Next, add 20 ounces of spinach ricotta tortellini (2 Trader Joes packages) and cook until tender or about 5 minutes. Stir in about 3/4 of a pound of kale leaves (thick stems removed) and cook until wilted or about 4 minutes more. Stir in 2 tablespoons of brown goat pesto, taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy for dinner and then for several more dinners and lunches!

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