Sesame Slaw with Golden Beets and Kale

The only way to get my son to run errands with me is to bribe him. As you can imagine, this can sometimes be costly and frustrating! But getting him to the coop is easy and free…all I need to do is remind him of the samples! He usually lingers by my side in the fresh foods area picking out bananas and other fruits, but as soon as we turn the corner, he beelines to the deli for samples of cheese, spreads, crackers and salads. The other day he came running up to me with a little cup filled with some sort of a kale salad.

“Here Mom, this is for you. I thought you’d like it. It has kale.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a kale and golden beet salad from the deli.”

“Did you try it?” I asked incredulously thinking the coop had cast some sort of spell over the boy who hates vegetables.

“Of course not! It has kale. I got it for you.”

What a sweet boy and what a sweet salad. I knew from the first taste, something like it would need to come out of my kitchen. The coop salad had the same general flavor devised with sesame oil, sesame seeds and ginger that my recipe includes, but did not have raisins. Somehow a little sweet seems like a good pairing for the beets and carrots. I think some fresh fruit like chopped nectarines, mangoes or apples would also cut the bill. (What does that mean, anyway?)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots grated
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch curly kale, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • a few splashes of rice vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)

Directions:

Long grate the carrots by cutting them just the length of the food processor feed tube. Empty into mixing bowl. Next grate the beets the same as the carrots. I chose to quickly saute the golden beets in about a tablespoon of sesame oil as they were a titch bitter when raw. Leave them a little crunchy to the bite.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and add to carrots and beets in mixing bowl.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the greens into fine pieces. The kale can be massaged to soften, steamed or sauted.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve at chilled or at room temperature.

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Cold Winter Curry

Oh, the flavors! Oh, the warmth! Oh, the kale! I can’t get enough of the stuff! I’ve consumed four large bunches and another of swiss chard this week – almost entirely on my own! Once I started eating it, I couldn’t get enough! The same happened with beets, and I think sweet potatoes must be right up there in the Gotta Have It department. While the rest of you “Master” cleanse, juice and go raw, I’m focusing on ROY G. BIV and powerful spices warmed to perfection!

In this recipe:

  • Red – tomatoes
  • Orange – sweet potatoes
  • Yellow – cauliflower
  • Green – kale
  • Blue/Indigo/Violet – last seen in Beety Tweety Bird Nests
  • Powerful Spices: Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, hot peppers

Ingredients Chickpea Curry:

  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, mince
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, blended
  • 3/4 can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. whole brown mustard seed
  • 2-3 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups chickpeas, pre-cooked
  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped

Directions: Cook chickpeas or use canned. On medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add red onion and saute until translucent. Add cumin, brown mustard seed and Garam Masala to the oil for a quick toast. Next add garlic, ginger and chile pepper. All these ingredients should be cooked for a minute or so, just until the aromas are released. Next, add the pureed tomato, coconut milk and chickpeas. Allow to simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, mix in the kale cooking it just past raw to bright green.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in Madras Peanut Curry Sauce:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. Madras style curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Warm the coconut milk and the peanut butter in a small pot. When the peanut butter begins to melt, whisk the two ingredients together. Add spices and mix well. Toss in cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Allow to steam on low heat for a few minutes until vegetables are tender.

Note: I tried roasting the veggies with the sauce at 450 degrees. They cooked, but did not crisp at all. I love the idea of serving the cauliflower roasted like I did here. Next time.

Vitamin Supplement Number One – Beet, Sweet and Kale Soup

Enough of the death dirge already!  I hear you. A few of my “fans” have been concerned that the black shroud and “Mock Chicken” was a sign of death to the blog. Perhaps I was one of those bloggers not quite willing to come right out and wrap it up, you thought. Truth be told, I never intended to be away so long, but in all my moments of cooking, have had little to motivate. Summer’s end brought me back to work with no weekly CSA and little motivation. The family plate reverted to our standby Mexican stuffed burritos with a variety of salsa, simple soups or stir-fries. Not much that was blog-worthy, I’m afraid.

Today, the sun is shining brightly over Minnesota, and this winterized body is craving some vitamins. A stop at the grocery, and the fridge is filled with chard, kale, beets, broccoli and a variety of fruits. Here’s what I came up with for Vitamin Supplement Number One:

Ingredients:

  • 2Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated with beets
  • water to cover veggies
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. Garam Masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch curly kale, deveined and sautéed in olive oil
  • Slivered almonds, toasted

Directions:

1) Wash and devein kale. Chop and saute in a splash of olive oil. Cook until just wilted and still bright green.

2) Grate sweet potatoes and beets. Place in large stock pot with olive oil and water to cover. Add salt and pepper, vinegar, honey, garam masala. Bring to slow simmer and cook until beets are just tender.

3) Toast slivered almonds in a dry skillet. Keep the almonds moving, and toast until the edges start to brown. Turn the toasted almonds out onto a cool plate.

3) Serve in large bowls with greens and toasted almonds on top.

Baked (or not) Veggie Dip

Effortlessness is taken for granted. In the skills we have, we forget how it came to be that we do them effortless-ly. We forget that first we loved something and wanted to do it all the time, and then repeatedly put ourselves into a position where continued practice became a part of life.

Cooking is for me a skill that is mostly effortless, and every now and then I am reminded of where I started. My neighbor told me a funny story the other day about trying to get her husband to cook occasionally. He agreed to cook, thought it was a cool idea, and then, throughout the actual cooking process proceeded to ask questions like, “Is this the measuring cup you use? How much salt should I add? Is this the pan you would use?” She had to point out that if he was going to ask all those questions and need constant guidance, it was really like she was cooking anyway. She had been hoping that he would be able to take on the task and only call for her when dinner arrived on the table. We all had to go through the process of learning how much salt and which pan would work best, but when the skill becomes effortless, we forget.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch a cook who makes it look effortless. Another neighbor, and CSA sharer, Courtney, whipped up some game snacks for a World Cup game a few days ago, and her work was impressive. She knew exactly where everything was, she had a plan, and her work was done efficiently. I never once pained while watching her, and in fact, marveled at her plan and technique.

Her brilliant and simple idea was to make a baked veggie dip using kale, spinach and broccoli from our CSA box. I riffed on her idea and spiced it up just a bit with some jalapeno. If you choose to bake it, do it quickly as the greens will brown under heat. I heated the one above under the broiler for just a few minutes which seemed to work well.

Baked Veggie Dip

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch “adolescent” kale, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil
  • 2 0z. cream cheese
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup white cheese (provolone, mozzarella, cheddar)
  • Dash salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • splash of milk

Directions:

Saute garlic for a minute in hot olive oil, add broccoli, kale and spinach. Cook until veggies are bright green and wilted.

Cut the hard cheeses into small chunks and run through the food processor, or grate them if you don’t have a processor. Add the cream cheese, jalapeno, basil, salt and pepper and the sautéed veggies. Pulse the processor until everything starts to pull together. Add the milk through the feed tube until the dip is creamy.

Put the dip into a small baking dish or ramekin. Bake for a few minutes right under the broiler until bubbly and beginning to brown.

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Curly Kale Chips

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Curly kale, curly kale, curly kale! Now that is something to celebrate! When I saw the bright green and purple leaves bubbling out of this week’s CSA it was like a giant edible ribbon on a birthday present. I’ve become a fiend for nutty crunchy kale chips – a highly palatable way to get calcium! Of course I did not make them the same as I did a few weeks ago; I have an incessant need to always change.

These were made on the same premise as my original recipe, but instead had an Asian flair with peanut oil, sesame seeds, ground ginger and rice vinegar. I also sprinkled the salt on them once they were on the cookie sheet as it’s easy to add too much. Paired with braised leeks and brussel sprouts, the surprise crunch topped the cake!

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Braised Brussel Sprouts with Curly Kale Chips – Recipe

Brussel Sprouts – Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts, washed and halved
  • peanut oil
  • 2 small leeks, washed and sliced
  • dash rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Kale Chips – Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and deveined
  • peanut oil
  • ground ginger
  • sesame seeds
  • salt/pepper
  • hot pepper flakes

Brussel Sprouts – Directions:

1) In a saute pan heat the peanut oil and toss in the leeks to caramelize.

2) Once the leeks begin to turn translucent, toss in the Brussel sprouts and cook on medium heat until they being to brown.

3) After the leeks and Brussel sprouts are well browned, deglaze the pan with a splash of rice vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Kale Chips – Directions:

1) Tear kale into small pieces after it is deveined.

2) In a bowl, toss kale with a little drizzle of peanut oil and a shake of rice vinegar. The kale should be lightly coated.

3) Next, place the kale chips in one layer on a cookie sheet or two.

4) Sprinkle the chips with sesame seeds, ground ginger, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

5) Bake at 375 degrees until the chips are crisp. It is important to use dry kale to make these otherwise they will steam, and it will take much longer to bake them. If they are dry, the baking time should be about seven minutes.


Dinosaur Chips

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The other day one of my neighbors and I were comparing CSA stories. In sharing with me some of her experiences with veggies she doesn’t normally buy like romanesco, fennel and kale, she mentioned having made kale chips. She said she tossed them with a little olive oil and salt and baked them until they started to brown. She also mentioned that she tried them at the co-op once where they had been tossed in vinegar before baked. A better way to go, she thought.

So, I tried it. Dinosaur kale, deveined, tossed in a little olive oil, sage leaves, salt, crushed red pepper and a dash of vinegar. Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees just until they start to brown on the edges (about seven minutes). Very nutty, very crunchy, very lizard-looking snack.

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