• Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

    This week we are privileged to be receiving lacinato, or dinosaur or Tuscan kale, in our distribution. Even though I featured kale last week, I wanted to briefly talk about this variety, as it is often new to many CSA members. I am re-posting my write-up on lacinato kale from several years ago, as I have not been able to transfer it over it this blogspot, but I have added an additional recipe to the post that I just came up with this week. Enjoy!!

    Featured Item—Lacinato Kale

    This flat leaf kale with blue-green, deeply textured leaves is a bit sweeter and more tender than other kale varieties. Like all kale, it is rich in vitamins A, C, and K and high in beta-carotene, antioxidants, and fiber. For interesting information on the health benefits of kale, check out http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

    Lacinato kale leaves and stems are edible either raw or cooked. However, unlike more tender greens like Swiss chard or spinach, they have a firmer texture and take longer to cook. I personally love the chewiness of raw kale and eat it simply, cut into thin chiffonade and tossed with lemon vinaigrette. I also love a raw kale Caesar salad. You can find this recipe, as well as a wonderful recipe for kielbasa and kale braised in beer, in a previous post on kale (click here)

    Kale leaves can be sautéed but do well with a bit of moisture and a closed lid (braise). Water, broth, or wine works well. Kale leaves are also great to blanch and keep as an “add-in” for a variety of dishes, like casseroles, frittatas, or omelets. Blanched kale can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator or can also be frozen.

    To store kale, place dry, unwashed greens loosely in plastic.   Eat within 2-3 days (unless you blanch them), as leaves become more bitter with age.

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    An easy, fun, and kid-friendly way to prepare this kale is to season and bake the leaves at a low temperature in the oven. This produces an amazingly light and airy “chip” that is simply addictive. The following recipe is adapted from Recipezaar.com http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Kale-Chips-110071

    Prepare these yummy chips with your kids to get them involved and curious. You simply must try it!

    Lacinato Kale Chips

     INGREDIENTS:

    – 1 bunch Lacinato kale

    – 1 tablespoon olive oil

    – 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

    – 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    METHOD:

    Arrange racks in mid and lower third oven positions. Preheat oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with parchment.

    Wash kale leaves well and pat completely dry with paper towel.

    Cut leaves in half lengthwise and then remove rib (at least 2/3’s up). Cut leaves crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces.

    In a large bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt. Add kale leaves and toss well with hands, rubbing leaves between your fingers to distribute the oil mixture and to coat the leaves completely. Taste and add more garlic salt if desired.

    Divide kale pieces between the two baking sheets, laying them completely flat and trying not to overlap any pieces.

    Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes, switching baking sheets on racks after 10 minutes.   Kale chips should be completely airy and crisp, but not brown. Avoid browning them or they will get bitter.

    NOTES:

    Experiment with other kale varieties or vinegars. Also try sprinkling with Parmesan cheese as it first comes out of the oven. I love the tang of the added vinegar, but many recipes leave it out. Try it both ways.

    My oven runs a little hot so I in order to avoid browning them before they are completely dry, I turn down the oven temperature by about 10-15 degrees.

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    I love the combination of salmon, potato, and kale. This dish is killer comfort food for a cooler day. The creaming technique works great with the Lacinato variety of kale because it’s leaves are tenderer than other varieties. This would also work great with spinach or Swiss chard.

    Potato Crusted Salmon with “Creamed” Lacinato Kale   Serves 2

     INGREDIENTS:

    – 2 6 ounce fillets of salmon, skin on

    – 1 small russet potato

    – 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    – 1 teaspoon chopped chives or parsley

    – 3 tablespoons olive oil

    – 1 bunch cleaned Lacinato kale, ribs removed up 2/3’s of leaves

    – 1 tablespoon minced green garlic or 1 teaspoon minced garlic

    – 2 teaspoons olive oil

    – 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth or water

    – 3 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream

    METHOD:

    Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 400.

    Chop kale into very small pieces. In a medium size skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil until hot. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add stock or water and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside while making the salmon.

    Grate potato on box grater. Over a sink, squeeze grated potatoes to remove excess water.

    Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Mix mustard and chives and spread evenly over un-skinned side of salmon. Press grated potato onto salmon pieces and pat to compact well (it helps to wear plastic gloves or use a sheet of plastic wrap to keep potato from sticking to hands).

    Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in 10-inch non-stick skillet on medium-high heat until shimmering and very hot. Using a spatula as an aid, pick up salmon pieces and very gently tip over so salmon is potato-side down. Cook without disturbing for 5 minutes, or until a thick golden crust forms on each piece. Disturbing the pieces too early will cause the potato to break apart and get greasy. Carefully use a spatula to remove pieces from pan and gently flip back over, skin side down, onto foil-lined sheet.

    Cook for 7-10 minutes or until internal temperature of salmon registers 145 degrees.

    Just before salmon is finished, rewarm kale mixture on medium heat for a couple of minutes until heated through. Remove from heat, add sour cream and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more sour cream, if needed. Divide mixture between two plates.

    Slide a thin spatula under each salmon piece to release it from its skin. Put salmon piece atop kale mixture and serve.

    NOTES:

    Pre-packaged and thawed hash brown potatoes work also.

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    This salad is addictive and hearty enough for a one-bowl meal. It is great to take on picnics. The ham and cumin add smoky elements that make it a wonderful complement to grilled, smoked, or gamey foods. If you are vegetarian, try substituting tempeh or roasted salted peanuts for the ham.

    The original recipe for this salad came from the 2005-2006 edition of the The Best American Recipes by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens. My contribution was in adding the kale, which gives it a wonderful textural, visual, and nutritional boost.

    Wild Rice, Kale, and Chickpea Salad                                              Serves 6-8

    INGREDIENTS:

    – 1 1/2 cups wild rice

    – 1 tablespoon kosher salt

    – 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    – 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    – 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

    – 1 tablespoon honey

    – 1 tablespoon ground cumin

    – 1 teaspoon curry powder

    – pinch cayenne

    – 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    – 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    – 8 ounces smoked ham, diced

    – 8 small scallions, thinly sliced

    – 1/4 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries

    – freshly ground black pepper

    – hot sauce

    – 3-4 cups thinly sliced and chopped Lacinato kale

    METHOD:

    1. Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Add the wild rice and salt and simmer over medium heat until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

    2. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, cumin, curry powder and pinch of cayenne. Add the oil and whisk until combined.

    3. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, ham, scallions, raisins and wild rice and toss well with dressing. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Right before serving, add kale and mix well. Serve at room temperature. Mixture can be refrigerated overnight but it is best to reserve kale and add it at the last minute. Bring salad to room temperature and toss well before serving.

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