Why are we pushing the green stuff? 1) It's packed with nutrients! 2) It supports local farmers (it grows well into the fall after many other crops can no longer survive), and 3) It helps us meet our mission of reducing our reliance on imported foods.
Cathy Richards is a Community Nutritionist, but even she admits to struggling to use up her bin of veggies, blaming her struggle on her singleness. "After working with nutrition issues all day long, sometimes I don't want to think about food at all when I get home. It's so much easier to buy a Sub with extra veggies than to cook a full meal deal just for me. But I hate composting unused veggies at the end of the week, so I've learned a few tricks for using them up, especially kale."
Cathy keeps home made soup in the freezer. It heats up nicely with some extra milk or water, and chopped kale. "I had quite a bit of kale, about the same volume as the soup, because it cooks down so nicely. I let it simmer for 5 minutes or so, covered, and I've got a nice nutritious dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day."
Her other "cheat" is to cover the bottom of a casserole dish with an inch or two of chopped kale. Then she tops it with veggies, quickly browned meat, and a jar of sauce or soup with an equal amount of water or milk, and Mrs. Dash's Hot and Spicy mix. She bakes it, covered for 20 minutes at 350 F and another 20 minutes uncovered, and serves over rice or quinoa. "It's basically chicken in sauce with veggies, but the kale in the bottom adds a nice colour and oodles of nutrients."
Kale - What to do with it?!
First the "why"...kale is not only incredibly nutrient-packed, it's also easy and tasty to eat!
- Remove the center stalk/stem of the kale - wash and shake the kale leaves, and rip the leaf off in chunks from the stem.
- Steam or saute the kale with just the water clinging to the leaves until just tender, but still brightly colored (approx. 5 minutes).
- Add a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice, and fresh herbs (fresh chopped dill and crushed garlic are particularly nice).
- Or try it Asian style with a sprinkle of tamari (or soy sauce) and toasted sesame seeds.
- If you're in a rush, it's just as tasty with just a dab of butter (for non-vegans).
- For finicky eaters (child or adult!), try chopping kale (or other greens) very finely, and mixing into garlic mashed potatoes or yams, spaghetti sauces, soups (then puree to hide the evidence!)...who could resist?!
- Try chopping it finely and add to cole slaw, carrot or beet salad or on your sandwich instead of lettuce.
And finally, a very simple recipe for all to try - delicious for colder days!
Winter Kale & Potato Soup (adapted from Laurel's Kitchen)
Try this one for a quick, easy, and tasty way to serve up kale to "non-believers"!! This is wonderful served piping hot in the cool months with fresh, crusty bread!
1 large onion (or substitute leeks or shallots)
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 big potatoes, cubed
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large bunch kale
5 cups hot water or stock
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper
Saute onion in butter (or oil), cooking and stirring until clear and slightly golden. About halfway, add the garlic; when the onion is done, crush the garlic with a fork.
Add the potatoes and carrots, and 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables start to soften around the edges. Meantime, wash the kale, remove stems, chop, and steam. (Don't try to cook the kale with the potatoes, as the flavor will be too strong.)
When the potatoes are very well done, puree half of them with remaining water and the salt and pepper. Combine all and heat gently, correcting the consistency if necessary by adding hot water or milk.
Makes about 6 cups and serves 4 if no extra water is added.
Contributed by Urban Harvest Organic Delivery in Kelowna
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