Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vegetable Feature: Green Curly Kale

By Andrea Yoder

     In the foreward to her book, Brassicas—Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables…, Laura B. Russell states “When Hippocrates said ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,’ there’s little doubt in my mind  that he was referring to foods drawn from the brassica family.”  We thought it fitting, given the topic of our main article, to feature green curly kale.  This is just one of several varieties of kale we grow.  Our other varieties include red curly, lacinato and baby kale as well as collard greens.  These greens vary from others we’ve sent your way in that their leaves are thicker than say spinach.  As such, they need to be cooked a little longer or “marinated” to soften the leaves.
     Kale may be eaten raw or cooked.  Raw kale salads have become quite popular in recent years and are great for the summer when lettuce and spinach are less available.  If you choose to eat kale raw, we recommend thinly slicing it and “marinating” it for 30 minutes or more with oil and/or an acidic ingredient (such as vinegar or lemon juice) to soften the leaves and make them more palatable.  Kale may also be stir-fried, sautéed, steamed or added to soups, stews and the like.  Baked kale chips are also a fun way to eat kale and a healthy alternative to potato chips!  Due to the recent surge in popularity of kale, there are loads of recipes available on the internet.  We hope you enjoy your “Wisconsin Superfood” this week!

Kale Chips with Almond Butter and Miso

Yield:  4-6 servings

¼ cup almond butter
2 Tbsp warm water
¼ cup chopped onion
1 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp white miso
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp tamari
¼ tsp ground turmeric
⅛ to ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 bunch green or red curly kale, washed
Salt, to taste

1.       Preheat the oven to 300°F.  Lightly grease two sheet trays and set aside.
2.       Place all of the ingredients except the kale and salt into a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth. 
3.       Shake any excess water off of the kale.  Strip the leaves off the main stem.  Discard the stems and tear the leaves into large bite-sized pieces.  Place the leaves into a large mixing bowl and drizzle the almond butter mixture on top.  Using your hands or tongs, mix the kale to evenly coat all of the pieces with the almond butter mixture.
4.       Spread the kale pieces evenly on the two sheet trays and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pans from the oven and lightly toss the kale pieces.  Return the pans to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until all the pieces are crispy. 
5.       Remove from the oven and let cool, then carefully lift the kale chips off the baking sheets and serve.

Recipe adapted from one originally published in Food & Wine magazine in March 2012.

Vegetable Quesadillas with Pistachio-Kale Pesto

Yield:  4 servings quesadillas and 1 cup pesto

Kale Pesto:
½ cup pistachios
1 clove garlic
½ cup olive oil
2 cups raw kale, packed
2 cups basil, loosely packed
Juice of 1 lemon, more to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Quesadilla Filling:
2 medium zucchini
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cheese, shredded (variety to your liking)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tortillas (9-10-inch)

1.       Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Cut zucchini into slices ¼-inch thick.  Lay them on a sheet tray and brush with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Flip the slices over and repeat on the other side.  Thinly slice the onions and toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat.  Put the onions on the sheet tray with the zucchini.  Place in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until the zucchini are tender.  You may need to remove the onions before the zucchini is finished. 
2.        While the zucchini is baking, prepare the pesto.  Place all the ingredients for the pesto into a high speed blender or a food processor.  Blend until nearly smooth. Adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.
3.       Assemble the quesadillas.  Spread approximately 2 Tbsp of kale pesto on half of each tortilla.  Top with zucchini slices, onion, and cherry tomatoes.  Sprinkle cheese on top of each tortilla, then fold in half. 
4.       Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add ½ Tbsp olive oil. When the skillet is warm, add the quesadillas and cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. Cut into quarters or thirds and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from one originally sourced from

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