Friday, April 30, 2010

What the heck do I do with.....Kale???

mmmmm Kale! I think Kale is my favorite green. It grows early in spring, throughout the summer and well into fall and is PACKED with nutrition. Let's check out the stats:
As a member of the Brassica family (think Brussels Sprouts, cabbage), kale has anti-cancer fighting properties in it's organsulfur compounds and phytonutrients. It is loaded with Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and minerals (iron, calcium, potassium).
1 cup of kale has a whopping 36 calories, 3g fiber and 2.5g protein!!!
So what the heck do you do with it??
Well, one easy way to prepare it is to simply saute it with garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of honey and lemon juice and some sea salt. I prepared it for a client this week; here's a picture:
What you want to do is get a nice big head of kale and wash it thoroughly. First, remove the leaves from the stems. Pile one leaf on another and roll them up tight. Take a sharp knife and cut across the leaves, cutting the kale into thin strips. Put the cut kale into a bowl of cold water and swish it around, then let it soak for a bit. When you want to cook it, simply lift the kale out the water, letting the bottom remain undisturbed (that's where the dirt will be).

Take a big non stick pan and over medium-low heat, in a coating of olive oil, sweat out 2-3 minced cloves of garlic until they have softened up. Add the kale in to the pan. It's going to look like too much for the pan, but what will start to happen is, the kale will wilt as it gets the heat. Add a couple pinches of sea salt, the juice of half a lemon and about a TBS of honey. Stir the kale around so it gets coated with all the goodies and then cover the pan. Let the kale steam up for about 2 minutes, then take the cover off and saute the kale for about 5-8 more minutes. That's it.

My favorite way to use kale is to bake it, making kale chips. Kale chips are an amazing treat, tasting just like potato chips, but without the guilt of potato chips.
To make kale chips, remove the stems from the leaves, and then simply tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Wash as directed above, and then allow the leaves to dry, on a baking sheet. When they have dried up, sprinkle them with sea salt, about 1-2 tsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Coat all the leaves, and then bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Be careful, because once the kale gets going, it cooks quickly and you want to prevent burning, because it will be bitter. At the 10 minute mark, give the leaves a stir. That's it....
If you are a raw foodist, you can prepare the kale in a dehydrator set for 105 degrees, for approximately 8 hrs and you'll get the same effect.

Here's some kale from my most wonderful CSA, Stillman's Farm:

Can't wait for it to start!!!
Be sure to try some kale soon!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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Monday, April 26, 2010

What the heck do I do with.....Cod???

Welcome to the 1st edition of "What the heck do I do with...???", a series of posts dedicated to seasonally, possibly local, maybe strange, ingredients. I'm starting with good old cod, a flaky, white fish, which has a mild flavor. Cod is a great low calorie source of protein and has a variety of nutrients (vitamin B, potassium, selenium, tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids).

Due to it's mild flavor and flaky consistency, cod can easily be used to make cod cakes.

To make cod cakes, cook cod fillets in about 1 inch of lightly salted water; this should take around 6 minutes. Remove the cods and put them on a plate with paper towel to drain and dry.
Pat the fillets dry and flake them in a bowl into medium flakes.

To bind the fish together, in this recipe I used an egg yolk and greek yogurt as well as whole wheat panko crumbs. For flavor I added minced scallions, chopped parsley, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and S+P. You could use a whole egg or mayo (but I feel that adds unnecessary fat).

Once you have your basic mix, you form them into patties, and bread with a coating of panko crumbs. This is best done by placing a bed of crumbs out on a plate and pressing the cod patty into the crumbs.

At this point, the cod cakes could be refrigerated for a couple hours to set up, but this step is not required. It is a good option however, for those who need to juggle their time. Set the cakes up ahead of time and cook later in the day after you work or you do whatever you have to do.

Pan saute the cakes in canola oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then flip. You can see in the pictures that not much oil is needed; only enough to coat the bottom of the pan should do it. Beware of wanting to rush the cooking by turning the heat too high. The crust will brown too quickly before the cod cake "cooks" through, so be sure to keep the heat on medium.

Once you flip, cook the cod cake on the other side another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and season while still warm with a pinch of salt.

These cod cakes are worth giving a try. You could even substitute other fish or shellfish and I'm sure the result would be great (crab for instance).
If you have any questions please email or leave a comment.