Monday, July 7, 2014

Kale to the Chief - Spicy Kale with Walnuts

I have been preparing for a couple of smoothie/juice workshops I'm giving at the local library in August (free and open to the public by the way... there are still a few seats available for the 2nd workshop, so if you are in the central NJ area consider killing an hour joining us).  Over the next few weeks I'll be posting a few of the drinks I have been experimenting with. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, some of the smoothies in contention make use of ingredients I would never have thought to toss in a drink until I started a little research.  Such as basil.

 Or kale.

Wait ... what?  

Kale?   Basil I could understand ... it pairs nicely with fruit and holds its own in a drink.  

But kale??

In a smoothie???

Why yes, Dear Reader.  Kale.

Kale is a very healthy cruciferous vegetable.  According to webMD, calling kale healthy is an understatement.  It is a superfood.  One cup of chopped kale contains only 33 calories, yet  headspinning amounts of antioxidant vitamins:  vitamins A (206%),  C (134%) and  K (684%).  If you were to eat a serving of kale and manage to cut yourself, you'd heal faster than Wolverine).

Seriously though, with such a high concentration of vitamin K,  hold off on enjoying the stuff if you are currently taking anticoagulants until you first consult with your physician.

Kale can have a rather strong taste, so in smoothies it is combined with other strong flavors to mute its grassiness.

Despite massive smoothie-testing, the kale in my fridge somehow kept regenerating itself every night.  So I decided to enjoy it a more normal way for a change and cook it.

Besides the usual spicy spices, some toasted walnuts also got tossed in.  I recently received a large bag o'walnuts from California Walnuts because they liked my parve Mock Chopped Liver (you can also view the recipe on Food52) so I've been looking for any excuse to use walnuts.  By the way, walnuts are a powerhouse in their own right (since I'm focusing on kale right now, I'll sing the virtues of walnuts in a future post).

First toast the walnuts in a large skillet, then continue with the recipe.  No need to wipe out the pan, saving you some energy.


Spicy Kale with Walnuts
Adapted from 101cookbooks
Yield: 4 servings

1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. schug (or crushed red pepper), or to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tightly packed cups rinsed and roughly chopped kale
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup parve/vegetarian chicken broth
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see how to toast nuts here)

In a large skillet or pot heat oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, stir in schug (or crushed red pepper),  cumin, turmeric and oregano, and stir constantly for 30 seconds until fragrant.






















Add kale, half of the salt, and broth. Bring to a boil (which happens rather quickly), then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until broth reduces completely, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and walnuts.  Taste and add remaining salt along with additional schug if needed.

Serve alongside your main course.

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