Killer Kale

How do you make kale, a perfectly green and friendly vegetable, into a horrific Halloween prop? Read on.

So I’m sure you’re an expert at making kale chips by now, right? This generation of healthy kiddos will probably one day commiserate about how the moms all banded together and forced their children to enjoy these as a backseat snack, passing them off as junk food just because they were crunchy and salty. Well, recently, I’ve been even sneakier. I’ve taken the kale chips, popped them into the food processor, and created kale dust. I’ve been ‘dusting’ the toddler’s meal with this for weeks – eggs, grilled cheese, pasta, anything!  So, when we had to come up with a ‘spooky’ appetizer for a Halloween party and we inventoried the pantry, this is what we came up with:

Don’t be scared. Enjoy your kale dust any way you please.

Cemetery Bruschetta

2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic
5 whole black peppercorns
1 white or yellow onion, peeled and halved
salt and pepper to taste
kale dust
1 recipe focaccia bread (Do not top with herbs or salt.)

  1. Rinse and drain beans. Simmer for about an hour and a half covered on low with the bay leaves, garlic, onion halves, and peppercorns.
  2. Remove beans with skimmer and add salt and pepper.
  3. Puree in food processor until smooth.
  4. Spread on a rectangular plate.
  5. Coerce your loved one into carving tombstones out of focaccia bread.
  6. Stand tombstones in bean puree. Dust with kale.

Triticale for Dinner

Triticale (be sharp, say it trit-a-kay-lee)  is a really delicious grain that we can get locally from Nash’s. It’s a cross breed of wheat and rye and is terribly nutritious for you. Small Scale Grain Raising has some more interesting history about this fairly new grain as well as some interesting bread and cookie recipe that I’ll have to try soon. We like it because it’s easy to cook, puffs up nicely, and really gives a good ‘pop’ in your mouth when you chew it. I have made it just as a simple side with butter and salt and pepper, but tonight I decided to jazz it up a little and make it the main dish. (Inspiration being that there just wasn’t much in the fridge, and I couldn’t bear to eat another meal that involved carrots.)

1 cup triticale
1 cup white beans
2 bay leaves

3-4 slices of thick bacon, diced
1 large shallot (or a few small ones), diced small
1 bunch of kale, cut into ribbons
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper

Makes 4 servings.

  1. In the morning, prepare the beans and the triticale to soak. Rinse and pick through. (Be especially careful with the triticale. We always seem to find small stones in ours.) In two separate bowls, cover both with water and leave at room temperature.
  2. When ready to cook, rinse each thoroughly.  Cook the beans with two bay leaves in a covered pot on low for one hour. Cook the triticale on low for one hour also. (Next time, I don’t see why I couldn’t cook them both together, as they took the same amount of cooking time. This time, I left them separate so that I could adjust cooking times, if need be.)
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a pot large enough to hold your finished product, brown bacon over medium. Stir often to get an even browning. When it is almost satisfyingly brown, throw in the shallot and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Add kale and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.
  6. Add stock, season with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low. Add back in the cooked beans and cooked grain. Put a lid on it and cook for about 15 minutes until the kale is stewed and everything else is reaheated.

Notes:

  • Serve with large croutons, crusty bread, or perhaps even a scrumptious cornbread.
  • Some friends of ours are diligently blogging about the dark days challenge. While we haven’t officially entered the challenge, a lot of what we cook counts. This meal certainly does! The bacon was home-smoked (from a pig who lived it’s life just a few blocks away), the veggies were all local, and even the bay leaves were from a plant that we grew (and alas, eventually killed). Check out the challenge and see if you can meet it!

Kale and Potato Frittata

This is a quick one-skillet meal that works for brunch or dinner and provides a creative use for kale.

3-4 medium-sized potatoes, red or yellow
1 onion
1 bunch kale
5-6 eggs
butter
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

  1. Rinse and slice kale into large ribbons. Wash potatoes and cut into about 1/2 inch cubes. (No need to peel.)  Add the potatoes to  a 10-inch cast iron skillet and cover with about an inch of water. Heat to a low boil and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Then, add the kale and continue to cook until wilted. Drain. Set aside on a dry cloth, and dry the skillet.
  2. Slice onion into about 1/2 inch cube. Heat about 2 tbls. butter in the skillet over medium-low.  Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Gently squeeze kale and potatoes out in the cloth, so that they are dry.  Add to the skillet.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for about 1-2  minutes.  Spread the mixture out evenly in the pan.
  4. Scramble the eggs and pour into the skillet. Pour around the edge of the pan first and then into the center.
  5. Watch the eggs. When they begin to cook, lift the edge with a spatula and tilt the pan so the uncooked egg slides over the edge and begins to cook.
  6. Take skillet off heat and place in the oven. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the top is set.

Kale with Sausage

Yep. Another meal with sausage.

Kale and sausage - dinner in 20 minutes4 oz. Italian sausage, bulk (if you have links, just open and break it up)
one clove of garlic, minced
a few red pepper flakes
one large bunch of kale

  1. In a flat skillet or pan,  heat a scant tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about one minute.
  2. Add the sausage and begin to cook  over medium. With the back of a spoon, break it up as it cooks, so that it begins to look crumbled. Cook, stirring often, until browned.
  3. Meanwhile,  rinse, de-rib, and slice the kale. Shake off most of the water, but not all. When the sausage is browned, add it to the pan and stir around. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook the kale, stirring every once in awhile, until it is tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve as a sausage-ful side or toss with a little bit of pasta for a meal.