Kale

That one word may turn off a bunch of people but….I’m new to this Vegetable and I find I really love it.  This past summer I planted one row about 20′ long of regular kale and then a few plants of Dinosaur Kale started from my Hydro deal in the dining room.  They are still out there, peaking out of a snow bank.  These things are invincible.  As the stuff kept coming no matter how much we ate or pruned or I gave away (my friend Richard took bags & bags).  I decided to start preserving the kale for winter use.  I called my friend Janet, the Master Gardener in my life, she said chop it fine, drop it in boiling water for a second, pull it out and drop in ice water then dry, bag & freeze.  Did that.  Had tons more, each day.  So, I pulled out the dehydrator and laid out leaves, minus the stems, on each rack – mine holds 6 racks, plugged it in and ran on the herb setting for a day then bagged & froze.  That worked, it was a tad crumbly but I knew it was going in soup anyway.

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This stuff is NOT what it seems…..it expands.  I put one bag, chopped, in a soup last night…..Image

This is what is left from a huge pot of soup.  I called Richard.  We are both addicted to Kale smoothies; I know, sounds gross but wicked healthy.  Last night he came right over and took at least half.  Whew.  Paul would never tolerate Kale soup many times in a row. 

Some friends had given us a mountain of sweet potatoes from their home in the Carolinas.  I went digging for a recipe in Love Soup by Anna Thomas.  This book is one of my favorites that I’ve talked about before so I won’t gab on and on.

But, deviating from the recipe a bit what I did was cook a few huge yellow onions and one red chopped up with some celery in olive oil and sea salt.  I added chopped up sweet potatoes then the kale then some chicken stock, lots of salt & pepper, more olive oil and that was that.  After it had boiled, brought it to a simmer for 1/2 hour, added two Tablespoons of lemon juice.  In the very end I threw in a small handfull of chopped ham I had left over from the quiches the other day.

My little hydro inside garden in the dining room is pumping out some greens.  I’m trying to not pick and see just how large they get.  Usually I stop by and eat a leaf or two and then start picking more and adding to our salad at night or sandwich and then by the time it should be all grown up there are just empty stems left. 

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These little guys on the end are the Dinosaur kale babies….see the curly edges beginning?

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At the other end is the Arugula.  This stuff is so awesome.  It’s really hot and spicy; extreme peppery.  We have it in scrambled egg wraps that I make in tortillas, just a leaf or two.

Although I’m not eating too much in the morning (my new regime of just a protein drink) I made some muffins for Paul and the guys this morning.  My variation of a Heidi Swanson Bran Muffin recipe.

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Flat top muffins:

2 eggs

1 C. buttermilk

1/2 C. coconut oil

1/4 C. maple syrup

1.5 C. flake cereal – not sure what I used as I recycle the boxes pronto but they were big, fat, brown flakes that I figured were health food stuff as Paul wouldn’t eat it.

Mix the liquids together in a large bowl, add the cereal and let sit a few minutes.

Add, once mixed together:

1 C. whole wheat flour

1/4 C. organic sugar

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Mix into the wet, add:

handful of dried cherries or whatever you have around

handful of chopped walnuts or sliced almonds or not.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

This is one of those let cool on rack and then 5 minutes later take out of baking cups pan.  The batter is very moist and if you don’t get them out they will stick forever.  So, give it five so it has time to pull together then lift out and continue cooling.

Very yummy.

This has nothing to do with Food & Fiber but if you read the New Yorker or can get a hold of one there are two fascinating articles this week, January 14 issue.  One is “Outsource Yourself” by Patricia Marx which is about all the little businesses that people will bid out weird jobs….like who will sort my kids legos? or can someone write me some comments about a book for my book club so I can seem smart; or better yet, who will bid on making me some madelines that I can serve to my book club guests, and please deliver it.  Geech.  Task Rabbit, Zaarly, Elance, etc. and cheap, cheap, cheap.  So odd, what a crazy ass world we live in.

The other article is John McPhee, one of my most favorite authors other than my friend Ann Beattie, who writes about sentence structures.  Wholly mackeral, what he goes through to write his stories….cutting up sentences and actually moving them around a table, structural outlines, Kedit (never heard of this but very cool) etc.  I am doing this no justice, you just need to read it and I guaranteed you will value the next story you read by one of these Pro’s (not your average Joe who is pumping out these new “novels” that show up everywhere).  A well written book flows and you savor every sentence.  For me this article explains why….good to know.  Reading is the best!  (says the daughter of a lifetime librarian!).

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