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kale Tag

Rice & Beans PeppersFrom Cuban black beans with yellow rice to Indian ramjah (kidney beans) with basmati rice, rice and beans is a classic, versatile dish that’s found throughout most cultures around the globe. Rice and beans are hearty, inexpensive, and super adaptable, making them a worthwhile addition to anyone’s kitchen repertoire. The key to making this not only a belly-filling meal, but also a nourishing and nutritious one is using whole grains and loading up on veggies. The recipe below uses heart-healthy brown rice, and loads of Blooming Glen Farm-fresh veggies that are packed with vitamins and minerals. The black beans bring plant-based protein, making this a nice rounded and complete meal.

As with many recipes on this blog, the one below is very much open for alterations, depending on your particular tastes, what you have available in your pantry, and what veggies you may need to use up from your share.  I’ve added lots of peppers to this version, since they’re abundant right now. The poblano peppers add a tiny bit of heat, while the frying peppers bring in some sweetness.  Greens are always a good thing to add to your meals; using them here brings in a satisfying chewiness, perfectly complimented by the soft peppers and beans.  Corn would be a nice addition and so would zucchini — feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand!  You can substitute pinto or other beans in place of the black beans. You can even skip the rice and serve the beans over baked or smashed potatoes (leave skins on) or another whole grain. Experiment and have fun 🙂

Recipe note: I make rice and beans by first getting the rice going in a rice cooker, then moving on to the prep and cooking of the beans.  In most cases, by the time the beans are done, so is the rice.

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans

Ingredients
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (~1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
4 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
1+ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1+ cup kale, chopped fine
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (~2 cups)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1+ cup broth (No-Chicken Broth is good here)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 cups hot cooked brown rice*
Fresh cilantro (optional)
* I prepare rice for this recipe with broth, rather than water.

Method
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for a minute or two, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and spices, cook for one minute more. Add peppers. greens, and tomatoes, stir well, and cook until veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash 1/2-cup of the beans.

Add mashed beans, whole beans, broth, and maple syrup to the skillet. Turn up heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until reduced to desired thick consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, topped with cilantro.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

sweet potatoesIt’s hard to find a person who can’t appreciate sweet potatoes. They’re often something I recommend to clients who need to add a little more color into their diets — both literally and figuratively — because their sweet flavor, beautiful color and ease of preparation make them a relatively safe new veggie to try.  I’ve found that sweet potatoes, specifically fresh ones, have the ability to impress even the most fastidious of palates 🙂

Nutritionally speaking, sweet potatoes are most noted for providing beta carotene, which helps increase the cancer-fighting antioxidant, vitamin A in our blood. They also provide a healthy shot of fiber, vitamin C and manganese, in a low calorie, low fat, low cholesterol package.  As is the case with many fruits and vegetables, it’s important to eat the skin since that’s where many of its nutritional benefits are stored.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to add far too many sweeteners in sweet potato recipes — the most classic example being, of course, the marshmallow-topped Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole! There’s nothing wrong with adding a small drizzle of maple syrup to sweet potatoes, but having these potatoes fresh in our CSA shares each week offer a great opportunity to experiment a bit and try them prepared different ways. We can simply bake them and top with a small dollop of butter, or mash them adding a sprinkle orange zest and cinnamon. They also make a good addition to soups and chilis, as seen in the chili recipe below. This chili pairs the sweet potato with savory and smokey spices, and boosts nutrition with heart-healthy black beans and one one of my all-time favorite superfoods, kale. An added bonus: In total, it uses five veggies (potatoes, kale, onion, peppers, tomatoes) from our share!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

sweet potato and black bean chili

Ingredients
2 small onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
3 – 4 cups sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced.  Leave the skin on, but cut out any gnarly spots.
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes or equal amount of fresh diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Method
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used a Dutch oven), sauté onion and garlic with a sprinkle of salt over medium-high heat for a couple minutes until onion begins to soften.  Mix in spices and cook for another minute. Add potato, kale and peppers and a splash of the broth and stir well.  Cover and cook for ~5 minutes until veggies begin to soften.  Add tomatoes, beans and broth, stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Salt and pepper to taste, serve with vegan (or dairy) sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Post sources: Nutrition Data

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Garlic scapes are the flower shoots that grow from the hard-neck varieties of garlic grown here on the farm. By plucking them from the plant, we encourage the bulbs to grow fat in the ground and simultaneously get yet another way to enjoy garlicky goodness.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the mass of these curlicues you’ve acquired in the last two weeks. Garlic scapes are wonderfully versatile. In any recipe that calls for garlic, you can replace one clove for about one scape. Because they are milder than cloves, garlic scapes can also be eaten more like a side dish than a seasoning. Just chop several into 2-inch segments and sauté on high heat with a bit of oil until they are tender and a bit caramelized.

I use garlic scape and kale pesto in this recipe to make a delicious filling for chickpea flour crepes. It may look and sound fancy, but it was a synch to whip up (I did it in about 10 minutes over lunch the other day). Chickpea flour is now widely available as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour (I think I even found it in the local Landis). If you can’t find it or don’t have it, the recipe should work just fine with whole-wheat flour.

Use the leftovers of this pungent pesto to add flavor to soup or steamed veggies, toss with pasta, or garnish a rich piece of grilled meat.

Chickpea Flour Crepes with Savory Sautéed Veggies

Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a non-stick or cast iron pan. When oil is hot, add 1 cup sliced summer squash. When squash is tender, add 1 cup chopped kale, Swiss chard, or beet greens. Cook until greens are just wilted. Toss veggies with 2 tablespoons garlic scape pesto.

Whisk together one egg, ½ cup chickpea flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in warm water until the batter becomes thin and pourable (thinner than pancake batter).

Ladle a small amount of the batter onto a hot, non-stick griddle or pan. Using the back of the ladle, spread the batter into a thin layer about the size of a tortilla. Carefully flip the crepe with a large spatula when the top starts to form bubbles and the bottom is golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Spoon some vegetable mixture in the center of a crepe, sprinkle with some crumbled goat or feta cheese, and fold crepe over into a large taco shape.

Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto

In a food processor combine:

4-5 garlic scapes, chopped
½ cup kale, chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds (*pesto hint: you can replace pine nuts with sunflower seeds in almost any pesto recipe for a nearly identical taste at a much more affordable price)
juice of 1 small lemon
pinch of salt

Process until garlic and kale are minced and ingredients are well blended together. Pesto can be stored in the fridge for about a week.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, Colorado native, and food lover. 

Lemon & Leek Kale SaladKale shares similar health benefits with its friend, Swiss chard. In addition to being a cancer-fighting and heart health-promoting superhero (thanks to all those antioxidants), kale’s omega-3 and enormous vitamin K content make it a great tool to fight against the inflammation that’s linked to so many chronic health conditions.

My favorite benefit of kale though, is its detoxification abilities. Kale’s glucosinolates make isothiscyanates, which studies have shown assist our cell’s detox activities. The nutrition and compounds in kale assist in eliminating the toxic molecules in our body caused simply from the hazards of daily living; pollution, medication, processed food chemicals, etc.  We all could benefit from a little cleansing, right? 🙂

Kale is most often eaten cooked, but there are health benefits to eating our foods raw. The recipe below uses the acidity in fresh lemon juice to help “cook” the kale, leaving it a nice, soft and chewy texture.

Lemon & Leek Kale Salad

Lemon & Leek Kale Salad

Add dressing ingredients in a large bowl, stir until combined:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of honey (use agave for vegan version)
salt and pepper to taste

Add to bowl:
1 bunch of kale (~20 leaves), stems removed, cut into bite-sized chunks or strips.
1 leek, white part sliced in half lengthwise and then into thin half-moons.

Stir into the dressing to well coat. A great method is to use your hands and “massage” the leaves with the dressing. Allow to marinate in fridge until ready to eat (ideally 4-8 hours, but it’ll be tasty after even just 30 minutes).

Stir in 1/4 cup seeds and/or chopped nuts (sesame and pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds are a great choice) right before serving.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Minestrone means “big soup” in Italian: a big soup of many vegetables. A tasty soffritto (a base of aromatic vegetables) made of celery, onion and herbs gives this soup a rich base and fall favorites like butternut squash and kale make it healthy and hearty. Traditionally, either white beans or pasta are thrown in at the end. In this version I decided to use both to make the soup a complete meal-in-a-bowl! As the season progresses you can also make a “winter” version of this using turnips, potatoes and cabbage in place of the squash and kale.

This recipe was an adaptation of Alice Water’s recipe from her book, The Art of Simple Food.


Fall Minestrone

If you are planning on making this with beans, I first suggest soaking 1 cup dried cannellini beans in plenty of water (beans will swell) overnight so they cook quickly and retain a nice texture.

The next day when you are ready to make your soup…

-Strain beans and place in large pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender but not mushy. About 15-20 minutes. Strain cooked beans but keep the liquid for later.

-Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add 1 large onion, finely chopped and 3 stalks of celery, chopped. Saute until a rich golden brown color.

-Throw into soffritto:
1 bunch of kale or chard, roughly chopped
1 leek, diced
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of salt

-Cook for 5 more minutes until kale is wilted a bit

-Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn to medium-low heat and cook everything for 15 minutes with the lid on.

-Add 2 cups of butternut squash (about 1 small squash or 1/2 a large one) that has been peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes. Cook for 15 more minutes. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.

-Add the cooked beans along with 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid and 1 cup of dried pasta (optional). Cook for 8 more minutes until pasta is tender. If  soup is too thick, add more bean cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf.

-Serve in bowls, each garnished with some extra-virgin olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/