How many times did Batman have to fight off a villain before the Gotham police stopped labeling him a vigilante? Superheroes are often misunderstood. Some people find them threatening.
So goes it with Kale, an unabashed superhero among the other bright stars in the community garden. A single 33-calorie cup of raw kale contains over 100 percent of the RDA of Vitamins A, K and C. It also has decent amounts of other vitamins, minerals and fiber. If that isn’t enough, kale contains the powerful disease fighting antioxidants Quercetin and Kaempferol.
While some of us hale kale, others find it absolutely revolting. How can this superhero of foods find its way into the hearts of the skeptics? For those of you who have family and friends who balk at your sumptuous kale salads and savory white bean and kale soup, I have your answer… apple kale muffins. We can slowly and gently introduce kale (or any other misunderstood vegetable) by adding it to a familiar and generally well-liked food. You could even go rogue, slap on some frosting and call these babies cupcakes.
Kale for dessert….how can anyone be skeptical about that?
APPLE KALE MUFFINS
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 egg
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 ½ cup peeled and grated apples (I mix ¾ cup grated carrots and ¾ cup grated apples to give it a nice color and add more nutrition)
- 1 cup chopped kale (with stems removed)
- ½ cup dried fruit and or nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. In another bowl, mix honey, egg, yogurt, oil, vanilla, apples, kale and dried fruit/nuts. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fill 12 greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes.
KALE SALAD WITH MANGO
Really enjoyed our kale haul from our LCF CSA today! Made a delicious Kale Salad with Mango. Everyone loved it as a side dish for dinner. It would make a great meal all to itself with some fresh goat cheese. Here’s the link to the original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/massaged-kale-salad-recipe-1952450
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut kale leaves from the stem, and into inch sized pieces, remember the kale will shrink a bit once heated
- Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet
- Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt
- Bake for 5 minutes, or until Crisp
- *Kale chips are easy to over cook, so be cautious of this when cooking the chips
KALE STRAIGHT UP
A few years ago, I visited Giada De Laurentiis’s restaurant and ordered a Kale salad. It was magnificent. She did something to her Kale that made it greener, softer and less bitter than what I was used to. She treated her leaves so that the cellulose fiber started to break down or digest. In doing so, she enhanced the color and texture of the salad. There are a few methods to transform the leaves. First, separate the stems from the leaves. You can use the stems later in soup.
Method #1: Massage. Put the leaves in a large bowl with the juice of one lemon and a tsp of salt and massage away. It usually takes 2-5 minutes to get the leaves soft and vibrant green.
Method#2: Acid bath. Cut the leaves into ¼-½ strips and let them sit in an acidic dressing like a vinaigrette. I find that this is the easiest method.
Method #3: Blanch. Drop the leaves in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then quickly rinse with cold water, being careful not to overcook.
I prefer method #2 for two reasons. Kale contains oxalic acid which binds to iron. Cooking the kale, even just a little, releases some of that oxalic acid thus allowing the iron to be more bioavailable. (Pairing the kale with a vitamin C source in the salad will also help it get absorbed). The other reason I prefer this method is that it is so easy! I usually blanch up my farm bundle and then take it out and just add it to any meal.
Here is a take on Giada De Laurentiis’ Kale Salad:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Juice of one lemon and one orange
- 1-2 tbl agave nectar or other sweetener
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ cup Walnuts
- ½ cup dried cherries or 1 cup fresh cherries (pitted and halved)
- ½ cup cucumber
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 cup cooked Farro
- 1 bunch of blanched kale leaves
Make the dressing from the olive oil, salt, agave and citrus juices
Mix in with kale, farro, cherries and cucumber
Top with walnuts and goat cheese before serving.
**If you are still unsure of how to use your abundance of kale each week, try making a smoothie! Four parts Fruit, 1 Part Greens, top with Almond Milk and Peanut butter and blend until your preferred consistency**