Knock Out That Cold [Spicy Kale Ginger Lemonade]
There is something ominous lurking around.
A dirty, nasty cold/flu that seems to be knocking my friends and family out one by one. I woke yesterday with a sandpaper throat and what felt like two corks in my sinus’. Immediately I started trying to knock it out before it did me in.
Water (a lot of water), raw garlic (mashed into yogurt), oil of oregano and two full glasses of Green Juice later, and I seem to have come out victorious. I had plans to share a galette today, but in the spirit of health, I thought I’d share the recipe for the green juice that I’m adamant saved my ass from this TKO cold.
Spicy Kale Ginger Lemonade
based on Café My House’s version
The ingredients are pretty rough here. Taste and adjust based on what you like best. This method is for those not lucky enough (like myself!) to have a juicer. It takes a little more time but it’s well worth it.
1 bunch kale (curly or lacinato), rough chopped
1 large apple (2 small), skin on, cored and rough chopped
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 english cucumber, rough chopped
large handful flat-leaf parsley
2” ginger, peeled and rough chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 - 1 cup water
Place all ingredients in a blender with the 1/2 cup of water. Blend until everything is combined in a sludgy mess. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the contents of the blender into the strainer. Using a spoon or a potato masher (I have the best success with the masher, but it’s whatever works for you) and work the juice out of the pulp until it’s fairly dry. Taste and add more lemon if needed. Chill the juice or pour over ice and serve.
Ode to the Egg [Sauteed Purple Kale with Charred Shallots & Fried Egg]
There are few things I wouldn’t do for an egg in the morning.
I wake up thinking of them, trying to recall what veg I have in the crisper, if I’ve any bread or cheese, onions or garlic, and deciding whether it’ll be fried in olive oil or scrambled low and slow until velvety and smooth. Something about an egg, so simple and pedestrian, really tugs at my heart. I adore them. And almost as much as I adore eating them, I get eager at the thought of shooting them. When the light catches a sunny yolk, it’s polished surface gleaming and flecked with pepper and salt, I can’t help but get all up in their business with a camera.
Today I bring you a very simple, incredibly nourishing breakfast (or lunch or dinner if you’re into that sort of thing - I bet you are!) that will satisfy and fill your tummy with goodness. Garlicky sauteed kale topped with sweet and slightly bitter charred shallots and a perfectly fried egg. If you added some crisp bacon or pancetta, it would be that much better.
Garlicky Purple Kale with Charred Shallots and a Fried Egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large handfuls (around 4-5 cups) curly kale
6 small shallots (4 large), sliced in half & peeled
salt and pepper
Clean and dry the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Heat a good few glugs of olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the kale and a pinch or two of salt. Toss until cooked through, about 5 minutes. It should be green and still a touch crunchy. Taste for seasoning and remove from heat.
While kale cooks, heat a skillet (dry) over high heat until hot-hot! Add the shallots, cut side down, and let them cook until blackened on the bottom, 5-6 minutes. Turn shallots and remove from heat.
In another skillet (or the same, just remove the shallots and wipe it off) over med-high heat, add a thin layer of olive oil and let it get hot. Crack the eggs into the pan (they should immediately sizzle and sputter) and cover it lightly with a plate or pot-lid. Let cook until whites are set but yolks are runny, 3 minutes.
Pile the kale onto plates and top with shallots and fried egg. Sprinkle with some flaky salt and fresh ground pepper.
A Salad to Salivate [Grilled Kale Salad with Peaches and Ricotta]
I wandered into the grocery store yesterday afternoon to pick up a few things for lunch; cheese, bread, tomatoes, greens. As usual, I left with about 10 extra items that I simply couldn’t leave behind (and that tugged mercilessly on my back muscles as I lugged them home, completely unprepared). One such item, a giant basket of glorious Ontario peaches. How could I leave them behind? Peach season is only just starting and it always seems it’s over before it’s even begun. The humble peach is one piece of produce that I can never get enough of, constantly wishing I’d sunk my teeth into just one more dribbley, juice-filled, fuzzy peach.
Sometimes it’s nice to let summer speak for itself, and this salad is one dish that does just that. The flavours of smokey, slightly bitter curly kale smoothed by creamy homemade ricotta and fragrant, juicy peaches drizzled with a sweet and tangy honey-balsamic vinaigrette. Can you feel the sides of your mouth starting to twitch and salivate? It’s totally deserving of that sort of reaction. Instead of eating the beautiful bowl I photographed, I stood hunched over the counter making tiny kale-leaf tacos stuffed with ricotta and peaches. If you want to do that, I’ll allow it, but it’s slightly more civilized, only slightly, to serve it in a dish. With utensils, even. But who am I to judge?
Grilled Kale Salad with Peaches and Ricotta
adapted from Bon Appetit
Bon Appetit used plums in their salad, but I had peaches on hand so I went that route. You can use whatever local stone-fruit is available.
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
fresh ground pepper
10-12 large curly kale leaves
4 medium peaches, halved, pitted and sliced
1 cup homemade ricotta (or high-quality store bought)
Whisk 3 tbsp olive oil, balsamic and honey together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the peaches and set aside.
Heat your grill or grill pan to high. Use remaining tbsp of olive oil to brush the kale leaves. When grill is hot, place the leaves on, turning once, until crispy and charred around the edged (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the large center stems away from the tender leaves and discard (or save for stock).
On a serving dish, place a few tbsp of ricotta, 2 kale leaves, and a spoonful or two of peaches. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette from the peach bowl on top of the salads. Season with a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper to serve.
To Nourish and Satisfy [Breakfast Salad; Baby Kale, Flavorino Tomatoes, Poached Egg]
Today is a quick post dedicated to breakfast. Simple, gratifying, nourishing breakfast.
It’s the first thing you put in your body each day, so it should be something your body can use. Something to fuel that big sexy brain of yours so you can come up with all those brilliant, life-changing ideas you have.
I’m a big, big (BIG!) fan of the breakfast salad. Greens, some fresh produce, cheese perhaps, and eggs. Maybe bacon if it’s an extra-special day. It’s healthy, it’s versatile, it feels good and most importantly, because I know how busy you all are, it’s quick and easy.
The Breakfast Salad;
[Baby Kale, Flavorino Tomatoes, Poached Eggs]
We’re lucky to have SunTech Greenhouses LTD nearby, which means we have some local tomatoes just starting to pop up on our shelves. If you don’t have any local tomatoes yet, you can simply leave them out, or you can swap them for some roasted asparagus, sliced radishes or quick roasted mushrooms.
This is a base recipe that is easily adaptable to what you have on hand or prefer.
1 or 2 poached egg per serving, recipe follows
Handful Baby Kale or Arugula, per serving
1/2 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 tbsp fruit vinegar (I use a pear/cranberry variety)*
2 tbsp best quality olive oil you can afford
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Fresh Parmesan cheese, optional
On a plate, arrange a large handful of greens. Arrange tomatoes sliced evenly on the greens and top with poached egg(s).
In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pour over the salad and top with fresh ground pepper. If using, sprinkle with a bit of fresh Parmesan cheese.
*You can find fruit vinegars at specialty food stores, but if you’re in a pinch, a 1/4 tsp of balsamic will do the trick.
A lot of people find themselves intimidated by poached eggs, but they are little more than technique and timing.
2 tsp white vinegar
Bring a medium sized pot filled about 5 inches with water to a boil. Add vinegar. Reduce heat to a rolling simmer (the top of the water should be rippling, not bubbling)
Crack one egg into a small bowl/ramekin. Rapidly whisk the simmering water in a circle creating a funnel in the center of the pot. Carefully pour your egg into the middle of the pot. It will swirl around in the pot and the goal is for the egg white strands to stay close to the egg yolk (you can help it along by using a spatula to CAREFULLY ease the whites closer to the yolk). Let it cook for 3 minutes (for runny yolk) and remove with a slotted spoon. You can do 2 eggs at a time but no more than that.
The Sale of Kale [Kale and Quinoa Pilaf with Grape Tomatoes]
My dad has taught me a lot of things.
For instance; Sales are good. Sales in abundance - better.
While this lesson is certainly valuable, my dear father had a bit of an obsessive sale problem. Upon finding 15 cans of beans in the cupboard, he’d simply look up from his newspaper and explain, “They were on sale.” It was as if there was never going to be another can of beans for $0.89 instead of $0.99. Unfortunately, there never seemed to be any sales on Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Doritos. He’s smart, that father of mine.
Though I used to chuckle about it, my dad’s love of a good sale, I often find myself stocking up on random items for no reason other than the promise of 30 cents off. If it’s not a sale, I’m picking through every single piece of produce (the stuff that isn’t charged based on weight) for the largest one I can find. I won’t be had, Grocery Lords. I won’t.
As a result of this , I am now the proud owner of a bush-sized bundle of kale. I’ve been eating the stuff at least once a day. Steamed, braised, baked, raw… I don’t know how many more kale recipes I can make in one week. It’s a race against time to finish it before it starts to fade on me. Lucky for you, you’re probably not in the same predicament and might like a little kale dish.
I decided on a very simple pilaf using some quinoa I had in the cupboard, a little crumble of goat cheese, grape tomatoes and some toasty walnuts. It’s all pulled together and brightened with a little citrus. A definite winner if you’re looking to use up an extraordinarily large bush or kale, or if you simply want a bite to eat.
Kale & Quinoa Pilaf with Grape Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
This pilaf is easily adaptable to your liking. Change the greens, the grain, the cheese or the nuts to whatever your favourites may be.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or stock
1 bunch kale (curly or lacinato), stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
two handfuls grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or nut of your choice)
Salt and Pepper
In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast the quinoa until it starts to pop, 10 minutes.
While quinoa is toasting, add the water to a large pot and season well with salt. Bring to a boil. Once quinoa is toasted, add to boiling water, turn heat down to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add kale to the pot and cover. Let it cook for another 5-10 minutes or until kale is wilted and quinoa is cooked. While cooking, combine the orange, lemon (juices + zest) and olive oil together.
Once everything is cooked and delicious, add the citrus, goat cheese and toasted nuts. Have a taste and season to your liking.
I’ll see you again real soon for another kale related delicacy. I bet you’re pretty excited, and so you should be. Until then, dear friends.
Simple Peasantries [Chipotle White Bean Stew with Sweet Potato & Kale]
I am a little neurotic. Have you noticed yet? You will.
There are days where I will be sitting at my desk, mid-conversation with a coworker, and decide I need to eat [insert food item] tonight. And if I don’t, life as I know it will cease to exist. I quickly end the conversation (because we all know that food thoughts trump real conversation), rummage through the files on my desk to find my designated ‘grocery pad’, and start scribbling down ingredients, mumbling to myself as I go.
This happened yesterday, on a day I had planned on having leftovers so I could tell you about the previous nights dinner, and disturbed my focus a little. It’s not the first time I’ve told myself to take a breath, relax for a night, and focus on the task at hand, which was sharing a lovely recipe for Chicken Provencal. Instead, I rushed to cram making dinner, walking the dog, doing the dishes and then sitting down to write out an entry (Oh,and seeing Mr. GL. He’s important, too. I like him.) into one night. This all resulted in an entry I wasn’t overly proud of. Which is annoying when you want to share a really nice recipe that deserves to be looked at.
But if dinner last night was the reason for a sub par entry, I had better make sure to at least tell you how good it was in hopes that it will make up for it. And it was quite good. I can attest to that.
There has been a big revival of peasant food in the last few years. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a large meal, often one-pot, made of easily accesible, inexpensive ingredients. Often making use of cheap cuts of meat, onions, garlic, vegetables and maybe a hunk of crusty bread if you’re lucky. These were the dishes often eaten out of necessity by the poor.
As someone who has lived alone plenty, I have a fondness for simple, one-pot, dishes. Especially when they are healthy. And even more when they are delicious. That is the most important part, after all. My neurotic episode yesterday came after glancing in the direction of some white beans and chipotle peppers, sitting completely impervious to each other on the counter. A match made in tastebud heaven. Especially when you stew them with a little kale, a touch of cinnamon, some sweet potatoes and a can of tomatoes.
This stew is simple, cheap, filling, healthy and delicious. And if you’re like me and often make more than you need for one, it reheats brilliantly. In case it wasn’t already delicious enough, I serve it on top of a hunk of bread with a poached egg perched on top. Then again, I would probably eat shards of glass if you topped them with a poached egg.
Chipotle White Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale
If you don’t like beans, add rice or barley. If you don’t like kale, add swiss chard or spinach. If you don’t like sweet potatoes, then I can offer no help for you. Basically, feel free to change things up as much as you’d like to suit your tastes.
I used canned beans in this because, as usual, I hadn’t planned ahead. If you do have time, soak some white beans overnight until tender. They hold their shape well and have much better flavour.
Serves 1 multiple times, or 3-4 one time.
1 medium onion, sliced thin or diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 900ml can plum tomatoes
2-3 (for moderate heat) chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
1 900ml can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1” cubes
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 handfuls of kale, washed, dried and cut into bite sized chunks
salt and pepper to taste
Eggs, as many as you need. (See here for poaching egg instructions from Smitten Kitchen. This method works best for me.)
Bread of your choice, sliced thick
In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, add a good layer of oil and onions. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add chipotle peppers, beans, sweet potatoes and cinnamon. Cover and simmer over medium-low until sweet potatoes beginning to soften, 15 minutes. Add kale and cook for another 5-10 minutes until kale softens. Taste for seasoning. Salt as needed.
Add a slice of bread to your bowl, ladle stew over bread, and gently place your poached egg on top.
Frivolous Spending and Frugal Beans
Everyone does them. Some willingly, some hesitantly. Some cut coupons, some buy extravagantly. I don’t often stop to look at the way I buy food. I put what I want in my basket, and I move on. I often don’t look at prices. I swipe my card confidently knowing that I don’t have to worry about the dreaded “Insuff Funds” coming up on the screen in front of me. I’m lucky. And I know there are plenty out there that don’t have this luxury. And yes, good food is a luxury. Food in general is a luxury that we don’t even think to be thankful for. A lot of us have never known anything different.
Before going any further, I want you to know that I’m certainly not trying to leap up onto my soapbox and make everyone feel badly for the way they buy food. I am more than guilty of buying things frivolously and not paying mind to how much things are or how unnecessary certain purchases may be. Please do not take this as a stern talking-to.
My friend Mel is participating in the Do The Math Challenge, which basically asks groups or individuals to live exclusively off the contents of a food hamper for as long as they can (typically 3-4 days but some can stretch it as long as 10). You’re encouraged to eat at least two meals at a drop-in but are not allowed to accept free food or drink other than that. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and ask the Ontario Government to immediately increase, by $100 a month, the social assistance received by adults in Ontario.
While I’m not participating in the challenge, I’ve definitely been paying closer attention to what I’m buying, how often, and how much I waste. Unfortunately, it’s not something I pay attention to because I’ve really never had to.
I often tell you to eat organically, buy local, get the best there is… but all I’m asking of you today is that you eat consciously. Even for a week. Pay attention to what’s in your grocery basket and if you actually need it. It may change the way you shop, or it may not. But at least you have a better idea of how you buy. It can be as small as bringing your grocery bags. Five cents for each bag can add up quickly when you’re living on Social Assistance.
In keeping with conscious eating, I’ve got a recipe that is as cheap as it is delicious. The grocery bill was $19.86, making each of the 5 servings come in at a reasonable $3.97 per bowl. That’s assuming you don’t have any ingredients on hand, otherwise it will be significantly cheaper (I did already have some pantry staples on hand).
Baked Chipotle White Beans with Kale, Cilantro Pesto and Mozzarella
based on Heidi Swanson’s Giant Chipotle White Beans
1 pound of dried white beans (the bigger the better) rinsed, picked over and soaked overnight - or up to 24 hours. If you’re like me and don’t always think in advance, you can try the no-soak method for softening beans.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of salt
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (or as much as you like)
1 medium clove of garlic
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
big pinch of salt
2/3 cup kale or chard, washed and cut into ribbons
1 cup goat’s milk mozzarella, cubed (optional)
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (optional)
Add the olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic to a cold pan. Turn the heat on to medium and put the pan on the element. Stir the red pepper and garlic constantly until fragrant (45 seconds-1minute). Don’t burn the garlic. Add the crushed tomatoes and oregano leaves and heat through for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the adobo sauce. Stir in kale/chard. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, blender, or if you’re old fashioned and awesome, your mortar and pestle, add the garlic clove, cilantro, olive oil and salt. Blend until smooth. It will be quite liquidy, don’t panic. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375.
Add your beans to a large casserole dish, stir in the chipotle-tomato sauce, and the cheese. Top with bread crumbs and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.
Drizzle with pesto and serve.
And before you chow, be conscious, appreciate and be glad that you’re eating a delicious meal that some are not lucky enough to enjoy.
Hey Goober! Where’s the meat? [and the healthy greens?]
It’s been a while since I’ve eaten meat more than twice in a week and let me tell you - I like meat. So much so that I usually eat so much of it that I end up with a semi-serious case of the meat sweats. [Oh hey, want to date? I’m totally ladylike.]
I picked up a new cast-iron skillet this afternoon and really couldn’t wait to huck a slab of meat on there and watch it slowly sear to a crispy golden brown. [I was thisclose to searing off a shoe]
I grabbed a recipe from Jaden Hair via http://www.steamykitchen.com that basically consists of HEAVILY [seriously, guys, I mean dehydrated, gulp of ocean water heavily] salt your beef an hour or so prior to cooking it. The salt gets rinsed off but what happens in non scientific terms - by giving it a long time to sit with the salt on [as opposed to salting right before you’re ready to grill/sear], some of it absorbs into the meat and breaks down proteins that make it more tender and flavourful. [scientific explanation: http://steamykitchen.com/163-how-to-turn-cheap-choice-steaks-into-gucci-prime-steaks.html]. It was delicious. And it turned a regular steak into something more suited to a Parisian bistro [or so I would imagine it to be in my ulterior life].
I served it [to myself] with a potato/kale puree and some buttery sauteed rapini. Both great pairings with the steak and a little different from the baked potato I’d usually have to accompany my steak.
Everything in this is pretty darn easy. And comes together pretty quickly if you don’t include the hour that the steak needs to sit.
I’ll leave it up to you to go and see the salt to steak ratio on the Steamy Kitchen website since it has a really great explanation and is really worth reading.
Let’s do it, do it!
NY Strip loin with Potato/Kale Puree and Rapini
Steak [amount/cut of your choice - I used a 1.5” thick strip loin]
Kosher or Sea salt ONLY
Few sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, crushed.
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
Consult the above website for how much salt and for how long to rest your steak for. Once salted, add rosemary and crush garlic on top of the steak and smoosh in a bit.
Once steak has been sitting for the suggested amount of time, rinse well with water and dry well with paper towels. Season with fresh cracked pepper. Don’t add any more salt to the steak before cooking. It’s unnecessary.
Preheat oven to 400. Heat a good cast iron skillet over high heat [I usually put my stove top to 7 or 8]. You can leave it dry if you’d like but I tend to add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter as I like the flavour [me? like the flavour of butter? blasphemy!]. Add the steak to the cast iron and sear well on both sides. Probably 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Put skillet in the oven to finish cooking the steak to desired doneness.
Potato & Kale Puree
2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1”-2” pieces
Two big handfuls of kale, washed well and rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Butter
Add potatoes and crushed garlic to boiling water and cook until ALMOST fork tender. Add the kale to the pot and boil for about 5 minutes. Strain everything. Add back to pot. Using a hand mixer - beat the potatoes and kale until everything in combined. Don’t over mix or the taters will get gluey. Add milk a bit at a time and mix until you get the texture you like. I like mine a little thicker. Add butter to finish it. Taste and season accordingly.
1 bunch rapini, washed well
1-2tbsp olive oil
Trim rapini to about the length of your longest finger. In a large sauteed pan, add olive oil until heated through. Add rapini. Sautee until bright green and tender. About 5 minutes. Add salt to your desired taste.
Now this is the most important part. Pile your fork with as much of everything as you can. And get it in your face. FAST. It tastes best this way.