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Veggie of the Week: Kale!

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Old 05-11-2006, 04:35 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Veggie of the Week: Kale!

So...I know we're all trying to add more veggies into our diets. We're not sure what might be out there...and even if we find a new veggie, we're not sure how to cook it, what it would go well with, and whether anyone in their right mind would even try it!

Here's a place to share all that info with each other! Each week I'll post a new veggie along with information on nutritional value, how to cook it, and at least one recipe using that veggie. Then we can all add on to the thread with our experiences with that veggie, recipes we like, and more! When the week is up, I'll transfer the thread to the FAQ and the recipes to the recipe forum. Remember, if you add a recipe, try to include at least the number of servings and the nutritional information, if you can.
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This Week's Veggie is: Kale!



Quote:
About Kale: The leafy green vegetable known as kale, borecole, or cow cabbage is a non-head-forming member of the cabbage family and one of the first cabbages to be cultivated. Its dark green, ruffled leaves are high in vitamin C and calcium and very low in calories. It thrives in cold climates; indeed it is said that frost increases its sweetness. Collards belong to the same family but have smooth, flat leaves. From Cooking A to Z by the California Culinary Academy
We have two house rabbits who adore kale. I remember thinking once, as I tore it up for their dinner, that I couldn't imagine ever eating this thick green. Years later, looking for something new on SBD to add to my veggie armory, I tried a soup recipe with kale. I was pleasantly surprised not only that it didn't taste bad but also at how much I actually liked it!

I tried the recipe at the end of this post a couple weeks later and that secured my everlasting love for kale. It's so good for you, so filling, pretty cheap, and easy to cook. How can you beat it? Kale is traditionally a winter veggie, but it's pretty unique so I thought I'd share this one in hopes that it's something you might not have considered before. It's definitely worth a try!

Quote:
Use: Because it thrives throughout cold Scottish winters, kale has long been an almost daily staple in the Scottish diet. Scotch [not my misnaming!] cooks use it in colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale) and in lamb and barley soup. Portuguese cooks make a simple potato and kale soup called caldo verde. In the southern United States, kale is boiled with ham bone or salt pork, sometimes in conjunction with collards.

Availability: Fresh kale is sold fall through spring. Frozen kale is carried by many supermarkets. [our supermarket carries kale year-round]

Selection: The best kale has crisp dark leaves. Avoid bunches with limp, wilted, or yellowed leaves.

Storage: It will stay fresh for several days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. [In my experience, kale stays fresh in this way for at least a week, often two...]

Preparation: Wash well. Discard any limp or discolored leaves. Cut away tough stems. Shred, chop, or cook whole (cut large leaves in half).

Cooking: Boiling or steaming are preferred methods. [when not using it in soup, I cook kale either in a pan or using the microwave to preserve as many nutrients as possible...see Does Microwave Cooking Destroy Nutrients in Vegetables? for more info on this]
From Cooking A to Z by the California Culinary Academy
More information on Kale:

Produce Oasis' page on Kale recipes link doesn't appear to work, but other links below info are useful and interesting, but brief.

PVGA page on Kale (basic info)

Nut'l information on Kale (scroll down for info...check out the amount of vit. A!)

Information on what makes Kale a good 'cancer fighter' (scroll down to the paragraph with the word "Kale" in bold)

Other information on Veggies:

Better Homes and Gardens Slide Show on using spring vegetables, including recipes and info on veggies

FAQ for the 5-a-day program on Fruits and Veggies

Tips on Fruits and Veggies from the CDC

Vegetables: How to cook, serve, and store these healthy foods from Mayo Clinic


Recipe:
Here's a great recipe for kale...just use kale for the part that says "greens" :
Turnips with Greens
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:40 AM   #2
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Wow! Whole lotta info!!! We're all gonna become experts! Another good Kale recipe is Barb's Braised Kale! It's very hardy and delish!
Braised Kale with Black Beans and Tomatoes
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:08 AM   #3
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I had never tried it before I tried it in the Braised Kale recipe and now I make it often. I'm interested in trying other recipes but I do love the Braised Kale especially when I use Rotel Mexican in it.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:48 AM   #4
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HEY! you can't eat my nephew! lol. my nephews name is kael(kale) lol.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:29 AM   #5
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PinkWhispers! At least your nephew is nutritious!

Barb, I'll have to try your recipe...sounds yummy!

I've had kale in some really good soups...just can't think of the recipes right now. Anyone else have a good kale recipe?
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:43 PM   #6
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I love this idea. below is a recipe from the SBD quick and easy cookbook (which by the way i absolutely love and find the recipes easy to make and very yummy ) We've made this a few times and even my 10 and 13 year old girls find it tasty.

Turkey Sausages with Kale and Chickpeas
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2 (11/2-cup)
Description
Chock-full of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium, and iron, kale plays a key role in this easy protein- and fiber-rich dish. Look for turkey sausage free from nitrates, sugars, and fillers, such as bread.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 30minutes

Ingredients
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound reduced-fat sweet or hot Italian turkey sausages
1/2 small onion, diced
11/2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 (1-pound) bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (3 to 31/2 cups)
1/2 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Instructions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, 6 minutes. Remove from pan and cut each sausage in half on the diagonal.
Add onion and garlic to the same saucepan and cook over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add kale, cover, and cook until wilted and softened, about 8 minutes.
Add sausages and cook, covered, until no longer pink in the center, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas and continue cooking, covered, until heated through, 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot, spooning any remaining cooking liquid on top.

Recipe from The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:21 PM   #7
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I saw kale at the market over the weekend, I thought about this post and actually pick up a bunch but...couldn't do it and put it back. Maybe one day I'll get the courage to buy some. Maybe it was because it was such a huge amount in the bunch. I could see myself eating it for a week or more and what if I didn't like it? Then I'd be stuck. (Who else won't throw away food until it has aged gracefully in the fridge a few days?

Can this week be Leaks? I bought some at the market. I don't know much about them other then they are really sandy and have to wash them really well. Do you use only the white part? or the soft pale green parts also and what about the really hard green parts at the top of the leak? I feel like I'm wasting a lot when I don't use the entire thing but....
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:55 PM   #8
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this may sound odd but I love it (canned and fresh) with just some yellow mustard and maybe even a drop or two of vinegar. Nice and tart for the summer!
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:07 PM   #9
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Hey, Sarah!

I'm so sorry...I already had most of this week's written when I saw your post. Promise to do leeks next week. They are easy to work with...cut off the very top of the leek where the green is hard and bruised (like half an inch off the top). Then, slice the whole thing thinly down to the base, throwing away the end with the roots. Put the cut pieces in a salad spinner and rinse under cold water, then spin to remove sand, grit, and dirt. Alternatively, you can try washing it by hand...but it's hard to get all the sand out that way.

Leeks are very good!

Kale lasts for way more than a week in the fridge...it's kind of like cabbage that way...very thick leaves that don't wilt easily. Try putting it in soup...the leaves wilt down (like spinach) and before you know it, the whole bunch is gone!

I understand though...it's hard to try something new! I try new veggies on nights when I have planned a protein or a starch that I know I love...so if I hate the veggie, at least I have something I like to 'wash it down' with.
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
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I made the turkey sausage with kale and chickpeas last night for the first time. Brian wasn't crazy about the kale so next time I will just give him the sausage and serve him a veggie he likes better. DH and I both like the kale recipe so I will definitely do it again. I also sauted asparagus and mixed it in with everything else.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:59 AM   #11
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Ok, I did try the kale and have to say wasn't that impressed with it. Sort of tasted like grass. I had to add quite of bit of lemon juice and pepper with olive oil to spice it up. I'll probably buy it again if it's ever a really good price and add it to soups or something. Just because it's very healthy.
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