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Kale with pecans, beans, and rice

Hubby walked in with the CSA box this morning, and I was ready to go! With Farmer Ray’s Friday “heads up” email, I knew I would be working with Red Russian Kale. With just a few steps, lunch was soon on the table!

The key to making a plain green vegetable worthy of an entire meal is adding something with protein or fat (preferably both). Nuts work perfectly, as do any kind of beans or lentils. The basic recipe calls for pecans, which are wonderful, but you could use just about any kind of nut. I read the recipe reviews, and I incorporated some of those ideas, too.

 WHAT YOU NEED:
1 bunch kale or chard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
Sea salt to taste
½ cup cooked beans
Cooked rice

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basic ingredients

 WHAT YOU DO:

While you are prepping the green ingredients, toast the nuts in a dry skillet over low heat. Shake every few minutes. I set a timer for 5 minutes, so I wouldn’t forget about them.

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Toast nuts over low heat in dry skillet.

Next finely chop the garlic. Did you know that chopping garlic actually makes it healthier? Who knew? Scientists have long suspected that the active ingredient in garlic is a substance called allicin. A recent study from Queen’s University showed that it is actually a decomposition product of allicin that has the most potent antioxidant activity. Released from plant cells when they are damaged, alliinase is what gives garlic (and onions) their strong odor and is thought to be a self-defense mechanism for these plants. When garlic is crushed, alliinase becomes active and begins creating allicin. As allicin is created and breaks down, the antioxidant potential of garlic is dramatically increased. Optimal antioxidant levels are created about 10 minutes after garlic is crushed. I’m going to start prepping my garlic first! 

Wash, stem, and chop kale. It’s quick to stack the kale leaves, roll, and slice into ribbons. It’s okay if your greens are still wet; the water will help them steam.

The original recipe didn’t call for onions, but since I had so many gorgeous fresh green onions, I threw in some of those as well.

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chopped and prepped!

Remove the toasted nuts from the skillet and heat a little olive oil in the pan. You don’t need much – just a sheen to sauté the onions a minute or two. .Add your chopped greens to the pan, sprinkle generously with sea salt and toss with tongs. Cover. I cooked over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often and adding about a tablespoon of water.

 Next, push greens to the side and add a bit more olive oil to briefly sauté the garlic. Be careful! Garlic becomes bitter if burnt!

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Briefly sauté minced garlic.

Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Now add the beans. The reviewer suggested adding  chickpeas, but I didn’t have any. I pulled up the NI for chickpeas and compared it to the cans of great northern beans and cannellini beans I had on hand. They are all very similar in protein, fiber, carbs, etc. I decided to go with the cannellini beans.

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Great source of protein!

Add the toasted pecans.

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LOVE the crunch of toasted nuts!

 One recipe reviewer said that if you would like a little more substance, serve it with brown rice, lentils or quinoa. I steamed up a pot of basmati rice with veggies that I had in the pantry and served the kale mixture on top of a serving of hot rice.

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Bulk up this recipe with rice!

Hubby sprinkled his liberally with Cajun Chef Hot Sauce and dug in! I topped mine with parmesan cheese. And lunch was a done deal!

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Topped with parmesan cheese!

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Such beautiful lettuce we’ve been getting in our weekly CSA boxes! But these cooler days call for warmer fare than those cool, crisp salads of summer. I had two big heads of lettuce just begging to be eaten, so I decided to “warm ’em up” by mixing in some hot spicy taco meat and black beans. It made for a warm and filling winter evening meal.

WHAT YOU NEED: the beauty of this recipe is that you can use just about anything you like and have on hand!

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Lettuce!

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grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips, jalapenos, black olives, salsa

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some type of bean

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ground beef seasoned for tacos

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare taco meat: cook and season a pound of ground beef for tacos. There are quick and easy pre-mixed seasonings, or you can make your own. I’ve used this recipe and was pleased with it, although reviewers suggested reducing the chili powder and salt, which I did.

Keep meat hot and heat up some beans. You want both of these items hot when added to the salad.

Wash and chop lettuce and tomatoes and any other items you are using such as olives and  jalapenos; grate cheese if necessary. Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the hot taco meat and beans.

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Hot taco meat and beans warm up this lettuce!

Stir to combine and then add the crushed chips.

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Add chips last to keep them crispy!

Toss and serve. This is best eaten immediately. Serve with additional chips and salsa.

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Cool lettuce warmed up for winter!

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Vegetarian Kale and White Bean Soup

This recipe is a variation of  the Kale and White Bean Soup I shared with you last fall.  This is one recipe we’ve been known to make on an almost weekly basis when we have kale. As I said in the previous post, it’s a very versatile recipe that can easily be adapted to work with what you have – which is always a plus when working with a CSA and the ever changing box of vegetables.

Usually, the meat is what makes this recipe so tasty – using CSA bratwurst is especially good. But this week, when I began making a pot of soup, I didn’t have any soup-y meat on hand. To compensate, I added extra onions and fresh garlic to ensure the soup had good flavor. This is also a great way to use your turnips – because they absorb flavors well, you can easily add them to any dish that has a lot of flavorful liquid (stir fry works well, too).

This vegetarian version turned out awesome and was pretty quick, too!

  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (from the jar)
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 cup largely diced onion or leek (I used a bit of both)
  • 1 can of white beans or 2 cups prepared dried beans (I used cannellini)
  • 1 bunch of white turnips, diced (about 1 cup or more)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (I usually use diced tomatoes, but this is all I had on hand and it was great!)
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • medium bunch of Kale, torn into small bits
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Add the oil, garlic, and onions to a pot and sautee over medium heat until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown. This adds lots of flavor!

2. Add the beans, turnips, tomatoes, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Add the kale, stir in and cook another 5-10 minutes. Don’t over cook the kale, but make sure it has a chance to get heated all the way through.

4. Salt and pepper to taste. And serve with toast for dipping, or parmesan on top!

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I love cilantro, and was so pleased to get two big bunches of it last week. I have lots of great cilantro recipes, but I wanted to try something new this week that would incorporate the lettuce from the CSA also. Most of my cilantro recipes are hot dishes, so this cool salad is a nice change of pace. It makes a nice side or can work as a vegetarian entree.

Cilantro and Lettuce

Keep your cilantro in a glass of water in the refrigerator to make it last longer.

Ingredients

  • lettuce, 1/2 head washed and torn in pieces
  • tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced leeks
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSPs lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chickpeas with Seasoning

1. Toss the chickpeas and leeks with the chili powder, cumin, garlic, oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Warm on the stove over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes to soften the onions and beans and meld flavors. Be sure not to overcook them or dry them out.

2. When finished, toss the bean mixture with the lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes in a bowl. Enjoy!

Chickpea and Cilantro Salad

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Good spring to all of you! I’m excited to jump right in with one of those less familiar vegetables for our first recipe. You guessed it: collard greens. Don’t write off collard greens to quickly, or just try to hide them in a familiar dish – they are pretty tasty! The leaves and stem have a fresh, crisp flavor similar to broccoli. My husband’s only request was that they not be not mushy. That’s not too hard, but I think I found a recipe that will do more than “not be mushy.” With shrimp and beans and a little bit of spice, this one is quick and tasty.

Ingredients

 

Ingredients

  • one bunch collard greens (3-4 leaves)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1.5 tsps ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsps dried thyme
  • 1 cup of diced leek
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp
  • dash of red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)

1. First, wash and slice the collards thinly crosswise. I removed the thick part of the stems from the recipe, but don’t throw them out! They’re quite tasty – eat while you cook!

Slicing Collard Greens

2. Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the cannelini beans, cumin, thyme, leek, garlic, bay leaf, shrimp, and just a dash of red pepper flakes. Saute until the leeks are translucent and the beans and shrimp are heated through (about 8 minutes).

3. Next, add the collard greens and continue sautéing until the leaves are just tender – not mushy! (about 6-8 minutes.)

4. Remove the bay leaves, and serve the mixture over penne pasta with parmesan!

Shrimp and Collard Greens over Penne

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White Beans and Jowls

My family loves this savory rustic dish, and I love the healthy meats from the CSA. Throw in a slow cooker and you’ve got a very easy meal that takes full advantage of this flavorful meat. I’ve made a similar dish using canned beans just cooked in a pot on the stove until the meat is done. But this method, using dried beans in a crock pot means less preservatives, less expense, and dinner waiting for you at the end of the day.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried white beans (northern, navy, or cannellini)
  • 1 pound jowls (thawed)
  • 6 cups water/broth
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 diced onion or leek
  • salt & pepper to taste

In the morning, rinse and sort the beans. Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot and stir. Set the crock pot to low for 6 hours. That’s it!  Serve with cornbread and a salad.

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