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Posts Tagged ‘Olive oil’

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Bitter Greens!

Who else has been stumped with what to do with the BITTER GREENS in our CSA box? I admit, I had “to google it” and read this: “Bitter Greens: mixed green leaves of a variety of salad vegetables with a bitter taste, such as kale, mustard, collard, endive, chicory, or spinach.”

I was happy to get a HEADS UP email from Farmer Ray with a recipe recommendation from a fellow CSA customer.  Amy said it is a delicious dish, so I had to check it out for myelf.

 WHAT YOU NEED:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings

1 teaspoon sugar

4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade) or water

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound fettuccine

1 bunch bitter greens

 WHAT YOU DO:

Prep bitter greens: I washed, removed any brown, wilted leaves, and drained while I was cooking the onions.

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Two bags of greens washed and ready!

Prep onions: peel and thinly slice four onions (I used yellow.) You can slice with knife; I used my Pampered Chef Easy Slicer. I love the handle that protects my fingers!

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slicing onions

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sugar and cook, stirring once or twice, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Turn heat to low; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes.

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caramelized onions!

While onions are caramelizing, cook pasta in boiling salted water until a little underdone, and drain. I wanted to use up some pasta in my pantry, so I boiled a combination of rotini and bowtie.

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Pasta!

When onions are caramelized and fully cooked, remove half the onions and set aside. Add broth or water to the pan and bring to a boil. I used chicken broth.

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onions boiling in broth

Cook over high heat, scraping bottom of pan, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add cooked pasta to broth; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add greens; cook, covered, until wilted, about 1 minute.

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wilting the greens

I used two packages of bitter greens, and they cooked down to almost nothing, so don’t be afraid to push them down into the pasta and broth.

The recipe calls for an additional tablespoon of butter, if desired. Amy suggested cream, so that’s what I did.

Divide among 4 shallow bowls, garnish with reserved onions.

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Bitter Greens with pasta and caramelized onions

This is a surprisingly tasty dish! The sweetness of the caramelized onions balances out the “bitterness” of the greens, and the cream adds a nice richness to the broth.

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I look forward to Wednesday’s edition of our local paper for its FOOD section. Last week featured sweet potatoes, so I was happy to find sweet potatoes in this week’s CSA box! Their “fingerling” size inspired me to try the roasted wedges with dipping sauce.

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Recipes using sweet potatoes!

WHAT YOU NEED:

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), cut lengthwise into ¼-inch wedges

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground ginger

Salt and freshly ground black peppers

Dipping Sauce:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

½ cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2-3 tbsp. honey

2 tsp. curry powder

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Make the potato wedges:  I gave them a good scrubbing and didn’t bother to peel since the skins are so thin and tender. I cut out any dark spots and sliced the larger ones down the middle.

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No need to peel these tender babies!

Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil.

I combined the cumin, paprika, ginger, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mixed well. I was concerned that the spices would over-power these tender sweet potatoes, so I only used half of the amounts. After eating the roasted wedges, I believe next time I’ll do as the recipe instructs and use the full amounts of spices.

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Spices!

Cook, turning once, until crisp and browned on all sides, about 20-25 minutes.

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Roasted and flavorful!

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk mayo, yogurt, lime juice, honey, curry, salt and pepper in a bowl.

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For the dipping sauce!

Serve potato wedges with the dipping sauce!

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Roasted wedges and dipping sauce!

I served these for lunch to our daughters and grandchildren. Everyone loved the tender, savory sweet potatoes, and “most” of the adults enjoyed the sauce (Hubby is not a curry fan!). I halved the sauce recipe, but it still made more than we could eat.

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This recipe is one of three featured in a magazine article entitled “3 Ways with Eggplant.” I clipped out the article quite a while back and recently came across it again in my recipe box. When I saw the fairytale eggplant in our first fall CSA box, I decided it was time to try out the Turkish Dip recipe.

I “googled” Turkish Dip and read that this roasted eggplant dip is served everywhere in Turkey. At its most basic it is just eggplant, lemon, olive oil and salt but you can jazz it up with spices or garlic.  It’s traditionally eaten as a cold starter, or ‘meze’ or can be served as a dip or spread at parties.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 lb. eggplant

1 clove garlic

½ cup parsley (I used parsley I’d chopped and frozen)

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl chopped onion (I used red)

2 tsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin (I reduced to 1 tsp.)

¼ tsp. pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

If using a one pound purple globe eggplant, pierce a few times and roast in baking pan at 350*  for 1 hour, until soft.  Halve, cool, and scrape out pulp.

I had just over 1 pound of fairy tale eggplant, so I cubed them using my chopper. The skin is so thin and soft that there’s no sense in peeling.

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Cubing eggplant for roasting

I tossed the cubed eggplant with a few tsp. of olive oil and roasted for 30 minutes at 350*.

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Roasted eggplant!

Put eggplant pulp in a food processor with all the other ingredients and pulse until chopped.I do believe I over-processed mine! But it was nice and creamy and very spread-able!

Chill in the fridge for a while.

Serve with toasted bread, preferably pita bread.

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Turkish Dip with pita wedges

Note that I reduced cumin to 1 tsp. I’m very glad I did, for it was very spicy and fragrant. Hubby does not like that flavor, so he wasn’t a fan of the dip, but Oldest Daughter and I enjoyed it with our lunch. She and I agreed that this would be tasty spread on a sandwich with some cheese and turkey.

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Fairytale Eggplant

I’ve got several quick ideas for you of what to do with eggplant!

First, those cute fairytale eggplant are perfect for grilling up – quick and easy!

GRILLED FAIRYTALE EGGPLANT

Fairytale eggplant in the amount you would like

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the grill to medium.

2. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush each side with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. I used an Italian flavored seasoning blend.

3. Grill on each side about 1-1 1/2 minutes. You will note the color change in the flesh from opaque yellowish-white to a more translucent, watery yellow, and in the purple skin to brown. Do not over grill.

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Grilled fairytale eggplant

If I don’t want to cook the eggplant immediately, I blanch and freeze. I can use it later in casseroles such as Eggplant Cheese Casserole.

Stabilize the eggplant by cutting off the top and bottom. Use a sharp knife to slice down, removing the peel.

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Peeling an eggplant!

Cut the eggplant into uniform pieces (I use a vegetable chopper) and blanch in boiling water for 4 minutes.

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Blanch before freezing!

After 4 minutes, shock the eggplant in icy cold water. The rule of thumb is: double the blanching time – so chill eggplant for 8 minutes.

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Shock the blanched eggplant!

Drain well, label and freeze in heavy-duty zip-lok bags.

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Ready to freeze!

I also like to blanch, bread, and freeze thick slices of eggplant to use in eggplant parmesan.

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Thick slices!

I blanch/shock these thick slices as described above, and then set up a breading station.

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seasoned flour, egg wash, panko bread crumbs

I dip the blanched eggplant into the seasoned flour (salt & pepper), then into the egg wash (beaten egg with water) and finally into seasoned panko bread crumbs.

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3 step breading process

I line up the breaded eggplant on a parchment lined cookie sheet that will fit into my freezer. I freeze about an hour to set the breading. Once they are frozen, I stack them into a container and return to the freezer.

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Packing for the freezer!

It’s such a great time-saver to reach into the freezer for these “ready to fry up” eggplant slices. Since they are blanched, they fry up quickly in a little bit of hot oil. If I’m using them in eggplant parmesan, I don’t worry about cooking all the way through; I just want them browned. They will finish cooking when baked in the parmesan. You could also drizzle the frozen slices with olive oil and/or spray with a cooking spray and bake in a hot oven until browned.

It’s easy to throw together eggplant parmesan: in a lightly greased casserole dish, make layers of browned eggplant slices, spaghetti or marinara sauce, and cheese (ricotta/mozzarella/parmesan). Bake until bubbly!

Hope these ideas help you use up those beautiful purple veggies!

 

 

 

 

 

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This recipe was featured in the local paper. It uses several ingredients in our weekly CSA boxes, so naturally I grabbed the scissors and clipped it out! That night, Hubby was grilling brats and zucchini anyway, so I had him grill the eggplant while he was at it.

 

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Colorful ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and diced

3 scallions, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Balsamic glaze, to serve

Baguette or pita, to serve

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat the grill to medium. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush each eggplant slice on both sides. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

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Ready for the grill!

Allow the eggplant slices to cool until easily handled; then dice. Mine were in the refrigerator since Hubby had grilled them two nights before. It was great to have this step already done!

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Great smoky flavor!

Mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper,  and set aside. This allows the garlic time to infuse the oil.

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Garlic infused olive oil!

Finely chop all the other ingredients. You don’t want huge pieces of onion or bell pepper. This takes a few minutes, but it sure is a colorful mixture! I made a few substitutions so I could use items I had on hand: red onion for the scallions; cherry tomatoes for whole tomatoes.

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Pretty enough to eat!

In a large bowl, gently mix together the eggplant, tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, scallions, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the garlic olive oil.

Allow to sit for at least 2 hours for best flavor. I set it nearby on a counter and stirred it every 30 minutes or so to allow the garlic oil to penetrate all of the ingredients.

Serve on baguette or pita bread and drizzle with balsamic glaze. (I actually forgot the balsamic glaze but it was delicious without it!) I had some left-over sub rolls in the pantry, so I smeared them with more garlic olive oil and toasted them up.

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Smoky goodness on crusty bread!

 I served this as a side item with our lunch. Everyone agreed it is a delicious way to get in lots of veggies! The grilled eggplant is smoky and adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the crunchy vegetables. Our daughter took the left-overs home and planned to use them in a frittata.

This is a delicious way to use an eggplant!

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We enjoy using the grill on lazy summer evenings, so I keep a stash of Rosecreek Village Farms pork bratwurst in the freezer. I needed some sides to go with our grilled brats, and I really needed to use up some zucchini, so I tried two new recipes I’d collected. Hubby was in charge of Smoky Grilled Zucchini, and I took care of Baked Zucchini Chips.

Since my recipe needed to bake 30 minutes, I got mine going first.

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for Baked Zucchini Chips

Baked Zucchini Chips

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

Vegetable cooking spray

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 450°.

Process the panko, basil leaves and salt in a food processor until finely ground.

Transfer to a shallow bowl and add cheese.

Slice the zucchini. I misread the recipe and sliced mine ½ inch thick. I’m thinking this was a good mistake as the chips were thick and meaty. They browned so much, I’m afraid they would have been super dried out had they been half that thickness.

Toss zucchini rounds with oil and then dredge one round at a time, in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

Place rounds in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.

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Coated and ready to bake!

Bake 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve hot.

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Golden and crispy!

I was very pleased with how these turned out. We actually snacked on them while Hubby finished grilling the brats and his zucchini assignment.

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for Smoky Grilled Zucchini

Smoky Grilled Zucchini

WHAT YOU NEED:

3 medium zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Fresh limes, for squeezing

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise; then rub them all over with the olive oil.

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Oil those thick zucchini slices!

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar. Sprinkle all over the zucchini.

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Smoky sweetness!

Grill the zucchini until tender and charred, 5 to 7 minutes per side.

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Zukes and brats a-grillin’!

Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

With my first bite, I thought, “These have a tropical, Jamaican flair to them….” and then I remembered I was supposed to squeeze lime juice on them! They really tasted tropical then. I liked them; Hubby said they were too sweet for him. I didn’t really taste the sugar over the smokiness of the paprika.

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A squeeze of lime adds a pop of flavor!

It was fun trying out these two new recipes. I’d make both of them again!

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Tasty summer time meal!

 

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SUMMER SQUASH!

What a burst of sunshine and goodness in our CSA box this morning! It looks like we’re going to be very busy with eating this summer.

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Summer CSA is here!

I mulled over what to cook first and decided to go with that yellow crook-neck squash.  I needed something colorful to go on our dinner plate; I also wanted something quick, so I heated up the George Foreman and got to slicing!

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Quick and cool way to cook in summer!

Slice the squash length-ways in fairly thick slices. I got 3 slices per squash.

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Keep slices fairly thick.

Spray the slices with a non-stick cooking spray (I used an olive oil one) or coat lightly with olive or vegetable oil. This helps the seasoning to stick.

Season as desired. I have several seasoning blends in my pantry. I chose to go with herbes de Provence.

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Choose your spices!

Arrange the slices on the hot George Foreman and close the lid.

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Sprayed and seasoned!

Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes and then flip. There should be nice grill marks on the squash slices.

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Grilled!

Cook another 2-3 minutes or until desired tenderness.

This is such an easy way to prepare any type of summer squash and works well when you only have one or two – not really enough to make a full casserole or to mess with breading and frying. If you don’t have an electric grill pan, just throw them on a hot skillet on the stove-top.

You could add some goat cheese to the hot slices and, leaving the lid open to prevent a mess, allow the cheese to melt. This works well with zuchinni as explained in this post.

Last summer we enjoyed squash in multiple delicious ways!

Remember those Surprising Squash muffins for breakfast?

You might want to start a jar of marinated squash for lunch-time munching.

And these Squash Squares make a delightful summer lunch.

I’m looking forward to this year’s summer bounty! Come back for more recipes and tips!

 

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This recipe popped up while doing an online search for kale recipes. It sounded quick, and it is! and it’s good. Hubby and I both loved the crispy kale leaves with the soft potato chunks. It’s an easy side dish!

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just a few ingredients needed!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn (about 10 cups)

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prep the potatoes. I actually got out a ruler to see how big a half-inch piece is! Turns out my chopper is exactly that size! Or, just chop them yourself, but try to keep uniform pieces for even baking.

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Cut potatoes into uniform pieces for even baking.

Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer and roast 5 minutes. The recipe doesn’t state, but I would salt and pepper them at this point. My finished dish needed salt!

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Ready to roast!

Prep the kale: wash, de-stem, and chop. Keep the kale pieces fairly large. They will roast up into crispy chips! Peel and chop the garlic.

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Kale and garlic prepped!

In a large bowl, combine minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Again, the recipe doesn’t state this, but I would give the garlic time to infuse the oil. Next time, I’ll do this step BEFORE chopping the potatoes.

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Allow garlic to infuse oil before adding kale.

Add chopped kale to garlic oil and toss well.

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Stir well to coat kale with garlic oil.

Add to the baking sheet with the potatoes and toss.

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Add kale to hot potatoes.

Roast until the kale is crisp and the potatoes are tender, stirring once, 15 to 20 minutes. I set the timer for 10 minutes, stirred the kale/potatoes, and roasted 10 more minutes.

 

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Roasting!

The kale pieces were crispy! The potatoes were hot and tender! Great combination! My only complaint is that the dish needed more salt, so adjust according to your tastes.

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Roasted crispy and tender!

I served it with herbed chicken and glazed carrots. I’ll be making this quick side again!

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Dinner is served!

 

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It’s getting easier and easier to find recipes featuring KALE! It’s everywhere! As Martha Stewart said, “Kale is king!”

I did some online research, trying to find out exactly when and how this leafy green veggie took center stage. It’s all because folks quickly learned what a nutritional powerhouse it is. Kale offers about twice the calcium and magnesium, a third more iron, and 12 times the vitamin A (yes, 12!) of its more popular cousin broccoli. Plus, it’s a good source of other essential nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and copper.

“All you really need is a gorgeous kale recipe, and you’re good to go!” says Liz Weiss, MS, RD, coauthor of No Whine with Dinner.

I’ve got a gorgeous kale recipe for you this week! It’s a colorful fresh salad with a bright contrast of flavors!

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Marinated Kale Salad with Shaved Apples and Gouda

 

WHAT YOU NEED:

3  Pink Lady apples

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 bunches Lacinato* kale, stemmed and chopped (about 8 oz.)

1/4 cup shaved aged Gouda cheese

* also sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and de-stem kale. I used two bags from the CSA box. I didn’t want extra water on the kale, so I tossed each de-stemmed leaf into a strainer as I worked. I then chopped into fairly small pieces.

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Wash, de-stem, and chop kale.

Next, prepare the dressing of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.

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One lemon yielded exactly 1/4 cup of juice!

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So happy to use my fresh TN honey!

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Whisk to emulsify the juice and olive oil.

Now prepare the apples. The recipe calls for 3 Pink Lady apples, but I used the two Braeburn I had on hand. Remove the core, and then cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick rings, cutting from one side through the other.

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This corer neatly removed the center.

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A mandolin makes quick work of slicing.

I used a Pampered Chef “Simple Slicer” but a sharp knife and steady hand will work just as well. The recipe title claims “shaved apples” but chunks of apples would be just as tasty. In fact, I thought those apple rings would be difficult to serve, so I cut them in half.

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apple rings cut in half

Drop the apples into the dressing and toss to make sure each slice is coated. The lemon juice will keep the apples from turning brown, so make sure each piece gets coated.

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Toss apples in dressing to coat.

Now add all that chopped kale! I had to switch to a bigger bowl in order to toss well.

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You need a large bowl!

At this point, the salad goes in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours. When ready to serve, toss to distribute dressing and add gouda cheese, which is mighty expensive.

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expensive but delicious!

I paid over $7 for an 8 oz. block. You could substitute  Monterey Jack or Muenster cheese. Actually, the salad is so bright with the lemon/honey dressing and the apples, that I will probably eliminate the cheese next time.

I served this at our weekly Life Group meal after church this morning, and everyone was very complimentary. Several had never eaten kale and were surprised that they liked it. The recipe states that it will keep 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator and still be crisp and bright.

This recipe is another KALE KEEPER!

 

 

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“PAR-COOKING” KALE

It was a bit sad to pick up our last CSA box on Saturday, but I know the land (and our Dirt Farmer) needs a time of rest and refreshing!

We had our grandchildren over for pizza and a holiday movie, so I used all the lettuce and carrots in a salad. I wanted to use the kale in a big pot of Rose Creek Farms’ Potato Soup, but I just did not have time to do that! I fretted over when I would have time, and then, eureka! Why couldn’t I “blanch” the kale, freeze it, and then make the soup once the holiday frenzy is past?

I know that blanching stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. If vegetables are not blanched, or blanching is not long enough, the enzymes continue to be active during frozen storage causing off-colors, off-flavors and toughening. Blanching involves submerging the vegetable in boiling water for a specified time and then “shocking” with cold water to stop the cooking process.

After thinking about it, (and after labeling my bags!)  I decided that what I had done was more of a “par-cooking” than a true blanching. I had seasoned the kale with onion and garlic during the process, and I had not submerged/shocked the kale. But, regardless of what you call it, I now have two bags of kale in my freezer – all ready for sausage/kale/potato soup when the mood hits!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Kale
Onion (I used red)
Garlic
Olive oil

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare kale: wash, de-stem, and chop. I chopped mine finely because I don’t like a mouthful of string-y kale in my soup.

Sauté red onion in a little bit of olive oil. When translucent, add garlic and stir to prevent burning.

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Sautéed red onion and garlic

Add chopped kale and stir well.

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Add chopped kale to the skillet!

Cover and steam for about 5 minutes. I had to add water to one of the two batches I prepared. I’m guessing one type of kale has more moisture than the other.

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Cover skillet to trap in that steam!

Allow to cool and then bag in a freezer storage bag. Label well and then chill in refrigerator before freezing. This will prevent ice crystals from forming.

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Ready for the freezer!

When ready to make that pot of soup, just pull out your par-cooked kale and have at it!

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