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Posts Tagged ‘red onion’

A couple of years ago, I discovered Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip – a downright delicious, low fat, low calorie dip made with low fat Greek yogurt. Their website describes it as having “50% less fat and calories than typical spinach dip made with sour cream.” It is packed with kale, spinach, and lots of other yummy things. I don’t get to TJ’s very often (2 hour trip by car), so when I go, I stock up on this item to use with vegetable /cracker dippers and as a spread on sandwiches.

So, you can imagine my delight when I found a recipe to make it at home! And I have kale and carrots from Rose Creek Farms! I whipped out that food processor and mixed me up some!

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Dip ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt

2 cups chopped kale

2 cups chopped spinach

¼ of a red onion

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

½ tsp. paprika

2 Tbl. honey

WHAT YOU DO:

Prep kale by washing, de-stemming, and roughly chopping. I packed it into a 2 cup measure. I measured out the spinach in the same manner.

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spinach and kale

I stared off by processing the carrot, red onion, garlic, and spices. I didn’t want a paste of these ingredients – the TJ’s version has visible pieces of carrots, etc., so I worked slowly. I  knew they would process more when the kale/spinach were added, so I kept checking.

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carrot, onion, garlic, and spices

Next I added the roughly chopped kale and spinach.

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roughly chopped kale & spinach

I held out the marinated artichokes and honey for last because of their moisture content. (I was really worried about creating a gummy paste!)

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Tennessee honey!

Now, pay attention to this next part. DO NOT add the yogurt to the food processor. After all my careful attention to the chopping of the veggies, I totally ruined the consistency by adding the yogurt to the food processor. 😦

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DO NOT DO THIS!

I ended up with a very unappetizing-looking mixture. I also think the flavor was off. My helpful tasters that day disagreed with me, but I was unconvinced. I sent that batch home with Oldest Child and mixed up a new batch.

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TOO MUCH PROCESSING!

This time, I processed all the veggies as described above, but I then transferred them to a bowl and folded the yogurt into them. Much better!  You can see the pieces of carrot and kale.

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Fold processed veggies into yogurt.

Another version of this dip calls for only 1 cup each of kale and spinach to 2 cups of yogurt. It also uses mayo which would add a depth of richness but would negate the whole “low calorie” vibe this dip has going for it. The blogger also states that the Trader Joe version uses chopped water chestnuts. I think I’d go for that added crunch.

I plan to keep a bowl of this on hand for quick summer munching! Low calorie and healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

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A new item in our boxes this morning!

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Bok choy!

Cultivated in China since ancient times, bok choy is found in soups and stir-fries, appetizers and main dishes. Bok choy’s popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but it is low in calories.

Years ago I had a wok when we were on a Chinese food kick. We even made our own egg rolls, but it’s been a long time since I’ve cooked with bok choy. I scanned several recipes, looking for a quick recipe which would let this veggie shine, and I found this one. I’ve tweaked it to make the spices fit the 8 oz. bag in my CSA box.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 slice bacon, chopped

olive oil

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 small clove garlic, minced

scant 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

8 oz bag bok choy

salt to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and prep bok choy. I filled a bowl with water, swished around to dislodge any dirt, and then broke the stems off. Wash carefully to remove trapped dirt.

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Wash carefully to remove trapped dirt.

Recipe reviewers said to cook the stems separate from the leaves as they take longer, so I did that. I cut the leaves away and stacked them to slice. I made a separate pile of the stems.

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stems and leaves

I chopped the stems into fairly large pieces. I rolled the stack of leaves and cut ribbons.

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chopped!

I chopped the onion and minced the garlic while the bacon fried until crisp. Remove bacon pieces to drain, saving bacon grease. The recipe says to remove most of the bacon grease and add olive oil. I chose to use just smoky bacon grease for more flavor.

To the hot bacon grease, add red pepper flakes, onion, and salt and cook until onion begins to tender.

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Sauté red onion and red pepper flakes.

Add minced garlic, stirring to keep garlic from burning. Now add the bok choy stems, stir, cover and cook for two minutes over medium heat. Next, add the sliced leaves, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

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Add leaves after cooking stems for 2 minutes.

Remove lid and check for tenderness in the stems. You want them to retain some of their crispness. At this point, I added the chopped bacon and cooked for 2 more minutes with the lid off. At the end of that time, the bok choy was tender crisp!

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Bacon-y Bok Choy!

Some reviewers said the red pepper flakes made the dish too spicy. I didn’t find that to be the case, but adjust to suit your taste.

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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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It’s become somewhat of a game to come up with new ways to incorporate kale into my recipes, but it actually hasn’t been that difficult. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m aware of kale now, but it seems to be everywhere! Last night I was flipping through the latest Williams Sonoma catalog and saw a recipe for Butternut Kale Strata to bake for Christmas morning. I’ll be trying out that recipe soon. This week I’m using this recipe from Southern Living. I love pizza. I love blue cheese. I’ve grown to love kale, so it was a no-brainer to try this recipe.

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Skillet Kale Pizza

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 pound bakery pizza dough (I used ready-made canned)

1/2 cup sliced red onion

1 garlic clove, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped kale

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons plain yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded fontina cheese (I substituted smoked provolone)

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

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Main ingredients for Skillet Kale Pizza

 WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 450°.

Prepare kale: wash, de-stem, and chop. The recipe says to chop “coarsely” but I didn’t want big chunks of kale, so I chopped it finely. One bag of kale yielded exactly 4 cups!

Cook onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add kale and rosemary.

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Chopped kale joins sautéed red onion and garlic.

Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or just until wilted. Stir in vinegar. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a bowl.

Prepare dough: Roll dough to a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  I used a store-bought pizza crust. I usually use this recipe and make my own dough, but a ready-to-go store version helped in this busy holiday season.

Wipe skillet clean. Reduce heat to medium. Coat skillet with 2 tsp. oil; sprinkle with cornmeal.

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Cornmeal keeps dough from sticking.

Arrange dough in skillet, gently stretching edges to cover bottom and sides of skillet.

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Fit dough into cast iron skillet.

Cook over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove from heat.If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, use a regular pizza pan or cookie sheet. Precook in hot oven for about 5 minutes before topping with kale mixture.

Top with kale mixture and cheeses.  The original recipe calls for fontina cheese, but it is quite pricey at $7.59 for 9 ozs. I researched and read that smoked provolone is an acceptable substitute, and much more affordable at $3.39 for 8 ozs.  I weighed out 2 ozs. on my digital scale; I could just as easily have read serving info and determined how much each slice weighs, but I like using my digital scale!

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Love my digital scale!

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I sliced and chopped the cheese slices.

Brush edges of the dough with remaining 1 tsp. oil.

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Ready for a hot oven!

Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with red pepper. (I actually forgot this step, but the pizza was still delicious!)

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Cheese melted into kale!

I really enjoyed this pizza and served it with creamy tomato basil soup made with summer tomatoes. The two cheeses melted down into the kale and the crust was crispy! If you prefer a softer crust, I would reduce the time on the stove-top before popping into the oven.

 

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