Tag Archives: kale

Indian-Spiced Kale and Paneer, or, Not Quite Saag Paneer

I got The Best Present Ever for Mothers Day this year.  And that is saying a lot, because I was just showered with gifts this year.  The girls’ handmade gifts and cards were almost as sweet as the big proud smiles on their faces when they gave them to me, of course, but J took the cake with one of his gifts.

He organized my spice collection.

Hopefully you feel the full effect of that sentence as I do: you should be bathed in light and joy as the heavens part and you hear the angels sing Alleluia.  Are you with me?

This is a big deal.  Once upon a time, I had a few rows of spice jars tidily tucked into a spice rack.  Later, the jars began to multiply and J put up shelves to hold more of them.  But in recent years the spices had completely outgrown that expanded solution and they began to pile up in tiny bags, then handfuls of tiny bags stuffed into bigger bags, then finally gallon jars full of big and little bags that all were starting to smell like curry powder or cardamom.  It was not a particularly efficient system.

So it was with adoration that I approached my spice rack (it’s really more of a spice wall now) today when I decided to make this dish.  Everything was in its place, alphabetically arranged–except for my assortment of chiles, which take up a shelf of their own.  Bay, cardamom, cinnamon.  Check, check, check.  Cloves, coriander, cumin, right on down the line.  It’s so easy when things are where they are supposed to be!

But, ok, let me get to the part you’re here for.  This is the best Indian food that has ever come out of my kitchen.  Ever.  The recipe is adapted from Kolpona Cuisine, along with a plea to use the whole spices called for despite the mild inconvenience of having to fish them out later.  I don’t know if that is the whole secret here, but the dish was amazing and J marveled aloud, a few times, that it was the best Saag Paneer he’d ever eaten.  (This version was kale paneer, to be precise, inspired by CoolCookStyle, but you can click right here for the original recipe using frozen spinach.)

Indian-Spiced Kale and Paneer (click for recipe)

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Kale Salad with Apples, Currants, and Gorgonzola

It’s time for another hearty vegetable salad, although if you want this one last long enough to have for lunch the next day you had better at least double the recipe. It’s that good, and beautiful to boot.

Raw kale salads are run-of-the-mill these days, but this salad hails from an era when even people like us were a little skeptical about eating raw kale. It is a “massaged” kale salad that appears to have been all over the internet in 2009 with earnest promises that massaging the kale with salt would break down the cell wells and render it so tender as to be virtually cooked.

Somehow, however, this precise salad didn’t come to my attention until today, when my friend sang its praises and urgently requested the recipe from his sister via text message. Thank goodness. And now I’m sharing it with you in case it also escaped your notice in 2009.

As far as I can tell, this recipe is originally from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, and she got it from a colleague of hers at Bastyr University. If you want a demo of the technique, you can watch her video here, but it’s pretty basic: add salt to kale ribbons and gently knead and squeeze it in for a couple minutes, then add a ton of other delicious stuff, too.

Continue reading Kale Salad with Apples, Currants, and Gorgonzola (click for recipe)

Thai Greens and Tofu

I write an occasional home cooking column for my friendly neighborhood blog, and last weekend I told all my neighbors about a recipe that came from the nice folks at my favorite not-quite-a-restaurant (it’s really just a streetside stand), Little Uncle.

So I thought it was only fair to tell you, too.  Because we are going to be making this a lot at our house.  Partly because I bought a huge bottle of yellow bean paste, and this recipe requires 2 Tbs., so I have a lifetime supply (it’s like that beet powder!).  But mostly because it took 17 minutes (that was for the jasmine rice to cook), made the house smell divine, and yielded a savory-spicy-garlicky vegan bowl of goodness.

You can read my Capitol Hill Seattle post here, but just in case you don’t, here’s the important thing you’re missing: track down some mangosteens.  Yum, mangosteens.

You can also substitute chicken for the tofu, or make a greens-only version of this dish (pictured below) as one component of a bigger Thai meal.  More Thai recipes to follow, I think!  In the meanwhile, if you are in the mood for Thai flavors, you could also check out this Noodle Curry or this Green Fish Curry to hold you over.

Continue reading Thai Greens and Tofu (click for recipe)

Queso Fundido with Mushrooms, Greens, and Chiles

So, those chiles.

They arrived in Seattle lovingly packed and frozen, straight from the Santa Fe farmers market.  Someone who loves me seeded the roasted chiles and pulled them apart into strips, a painstaking labor.  I had to do right by them.

There’s this little taqueria in Santa Barbara called La Super-Rica that became famous as Julia Child’s favorite taco joint.  There is always a line down the block.  There are a lot of great tacos in that part of the world, and some of my personal favorites actually come from Reyes Market in Carpenteria, but La Super-Rica makes one dish that I love.  Love.  They call it “rajas,” a name referring to the roasted strips of poblano pepper, but those peppers are also smothered in salty cheese.  You scoop them up with a warm tortilla and let the grease run down your arms.  Luckily Seattle is not very close to Santa Barbara, so this is an occasional indulgence.

I’m calling my version “Queso Fundido,” which is a Mexican dish of melted cheese enhanced with bits of meat or vegetables or spicy peppers, meant to be scooped up with chips or wrapped in corn tortillas.  As I like to do, however, I’ve inverted the traditional proportions, starting with a pan chock-full of vegetables and stirring in just enough cheese to make the dish come together.  And we loved it.  Continue reading Queso Fundido with Mushrooms, Greens, and Chiles (click for recipe)

Farro Bowl with Toasted Kale and Coconut and Curry-Roasted Tofu

This is a good bowl of food.  Savory, crunchy, a little sweet from the coconut, a little spicy from the curry paste.  Whole grains, crispy-chewy kale and coconut, bouncy roasted tofu.  I used farro because I happened to come across it while I was thinking about this recipe, but brown rice would be a perfectly acceptable substitute.  And if you have ever made kale chips, you have some idea of the magic that’s going to happen here.This combination is based on the kale salad in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, but with a bit more kale, less oil, and with tofu added to make it a more complete meal.  It sounds a little complicated, but once the grains were cooking, the rest came together quickly.  The results were deeply flavorful.  This is one of those recipes where the final dish seems to exceed the sum of its parts. Continue reading Farro Bowl with Toasted Kale and Coconut and Curry-Roasted Tofu (click for recipe)

Kale Chips

Are kale chips so 2009?  I used to be in the kale chip vanguard, an evangelist for their crispy crunch and umami allure.  I sang their praises, shared the recipe (such as it is) with anyone who’d listen, made batch after batch.  But suddenly I keep hearing that kale chips have become as passé as the combination of sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus.  It is with great regret that I will have to give them up to keep abreast of current food trends….

Not really.  I don’t even really know what the current food trends are.  So, friends, two questions.  One, what are the current food trends?   And two, what do you put on your kale chips?

I have heard of all kinds of fabulous-sounding additions that could take your kale chip experience in many possible directions: sesame seeds, Parmesan, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, you get the idea.  But I usually just go with olive oil and salt.  I hesitate to call this a recipe because you can really do anything you want here as long as you dry out some kale in the oven until it’s crisp without burning it.  Any kind of kale.  I’ve made these chips with lacinato kale (pictured), green and purple curly kale, Red Russian–all great.  Wash and dry a bunch of kale and tear it into small or large pieces.  Rub with a little olive oil and salt and additional seasonings if desired.  Spread leaves in a single layer on two cookie sheets.  A relatively foolproof method is to bake the chips at 250 for 30-35 minutes, switching the top and bottom pans halfway through and watching closely near the end of the cooking time.  (Thanks, Bon Appetit in 2009!) Remove chips as they crisp and return the rest to the oven to finish cooking.

But IF you can’t wait half an hour for this magic, and IF you’re feeling daring and eagle-eyed, you can roast these chips at a much higher temperature (say, 450).  It goes without saying that they will cook, and burn, more quickly at a higher temperature.  On the other hand, they’ll be ready more quickly for you to gobble up like they’re going out of style.

Breakfast Tacos with Eggs, Potatoes, and Greens

Everyone pretends it’s only the first few months of parenthood that leave you bleary-eyed and dazed from lack of sleep.  Wrong.  Most babies I know regularly wake up during the night for a long, long time.  I don’t know if it’s collective amnesia or willful deception, but nobody ever explained this to me in advance.

Last night my almost-one-year-old slept all night long for the first time in her life.  I was overjoyed, because my older girls didn’t do that until they turned two.  So it was probably a freak occurance that won’t be repeated for a year.  But still–still!–multiple consecutive hours of sleep are always a welcome gift after five years of sleep deprivation.  (I am like to think of this period of my life as the decade of babies, to be immediately followed by the decade of sleep.  Does it work that way?)

Sleep or no sleep, these tacos–just eggs atop a tangle of sauteed onions, potatoes, and greens–are a nice way to start the day. Continue reading Breakfast Tacos with Eggs, Potatoes, and Greens (click for recipe)