If you love kale, you’re going to love this column.

Because I am addicted to that hardy green leafy vegetable.

For the past few years, Americans have had a love affair with kale and mine continues. I eat two bundles a week.

Aside from being delicious, it’s seriously versatile and nutritious.

A cup of chopped kale has 33 calories; 206 percent of your vitamin A needs; 134 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake; 9 percent of your RDA of calcium and 6 percent of iron. It’s also high in vitamin K – off the charts high with more than 600 percent of the recommended daily intake.

It’s also economical — a bunch often ranges from 99 cents to $1.50 — that’s a lot of nutrition for that price.

Two years ago, my husband had a ridiculous bounty of kale in the garden so I started experimenting with ways to use it and came up with many recipes.

I discovered I could grill it because it is so hardy. After rinsing and drying the kale, I’d put a generous dose of olive oil and sea salt on it and char it over high heat. It really absorbs the smoke flavor and it’s a wonderful side dish.

My favorite way to prepare kale is to transform it into chips. Once you’ve cleaned the kale, you spray it with cooking spray, sprinkle it with salt and the bake it at high temperature so it becomes crisp like a chip. My daughter loves this snack.

If I have leftover kale chips, I put them in a baggie overnight and it softens them and then I add them to eggs in the morning and even use it to top a pizza the next day.

I make a kale, red cabbage and red onion stir fry. After you stir fry the vegetables to desired tenderness, drizzle it with sesame oil, salt and a tiny dash of soy sauce. It’s that easy, but be sure to cook it over a high heat for best results.

Kale is wonderful sautéed in olive oil with onion, garlic and dried cranberries and then covered and simmered for 30 minutes in chicken broth (that’s a recipe out of the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook).

I also make a variety of kale salads but here is the key to the salad- you have to let it sit for 12 to 24 hours if you’re using regular kale, not baby kale. Baby kale is tender and readily available in the grocery store and can be eaten right away but regular kale is pretty tough for a salad so it’s best to dress it and let it rest so the leaves soften. I have a 24 Hour Kale Salad that is dressed in raspberry vinaigrette, red onion, and dried cranberries. I toss that and let it marinate overnight and just before serving, I add sliced strawberries and honey roasted sunflower seeds. People love it.

Another variation on that concept is to use Panera’s Fuji Apple salad dressing and still add the red onion and cranberries to marinate overnight. Just before serving, I add walnuts, chopped apples and goat cheese. It’s delectable!

An easy way to prepare kale is in a slow cooker with onion, garlic, lots of bacon, and a can of chicken broth. I cook it for 4 hours and it’s infused with great flavor.

Two other recipes I am sharing this week are my Horseradish Kale Slaw and Roasted Kale with Andouille, Mushrooms and Fried Eggs which is delicious for breakfast or dinner.

First, the slaw was inspired by a festival last year where a vendor mixed kale into his cabbage slaw. I love horseradish and make a wonderful horseradish slaw and decided to devote one strictly to kale. It’s great but keep your portions fairly small because raw kale is a little harder to digest. Also, you must make this 24 hours in advance for the kale to soften a bit. Leftovers keep for several days which is nice.

The Roasted Kale with Andouille, Mushrooms and Fried Eggs is so scrumptious. First I roast the kale in the oven to tenderize it, then I sauté andouille sausage and mushrooms but you can also substitute ham or tasso or kielbasa, and then I top it with two runny eggs and let the yolk run all over the dish. The texture and flavors are incredible.

So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this green vegetable this season.

Horseradish Kale Slaw

Serves 4

2 cups sliced kale, packed into the cups

1 1/3 cups shredded carrots

4 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

3/4 tablespoon Woeber’s horseradish sauce

1 heaping teaspoon sugar

Generous amount of salt and pepper

Rinse kale and pull the leaves off the stems. Discard the stems.

I buy pre-shredded carrots for this recipe because it’s easier.

Dry the kale and then gather the leaves up and thinly slice them. Place kale in a large bowl with the carrots and sliced green onions. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables.

In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, horseradish sauce and sugar. Pour the sauce over the kale and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate it for 24 hours before serving.

This is a fairly dry slaw, which I enjoy. Some people like slaw that is drowning in dressing and if that is your preference, I suggest you double the dressing recipe.

24 Hour Kale Salad

Serves 2-3

2 1/2 cups of sliced kale

1/3 cup Litehouse Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2-3 tablespoons chopped red onion (depends on the strength of onion)

1/3 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds (can substitute walnuts or candied pecans)

1 cup sliced strawberries

Rinse the kale and then pull the leaves off the stems. Pat dry with a paper towel. Then cut the leaves into bite-size pieces. Place the kale, raspberry vinaigrette, chopped red onion and dried cranberries in a container with a tight fitting lid and toss the kale to coat it. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Before serving, add the honey roasted sunflower seeds (which are available at Walmart), and the sliced strawberries.

Kale Chips

Serves 3-4

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon olive oil

Canola cooking spray

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the kale and pull leaves off the stems. Discard the stems. Place the kale on a baking sheet. Pat the kale dry and then use a brush to wipe the olive oil over the leaves.

Then generously spray every leaf with cooking spray. You want it coated. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake 10-13 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the chip.

Roasted Kale with Andouille, Mushrooms and Fried Eggs

Serves 2

2 cups of packed, rinsed, sliced kale (stems removed)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

1 andouille sausage chopped, or substitute 2/3 cup of chopped ham or tasso

2 large eggs

8 small Portobello mushrooms, sliced

Cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the kale and then pull the leaves off the stems. Pat dry with a paper towel. Then cut the leaves into chunks (you can buy bags of precut kale and that will work but you need to remove the tough stems).

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside.

Chop whatever meat you are using- andouille, ham, etc. Sauté it for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and then cook the mushrooms in the same fat, adding canola oil or cooking spray if necessary.

When the kale is done, prepare two eggs, over easy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then assemble the dish: place the kale on the bottom, topped with andouille and mushrooms, and then the eggs. Break the yolk before serving.

 

SOURCE : bransontrilakesnews.com by Juliana Goodwin