Aug 18, 2018

Kale... Superfood That Tastes Good!

Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale grown at Kumu Farms here on Molokai. They also have curly kale.
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I have a love affair with kale. The most common variety of kale is curly kale. It gets its name from its curly leaves. Curly kale seems to cook a little faster than dinosaur kale (shown above) and is a little less bitter. There is another variety which is called red Russian kale. The stalks of this variety are slightly purple and the leaves have a reddish tinge. The stalks are very fibrous and are not usually eaten as they can be rather difficult to chew and swallow. The leaves of red Russian kale are sweeter and more delicate than other types, with a hint of pepper and lemon, almost like sorrel. They are ideal for salads, sandwiches, juices, and as a garnish.

Kale has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any vegetable, and until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates. Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems.

Serving suggestions:

Kale can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps, steamed, braised, boiled, sautéed or added to soups and casseroles.

In salads: When using kale raw in salads, massage the leaves by scrunching them briefly in the hands. This begins the breakdown of the cellulose in the leaves and helps release the nutrients for easier absorption.

As a side dish: Sauté fresh garlic and onions in extra-virgin olive oil until soft. Add kale and continue to sauté until desired tenderness. Alternatively, steam for 5 minutes, then drain and stir in a dash of soy sauce and tahini.

Kale chips: Remove the ribs from the kale and toss in extra-virgin olive oil or lightly spray and sprinkle with a combination of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, roasted red pepper flakes or garlic powder. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 30 minutes to desired crispness.

Smoothies: In a food processor or a high-speed blender, add a handful of kale to your favorite smoothie. It will add nutrients without changing the flavor very much.

Risks of eating Kale:

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause an increase in potassium levels in the blood. High potassium foods, such as bananas and cooked kale, should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If the kidneys cannot remove excess potassium from the blood, consuming additional potassium could be fatal.

A cup of kale provides 1,062.1 mcg of vitamin K. This could interfere with the activity of blood thinners such as warfarin, or Coumadin. Patients who are taking these medications should speak to their doctor about foods to avoid.



Ham & Eggs with Kale
The combination of ham, eggs, and kale makes this recipe something special. 
It is ideal for breakfast, but I enjoy this recipe anytime of day.

Usually available at Friendly Market
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of ham steak, diced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh curly kale, stems removed 
   and thinly sliced
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:
Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until the onions are translucent. Now add the diced ham and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute.

Now add the thinly sliced kale to the pan and toss with the onions and olive oil. Cook for a few minutes, until the kale is just wilted.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the beaten eggs to the pan. Stir until the eggs begin to set. Then stir in the grated cheddar cheese and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat and continue to stir a few times until the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings.


Oyster Sauce
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Curly Kale with Oyster Sauce
This is a very easy side dish that goes well with pork, chicken or beef.

Ingredients:
tablespoon canola oil
1-2 large garlic clove, sliced
7 ounces curly kale, rinsed with stems removed
3 fluid ounces boiling water
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Procedure:
Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Now add the kale and toss around the pan to coat in the garlicky oil. Pour over boiling water and cook for 7 minutes more until the kale has just wilted and is cooked through. Stir in the soy and oyster sauces and heat and serve.

Makes 2-3 servings.


Sesame Kale
Another delicious side dish using kale with sesame oil and seeds.

Ingredients:
Kadoya Brand
sesame oil

1 1/2 pounds curly kale
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper to taste

Procedure:
Wash the kale, but let the water cling to it. Cut off and discard the tough stems. Slice the leaves once down the middle, then cut them crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. In a wok, heat the oil. Add the garlic. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the kale with broth. Cover and steam for 3 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the soy sauce. Top the kale with sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

Makes 6, 1/2 cup servings.


Gingered Pork Tenderloin 
with Cremini Mushrooms, Garlic & Kale
Company food, or treat your family to this delicious meal for four.

Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Stir-fry Ingredients:
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces cremini mushrooms (baby portobello mushrooms), halved
3 cups chopped curly kale

Ingredients for Service:
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
Cook enough Jasmine rice for 4

Procedure:
In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, then add the sliced pork tenderloin, stir to cover in marinade and let sit covered in the refrigerated for at least 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Remove the pork slices from the marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade, and add the pork to wok with the garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes until the meat is browned, stirring often (don't burn the garlic). Remove the pork and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Then add in the mushrooms, kale, and reserved marinade, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the kale is wilted, the sauce has thickened and com to a boil, and the mushrooms have cooked, stirring regularly so that the sauce does not burn. Add the pork and toss to combine.

Serve immediately over cooked Jasmine rice, garnished with chopped green onions.

Makes 4 servings.


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