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Kale, the Queen of Greens!

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Tami's Kitchen:  Recipes and ideas for local food in season

Commonly mistaken for rabbit food or garnish, this leafy green is a must-have in your diet. Easy to grow with a nice long growing season, this is an easy green to keep in your home garden or find at your local farmers market.

I call Kale the Queen of greens because of the combination of fantastic taste, texture, and superior nutrition content. One cup of Kale has 5 grams of Fiber, 43 calories, 23 mg of magnesium, and 134mg of Calcium and meets your daily requirements of vitamins A and C. Talk about packing a punch with every bite. 

Here are some tips on the care and keeping of this fine food. 

When buying Kale, you are looking for nice even colored green leaves, with no yellowing.  They should be sturdy and proud looking, not wilting and sad.  When you bring it home, wash it up and let it air dry, and then store in a clear plastic bag in your crisper.  You should eat it within 3-4 days from purchase to get it at its best. 

Eating the Kale: There are many ways, but you're usually going to start with cutting it up- and don't forget it's going to shrink a bit when you cook it.  Most recipes will tell you to cut out the stems- DON'T! They are fantastic, in my opinion.  You are of course in all reality able to make that decision on your own, but please try the stems at least once before you make your decision- they are so full of energy and water and they have a sweeter taste than the leaf.  So good!

All right, you're cut and washed, now you can decide to either steam, boil, bake, or eat raw.  Kale is really chewy when raw, so if you're going to go raw, be ready to be at the table for a little longer than usual.  For both boiling and steaming, you're only going to briefly have them in the hot water- they should be a nice bright green, and still a little proud when they are done.  If you go too far, they turn kind of brown and really sad... so let's keep the Kale happy.  You can also bake Kale chips by sprinkling them with olive oil and some spices and putting them in the oven at 350 for around 10 minutes each side (flip them or they will be pretty uneven)

When the Kale is done with boiling or steaming, you should "Shock" it by having a bowl of cold water by the stove- take the kale off the heat and plunge it into the cold water.  This will keep the remaining heat in the leaves from cooking them longer. 

Don't throw out the cooking water! Use it in a soup broth, or some folks like to just drink it up- it's got good stuff in there, don't waste it!

So now what... Do you eat it plain? Well you can, I love plain Kale, but here's a recipe in case you want to do something more fun with it:


Breakfast Kale
When your friends tease you about being a healthy eater and try to catch you not having had veggies before noon, you can have a free pass with this healthy breakfast!

• 2 farm fresh free range eggs
• Splash rice/cow/almond/hemp/soy milk
• 1 handful steamed kale, chopped small
• 3 tsp shredded or fine chopped raw beets
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tsp minced jalapeno (optional)
• Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat sauté pan with a little bit of butter or vegan butter substitute. Scramble eggs in a bowl with milk of choice.  Toss in veggies and spices and scramble some more.  Pour into sauté pan and cook as a scramble by tossing with a wooden spoon.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Great as is, with a side of potatoes, in a tortilla, or with whole grain toast.  Serves 1-2

Cooking greens with Tahini Dressing
I often call this dish "The Bone Builder" because of the high levels of calcium found in both the cooking greens and Tahini paste.  They are both loaded with calcium and balanced just right with their vitamin and mineral combinations that the calcium gets pushed right into your bones. 

• 1 bunch cooking greens (Kale, collards, chard, or beet greens), or a blend of different types
• 3 tbsp Tahini  (sesame paste)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 handful fresh Cilantro
• 1tbsp maple syrup
• 2 tbsp tamari, or soy sauce
• Juice and zest of 1 lemon
• 1/3-1/2 c water

Steam your greens, shock them, and set them aside.
Sauce: Put all ingredients, (except for the kale) just put ½ of the water into food processor or blender for now. Puree until creamy.  Add more water slowly to obtain desired consistency.  (Thickens in the fridge)
Drizzle over the Kale and anything else you like.  You’re going to love it.


Tamara Flanders is a Holistic Health Counselor and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Her health coaching practice, Your Body Awake, is located in Rexford, NY.  Learn more at her website www.yourbodyawake.com

Comments on "Kale, the Queen of Greens!"

  1. OEIC default avatar pcpc21 May 01, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    My family likes to eat kale too.  It has a high price per pound but it is light weight, so $1.50 of kale is enough for a meal. the way we usually cook it is to sautee onion with olive oil, then add the cut up kale into the pan, add some water and put the lid on the pan to steam the kale for a good amount of time on high heat, like 7 to 10 minutes, until the kale is easy to chew but not too soft. I add a few pinches of salt for flavor. The onion makes it more sweet, and the kale has a distinct flavor.

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