Monday, March 29, 2010

Kale week and two recipes

Jon is working in France right now and will be for the next six months or so (don't worry; I get to visit this summer), and his departure has thrown me a little out of my food and cooking rhythm. Specifically, I barely have to cook because I eat much less than Jon+Ev. So I have fewer opportunities to try new things, and I don't have as much motivation to be fun and creative in the kitchen. Here is a post I started a while ago when Jon was in town and gave up on at the time because my pictures weren't uploading properly. I have a few other recipes I've been meaning to write up, so those should be appearing soon. And I'm working on getting my groove back. A big part of this is learning that "serves six" means "you can eat this for eight meals" instead of "you might have leftovers for lunch tomorrow if you're lucky" like it used to.

It is no secret that I love kale. A couple weeks ago I proposed that we should have a "kale week" where we ate kale every day. Jon was a bit skeptical and suggested that we only do a kale work week, but we ended up eating kale the Sunday before and Saturday after as well, so it was a full week of kale. I proposed kale week in part because I love kale and in part to see if I would get tired of it. I didn't at all. In fact, the Monday after kale week, we made a kale pizza, pictured above, recipe below.

Sunday: Potato, kale, carrot, and onion skillet.
Monday: Southwestern quinoa salad (recipe coming soon, perhaps) with a side of sauteed kale
The picture uploaded 90 degrees clockwise from what the file looked like in the folder the first time, so I rotated it 90 degrees counterclockwise and tried again. That time, it uploaded in the same orientation as the file in the folder. I tried to rotate it again, but it was not having any of that. Technology!

Tuesday: Chickpea crepes topped with red Russian kale, golden beets, and feta cheese. Delicious!
Wednesday: We knew we would be eating dinner out with friends, so we sauteed some kale with sesame oil and salt and had it as a side to our lunch of sandwiches.
Thursday: Spinach ravioli with kale added to the cooking water at the last minute, topped with cheese.
Friday: Mac and cheese and kale. Jon makes great mac and cheese from scratch, and this time we sauteed up a bunch of red kale and stirred it in. It was great! Next time I might increase the kale to two bunches to get even more kaley goodness. The recipe is below.
Saturday: Leftovers of various kale-containing foods
Sunday: No kale.
Monday: Kale pizza

Macaroni and cheese and kale
This is based on the mac and cheese recipe from the New Basics Cookbook. We reduced the cheese significantly from their recipe and added kale. The recipe dirties a lot of dishes and takes a while, but it sure is tasty. I think this could be made with blanched broccoli or asparagus in place of the kale.

vegetable oil for sauteing
1 or 2 bunches kale, washed, tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 pound penne or rigatoni
4 cups milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp paprika (we use sweet or hot smoked, or a combination)
salt and black pepper
4 oz gruyere cheese, grated

In a saute pan over medium heat, saute the kale in the vegetable oil until it just wilts. Set aside.

Cook penne in plenty of water until just tender. Add the kale to the penne. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Set aside.

In another heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about five minutes. Do not allow to brown.

Add the hot milk to the flour mixture and whisk well. Add 1/2 tsp paprika and a generous amount of black pepper. Season with a little salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about five more minutes or until the mixture thickens. Add to the kale and penne and toss to coat thoroughly.

Butter a 9x13 baking dish and fill evenly with sauced penne. Distribute the grated gruyere evenly and sprinkle with more pepper and the rest of the paprika. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot. Turn on the broiler (use caution if you have a Pyrex baking dish) and cook under the broiler 3 or 4 minutes or until the top gets a little golden and crispy. (The kale on the top will dry out and get a nice crunch going.)

Kale pizza
I used both sauteed kale added at the beginning and raw kale added at the end. The sauteed kale crisped up a little but stayed substantial and chewy. The raw kale crisped up a lot and added nice crunchy bits. You might recall that I throw it onto a lot of my pizzas for a nice vegetal crunch. Jon said he would have preferred just the kale crispies, but I liked both.

1 pizza crust made with 1/2 whole wheat flour

vegetable oil for sauteing
1 bunch of kale, washed thoroughly, thick stems removed, leaves chopped
extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on pizza
about 1/4 of a large onion, sliced into thin rings or half-rings
1 oz gruyere cheese, cut into thin 1-inch squares
coarse salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 and put your pizza stone in it. Roll out the pizza crust.

In a saute pan over medium heat, saute all but a small handful of the kale in oil until just wilted. Remove from heat.

Brush pizza crust with olive oil. Scatter onion slices and cheese over crust. Sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper. Top with sauteed kale. It should be a pretty thick layer, but you might not want to use all of it depending on how big the bunch of kale was.

Transfer pizza to pizza stone. Bake for about 8 minutes or until crust is mostly, but not quite, done. Add the raw kale pieces and bake for 3 minutes more, or until crust is done. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Debi said...

Now is the time to cook all those foods Jon doesn't like. Unless he likes everything, in which case I'm jealous.

Evelyn said...

Jon likes everything except cottage cheese. There are a few things I like that Jon isn't wild about, like tomato-based gumbo or chili, but that's a mild preference, not an outright dislike. So you should be jealous because he's a cooking woman's dream husband!