October 16, 2013

9-Year Olds Discuss the Value of Kale. (Plus 2 Great Kale Recipes.)

I hosted a big party last weekend for my three best friends and their entire families.

Between us, we have 11 sons.

The evening centered around elegant activities like Nerf Wars, beating trees with sticks, full tackle football in the front yard and video games. By bed time, everyone was a sweaty, dirty mess—their faces sticky from roasted marshmallows and pizza sauce.

Two of the boys slept over, sharing a big bed with my son, and they all piled together like bear cubs whispering late into the night. The next day I heard them rustling around at the crack of dawn and went to see what was up. I laid my ear against my son’s bedroom door and this is what I heard.

Boy #1: “My mom eats waaaay more kale than your mom.”

Boy #2: “No! My mom puts kale in some kind of drink every morning. She eats it every day!”

Boy #3: “Kale is good for you. It has lots of um… good stuff in it.”

Boy #1: “Yeah. You should eat kale all the time.”

Boy #2: “Yeah. At least, like, three times a week.”

All, vaguely: “Yeah….” voices trailing off as they make their way into the closet to load their Nerf guns once again.

Really? Nine-year old boys discussing kale first thing in the morning?

I felt bad I’d given them unlimited s’mores and cheese pies the night before. Next time I’ll slap together one of these two recipes and we’ll see who the real kale-eaters are.

Potato, Kale and White Bean Soup

A nice fall or winter soup that is easy to put together and full of wonderful color and texture.

(feeds 6-8)

  • 3-4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6-8 cups kale, stems removed and leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 10 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until soft. Add garlic, saute one minute. Add everything else except white beans, bring to boil. Lower heat and cook 15 minutes. Add white beans and heat through.

Serve with a nice crusty bread or green salad.

Classic Lentil and Kale Stew

These flavors will take you back to childhood, but this version has the added nutritional glory of kale and a sophisticated depth from ancho chili powder.

  • 1 bag brown lentils, rinsed
  • 10 cups vegetable broth (you may substitute one 16 oz can of diced tomatoes plus juice for three cups broth if you like)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6-8 cups kale, stems removed, leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbl dried thyme
  • 1 tbl dried sweet basil
  • 1 tbl ancho chili powder (or smoked paprika)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Saute onions, celery and carrots until soft. Add garlic, sauté one minute. Add spices and saute one more minute. Add liquid, bay leaf and lentils, bring to boil. Lower heat and cook, covered, 35 minutes. Add kale and cook 15 more minutes, or until lentils are soft, adding more liquid if need be.

You can serve this stew over rice, cous cous or just some good bread on the side. I like to have roasted vegetables along with it, maybe red pepper, garlic, onion, and zucchini, which you can eat alone or pile on the bread.

(To roast almost any veggies: chop garlic, everything else should be cut into bite sized pieces. Put in roasting pan in a single layer. Do not stack or veggies will steam rather than roast. Drizzle with olive oil. Massage oil into veggies. Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add one of any of the following spices if desired: fresh or dried rosemary, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, fresh or dried oregano, dried  basil, fresh or dried thyme. Put in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temp with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar before serving for extra kick.)


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Ed: Sara Crolick

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