Kale, glorious kale! (Imagine singing that to the tune of “Food, Glorious Food” from the musical Oliver! ) I’m one of those people who can’t get enough of green, leafy things. Kale, chard, arugula, spinach … I love them all! I juice them, blend them into smoothies, eat them raw in salads, and cook them in all sorts of ways. One of my childhood memories is of me and my neighbor, Billy Hartcheck, sitting on the lawn tasting the various types of grasses and leaves that were growing all around us. Thankfully we weren’t poisoned, but I’ve liked eating greens ever since.
My first love was lettuce, followed by years of cooking with spinach. (I never cook with frozen spinach — even if a recipe calls for it, I substitute fresh spinach, because it’s a lot easier to work with and I’m not adding a soggy mess to my recipe.) One day I discovered that Swiss chard holds it’s texture better than spinach when cooked, so I started using chard in a lot of my recipes instead. Then came the kale craze. At first I bought the smooth, dark green “dinosaur” kale that people feed to their pet lizards. I took it home and juiced it, but the juice was much too strong for my taste. When I found the other varieties of kale on the shelves, I became a convert.
I just spent a week in L.A., and I was in kale heaven. I ate kale at least once a day, and they really know how to do it right over there. I had so many delicious and inventive salads and one yummy, lemony sauté with garlic. You’d think I’d be sick of kale, but no. This week I made a crunchy salad with an asian dressing (the great thing about a kale salad is that even with the dressing on it, it won’t get soggy and you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days), and when I ran out of that, I made a kale quiche with a super-easy crust. The recipes are below. If you have any favorite kale recipes, let me know and we can share them here!
Sandy’s Kale Quiche
Preheat Oven to 400.
For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (not quick)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. cold water
Mix all ingredients (dough will be oily). Place on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten the dough, cover with plastic and let rest for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a 10″ quiche dish and press dough into pan until it’s evenly spread along the bottom and up the sides.
Bake crust at 400 for 10 minutes, until just slightly golden. Remove from heat.
For the Quiche:
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped (Trader Joe’s sells a 10oz bag of organic Tuscan Kale already chopped that works perfectly)
3 large roasted piquillo peppers (sold in jars), drained and chopped
1 Tbs. dry mustard
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 tsp. sweet paprika
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Lower oven to 375. Sauté onion in olive oil until tender. Add garlic. Stir for one minute. Add kale. Cook approx. 15 minutes until wilted but not soggy. Add peppers, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne and salt. Set aside.
Mix eggs, paprika, flour, and milk or half and half. (I use a blender to take out lumps from flour and paprika.)
Combine kale mixture and eggs.
Place cheese on top of cooked crust, then pour in kale mixture. Bake at 375 for approximately 50 minutes or until set in the middle. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Kale, Beet, and Carrot Salad with Sesame Dressing
1 large beet, spiral sliced or sliced into matchsticks (I like to use the spiral slicer below)
3 carrots, spiral sliced or cut into matchsticks
1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
zest of one lemon
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
For the dressing:
1 Tbs. walnut oil
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. tahini (Joyva is my favorite brand)
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Mix all ingredients and toss with vegetables. Sprinkle with any combination of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, red pepper flakes, cilantro, or parsley. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.