Winter Kale Salad

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Yes, yes. Another one. But what can you do, when your garden still produces armfuls of fresh kale, despite constant sub-freezing temperatures and a decent snow cover? We throw together kale salads all the time, and only rarely do we follow any kind of recipe (not even our own, to be honest). Because kale salads are almost like those I-need-to-clear-out-the-fridge-soups – you grab whatever needs to be used up and put it all in a bowl together with massaged kale and a dressing (preferably a simple, creamy one). We usually think like this: kale – legumes – starchy vegetables – onion – something sweet – something crunchy – dressing. Use that formula, and you’ll be golden! This time, the combination looks like this: kale – chickpeas – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes – roasted red onion – crispy apple cubes – toasted sunflower seeds – rosemary tahini dressing. I can’t really think of any combinations that wouldn’t work… except maybe roasted carrots. Or am I crazy to say that? It might be good. Yes, it probably is (I apologize, carrots).

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Fava Bean Patties

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For those of you unfamiliar with the looks of fava beans (or “broad beans” as they’re also called), they come in long, flat-ish, light green pods when seen fresh, and they’re quite exquisite. They’re also a p-a-i-n to peel. Actually, speaking of peeling them – both Mike and I can still recall this one really funny story our good friend Grant once told us, about when he was out at a nice restaurant and ordered fresh fava beans as a starter. Aware of the hassle of peeling fava beans, he was very excited at the thought of getting to enjoy this early summer delicacy without having to do anything himself. Well, or so he thought. You can easily imagine his disappointment when the waiter put down the plate in front of him, and all he could see was a pile of pods… He had to roll up his sleeves and peel them all himself!

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Slow Cooked Green Kale

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Slow cooked might not sound like the most appealing cooking method when you have a million things on your plate leading up to Christmas – there’s the decorations to put up, the Christmas cards to send out, the gifts to wrap… and the food to cook. I love Christmas with all my heart. Endlessly. But I’ve definitely come to learn that prioritizing tasks and letting go of all these ideas of how things should be the month of December a lot more like what I dream of and a lot less of what I fear. I want it to be a time full of lit candles, sweet treats, warming drinks and music. I want it to be about coming together, embracing the cold weather, wrapping up the year that’s been. And I want it to be about cooking and eating delicious food, at the expense of nothing and no one (except maybe your waistline but that’s ok too!). With that said, prioritize what matters to you. And know that even though this recipe is called “slow cooked”, it’s not going to require your attention for all that many minutes in total. Give it a spot on your stovetop and it’ll mostly take care of itself.

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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Tahini Dressing

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Does the world really need another kale salad, you might wonder? Well, that can indeed be debated. But it seems we just have to share the one that we return to time upon time – the one that manages to satisfy all (ok, most) food cravings, whether you’re longing for greens and vegetables or something filling, scrumptious and creamy. Making this salad will get all those boxes checked! Green curly kale is a staple around here, and I must say it’s our favorite kale variety for this type of salad. When we lived in NYC, we bought all of our produce at the Union Square Farmers Market and the one thing that ALWAYS found its way into my backpack (yep, I packed up everything in my backpack because schlepping a whole week’s worth of fruit and veggies 12 street blocks and 5 avenues would literally make my arms fall off) was green curly kale. In the midst of winter and crazy storms (fellow New Yorkers, you know what I’m talking about), I’d dig out the bunches from underneath the snow and they’d be as tasty as ever. I know there’s a lot of kale talk (heck, even kale sweaters), but I do love it. How could you not adore something so pretty, easy to grow (well, if you keep checking for cabbage worms) and mind-blowingly nutritious? While declaring your love for kale has ‘pretentious’ written all over it… I just can’t help myself. It’s awesome.

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Slow Cooked Kale Bowl

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Michael deserves all the credit for developing this dish (of my dreams). I literally think I could eat slow cooked dino kale every day of the week – especially when cooked like this, with onions, garlic, fresh rosemary (the key!) and a dash of red pepper flakes. It’s the ultimate topping for any type of grain in your bowl – be it wheat berries, which is our favorite + available locally, rice, quinoa or pasta – and it works wonderfully with just about any vegetables on the side. All in all, it’s the easiest meal to adjust based on the time of year. We still have tomatoes aplenty in our garden, and the combination between the slight acidity of those and the sweet-spicy of the kale is perfect. Once the tomatoes say goodbye for this year, I bet we’ll stir in broccoli florets instead – or maybe parsnip wedges.

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Kale and winter squash salad

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If someone would ask me about any particular food items I came across and fell in love with while in New York (I don’t know why anyone would, but that’s not the point ok?), I would say winter squash every day of the week. Besides the fact that there are so many different varieties and they’re thereby endlessly versatile, they’re just so freaking good. Actually, one the first meals Michael cooked for me featured delicata squash (which happens to be the star of the show in this recipe too), and he had roasted slices of it in the oven – but not just any slices. They had been brushed with butter, drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg. I was already madly in love at this point, but if I hadn’t been, I’m pretty sure Michael would have won my heart right there and then (never underestimate the power of the combination of butter, sweetness and cinnamon).

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Chickpea pasta with seasonal vegetables

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We discovered chickpea pasta about 2-3 years ago, and have been hooked since. It offers close to an identical consistency and comfort food-feel as ‘real’ pasta (oh I can hear all you pasta puritans roar!), but (naturally) packs in a a lot more protein and fibers. Now, regular pasta is NOT bad food. It’s great, especially if you happen to live an active lifestyle and need lots of energy. But sometimes, if you want to, let’s say, get away with just vegetables for your ‘sauce’, using the chickpea version will make it more of a complete meal. And what’s better than just topping your bowl with some seasonal veggies? Our garden is producing pounds and pounds worth of dino kale, rainbow chard and zucchini right now, so the choice for this dish was simple. In a month from now, it’ll most likely be broccoli instead, and maybe bell peppers (but those little guys better speed up, since fall is around the corner and they’re yet to ripen), and a month after that, we’re probably using green kale and carrots. But back to the vegetables in focus here. Dino kale is, as a matter of fact, one of our favorite crops, all categories. Easy to grow, magnificently beautiful to look at (you really understand where they got the name ‘dino’ from, when admiring the blue-black bubbly leaves) and so, so delicious. It is the hybrid of green curly kale and savoy cabbage, and boy, did they get that baby right. The tiniest, most anonymous splash of something sweet (e.g. maple syrup) works wonders with dino kale, and can really be worth a try. Anyway, this is as simple as cooking gets, and the outcome is quite awesome. Enjoy!

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Kale, Eggs and Feta

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As delicious as it is pretty, this is a frequent midweek meal at our house. It doesn’t always come looking quite this fancy, though, because really – the ingredients are about the same as for the classics of omelets and frittatas. The emphasis is on the kale – there is a lot of it – and even though all of us know this particular leafy green is so good for us… it can’t hurt to mention that you’ll be all set as far your daily Vitamin A, E and C needs, get a boatload of potassium, calcium and iron and cash in on a good amount of folic acid if you munch this down. Just sayin’. Now, just make sure you get a. the organic kind and b. locally sourced. Pop by a farmers market and get it there, flip the package over and read the back if you hit up the store. Make sure it hasn’t circled the planet before landing on your plate. And if you’re holding 500 grams of kale in your arms (yes, it’ll require arms, not just hands – unless yours are really big!) thinking ‘how on earth am I going to eat all of this?’, don’t you worry – as soon as you blanch the greens, the volume decreases significantly. Lastly, we often eat this with a darker, whole-grain-y type of bread to get some good carbohydrates, but that’s obviously up to each and every one. We just belong to the category of (very) hungry people. Let’s get cooking!

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