Tag Archive for 'kale'

Tofu Fried Rice with Kale and Mushrooms

Hi there again – as you probably noticed, I am not blogging as frequently as I used to and it is mostly due to the incredibly slow internet speed and the nonexistence of wordpress in China. I have to use a way to get around that, which makes the process even slower and uploading pictures an incredibly frustrating process. Nevertheless, I am committed to this blog and I still love it.

I have hired a new Ayi (domestic help) who has the reputation of being an excellent cook and I hope I’ll learn a lot from her. She won’t start until August, so you’ll have to wait with me until then.

We went on a week long holiday to our former home, Thailand, and I took lots of pictures at my favorite market. I’ll hold on to those until I find a place with faster internet, which might not be until our summer holiday. I also finally completed a 21-day-Clean-detox and feel great. Some of you might remember my first attempt in August 2010, which I cut short after 14 days and fell into an omnivorous food binge. Luckily that didn’t happen this time around and I feel refreshed, healthy and definitely lighter.

So what can you expect in the weeks to come? An all time favorite lentil soup recipe,  miso soup with mushrooms and soba, my wonderfully gratifying sourdough bread experience and today this fried rice recipe, which I make all the time. I am surprised it hasn’t made it onto the blog until today. Here we go…

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Sesame Kale Chips

Here is my first post from China, and I am sorry that it is a recipe you can come across very easily nowadays and that it is not even remotly related to Chinese food. I made it just before leaving Massachusetts and probably won’t make it until we go back for our next holiday. Kale, or at least the types of kale we’re used to, isn’t available here or perhaps I haven’t found it yet. I did however find some local organic farms, which I will visit next week. Very exciting, especially in the dead of winter.

Our luggage full of food got through customs without so much as a glance – a huge relief, as it was loaded with plenty of treasures from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Now we just need to be as lucky with our Australian biodynamic olive oil, spices and bottles of wine hidden deep inside our moving boxes in our container, still out at sea.

In the few days we have been here, we had amazing Peking Duck at the very famous “Dadong” restaurant and very mediocre noodles. The kids had a great time spotting “unusual” ingredients on the menus, such as sea cucumber intestines, bullfrog, turtle, donkey, innards of every kind, soya pigeon, etc. I am planning to take my camera along to future restaurant and market visits and let you know what I found. I started checking out grocery stores and supermarkets that sell everything from electronics, to underwear to milk all the way from Germany. I found a few very sad looking organic vegetables, which were harvested long before Chinese New Year, and organic chicken and pork. The chicken still has its head and feet attached, which will be interesting when it comes to preparing dinner tonight. I had the choice between spring chicken, hen and rooster. I went for the hen, but it felt almost a bit too real. No doubt we will be well fed during this adventure here, hopefully without too much dog or donkey meat thrown into the mix.

Go make some kale chips now! It’s so easy and quick and a delicious snack which is loved by all. I am jealous already…

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale (any other than cavolo nero, also known as tuscan or lacinato kale, will be good)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3 tablespoons olive oil

sprinkle of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 200F (100C) convection heat, or 225 regular heat.

Wash and dry kale. Take a leaf into one hand and use the other hand to tear off the leafy part, starting at the thick end of the stem and moving all the way to the top of the leaf. Tear the stemless leaves into roughly 2×2 inch size pieces and put in a large bowl. Repeat with other leaves.

Drizzle kale with olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt. Mix well.

Place kale in single layer on parchment lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, turning kale over half way through. If some of the kale hasn’t turned crispy after 25 minutes, bake for a few more minutes.

Eat straight away, or store in air tight container for a 2-3 days.

 

Kale Salad with Baked Beets, Walnuts, Sprouts and Creamy Goat’s Cheese

I love kale in all forms and shapes and to my credit I did so even before it became fashionable. It is one of my favorite vegetables to grow during our mild Australian winters, because it is so prolific and doesn’t require a lot of attention. We had so much of it last year, I could have sold it at the market. To me, Cavolo Nero is the king of kale, but I also like the curly, rougher kind. As it’s still summer here, although not according to the calendar, I don’t have any left in my garden, but thankfully others do. So far I have mainly cooked with it, except for the baby leaves which I add to mixed green salads. On a recent stay in Los Angeles however, I discovered marinated kale in a salad at the fabulous small chain restaurant “The Veggie Grill“. I tried it out at home and discovered that if I dress the tough and chewy curly kale with balsamic dressing and let it sit for an hour or longer, it turns into a lovely and not at all tough or chewy salad. I have made it almost every day for nearly 2 weeks now and everybody who was lucky enough to taste some agreed with me. It’s divine and a welcome alternative to the good old green salad. I like to dress it up with roasted beets, toasted nuts and a little creamy fresh goat’s cheese. I also had some mung bean and broccoli sprouts which were a great addition. Give rocket and spinach a little break and try this. It makes the loveliest, most satisfying and super healthy lunch or is delicious as a side dish at the dinner table. Best of all, it doesn’t wilt like most green salads do which makes it perfect for the buffet table.

Continue reading ‘Kale Salad with Baked Beets, Walnuts, Sprouts and Creamy Goat’s Cheese’

French Buckwheat Pancakes (Galettes)

Hello there again! After 2 weeks of absence I have found my way back to my sorely missed blog. I was on a detox adventure (may be I still am a little) and none of my concoctions looked worthy enough for this blog. I have however taught a “Spring Cleaning” class full of detoxing information and recipes and will write about that as soon as I have digested these wonderful ‘galettes’.

I got the idea last night, when I had to make a typical French finger food for my son’s school presentation of “Joan of Arc”. He had to dress up as her, decorate a booth with related trinkets, posters and paraphernalia and present a little taste of France. As it was also the day of my daughters birthday party, I was short on time and could only think of one quick dish, which was crepes. To the great dismay of my two younger children I didn’t have enough batter to make some for them as well, and instead I promised them to repeat the process today.

I decided to slightly change the plan and instead of making sugary white flour crepes, I made galettes instead. The difference (to my knowledge) is that galettes contain mostly buckwheat flour and are used with savoury toppings rather than sugar, jam or chocolate. I found this wonderful recipe at ‘Chocolate & Zucchini’, a delightful French food blog which makes mine look very pale in comparison. The recipe is easy and the the galettes turned out golden and delicate and looked and tasted just like the real thing. As for toppings, anything goes. Traditionally they include eggs ‘sunny-side-up’, ham and cheese, and/or sauteed spinach and mushrooms. I decided to use some tiny white eggs from our Bantam chickens, which don’t make you feel guilty if you eat more than one, plus some chard and kale from the garden, fresh mushrooms and free-range bacon bits. I had 3 pans going simultaneously and miraculously burnt none of the galettes. Since my pans are not as large as a typical crepes pan, the slightly smaller than ideal galettes weren’t as easy to fold as they could have been, but I managed and my family isn’t too bothered about aesthetics. Dinner was declared a great success and possible future birthday dinner contender and for me there was definitely no going back to the detox juice tonight.

Running out of vegetables, the last few galettes turned into dessert. I sprinkled them with light brown sugar, spread some lovely organic raspberry and blueberry jam (IKEA!) on top, and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the end. Vive la France! 

Recipe

adapted from ‘Chocolate and Zucchini’

Makes 12 pancakes

Ingredients

For the galettes:

  • 200 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g white spelt flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 500 ml milk
  • 500 ml water

For the topping:

  • one bunch kale (I used cavolo nero)
  • one bunch swiss chard
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 500 g field or other mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 rashers of free-range bacon, cut into small bits
  • 6-10 small eggs
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • fine grain sea salt and pepper

extra butter for greasing the pans

Method

Put flour in a large mixing bowl and dig a little well in the center. Add the eggs into the well and incorporate them into the flour, using a fork or whisk. Slowly add the milk, while continuing to whisk. When all the milk is incorporated add water in a slow stream. Whisk until you get a runny batter without any lumps. Place in the refrigerator.

Wash and dry leafy greens. Cut out thick stems and slice leaves into 1 cm (1/2″) strips. Fry garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 1 minute in a wok or large frying pan. Add greens to garlic and stir fry until wilted, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In another pan fry mushrooms in a little butter and olive oil. Set aside when soft.

In a third pan, fry bacon bits until crispy. Set aside.

Now it’s time to make the galettes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or frying pan on high heat. Add a small piece of butter, let it melt and with the help of paper towel, spread it all over pan. Don’t burn yourself!

Pour one ladle of batter into middle of pan and swirl until batter covers entire pan in a thin layer. Cook on medium to high heat for a few minutes, checking underside of galette regularly to prevent burning. When underside has turned golden, flip pancake with a spatula and cook for a few more minutes.

Take some of your toppings and spread them in the center of the galette. Don’t overdue it, otherwise the folding will become nearly impossible.

When the other side of the galette is slighly golden and the edges a bit crispy, fold the four sides in and make a square package. If making galettes with eggs ‘sunny-side-up’, make sure the whites have been cooked before folding the galette. If it’s too hard to make a square, just fold in two sides.

Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve straight away or place in a preheated oven to keep warm.

Bon Appetit!

Kale and Mushroom Pizza

I am constantly looking for new recipes that would help me make a dent in the enormous abundance of kale in our backyard and one of my ideas was to use it on pizza. When a guy at the market, who makes pizzas in his trailer, offered me some of his fresh dough the other day, I couldn’t resist. His pizzas looked delicious and I figured his dough would be too. Although I do make my own dough, using half whole wheat or spelt and half white flour, I am not opposed to getting a break in the kitchen once in a while. Back at home, I picked about a kilos worth of Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale or Lacinto Kale) to use with some caramelized onions, garlic, sliced mushrooms, and a mixture of sheep’s milk feta and fresh mozzarella on my pizzas.

Cavolo Nero is widely used in Italy and you might have seen it in some Italian cook books or in one of Jamie Oliver’s shows. When sauteed, it doesn’t wilt like spinach or chard and needs slightly longer to be cooked. It’s excellent stir-fried with lots of garlic, but I also add it to freshly made juices and use the younger leaves in salads. When fresh, it is very tasty and mild, plus it is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If you can’t get it at the farmer’s market or grocery store, try growing it on your own. It lasts forever and new leaves just keep coming up.

The pizzas turned out fantastic, even if my kids kept searching for the tomato sauce. And yes, the market-bought pizza dough was a winner and probably didn’t have the least bit whole wheat flour or spelt in it. But you only live once… However, if any of you would like to make your own pizza dough and are looking for a recipe that works well, let me know and I’ll be happy to post it for you.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 large balls (about 1 pound each) of fresh pizza dough, enough for 2 baking trays
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) Cavolo Nero, Chard or Spinach, washed, thick stems removed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) strips
  • 1 punnet of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced into rings
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 balls fresh mozzarella, grated or cut into small bits
  • 200g (7 oz) mild feta cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Bring pizza dough to room temperature by putting it in a bowl coated with olive oil. Let rise for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 225 C (450F).

Using a rolling pin, roll the 2 separate balls into 2 thin rectangles, fitting 2 baking trays. Alternatively, make 6 individual round pizzas.

Sprinkle baking tray with corn meal to prevent dough from sticking.

Lay rolled out dough on baking trays and cover with cling wrap. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan. Add onion rings and fry on low heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until onions are nicely browned and caramelized.

In a separate pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add chopped garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  With the heat on medium, add cavolo nero or other greens and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread sauteed greens evenly on pizza doughs (remove cling wrap first). Top with sliced mushrooms and caramelized onions. Spread each pizza with mozarella and feta and drizzle with extra olive oil.

Place both baking trays in the oven using the middle and top shelf. Rotate and turn the trays 180 degrees half way through baking. The pizzas are done when the cheese has melted and and the crust is nice and golden (8-10 minutes).

Bueno Appetito!