Green Smoothies…green with kale, green with spinach, green with arugula, green for Spring, green with goodness…8 days a week is not enough to show I care.
This all started with my good friend and co-worker Brad Hunter. I worked on a project with him that I call “all things Kale” for HGTV Home Plants website. Check out the “original Food on Fifth” kale smoothie at their site.
This project consisted of creating simple doable recipes using Kale & honey, Tru Bee Honey to be exact. Kale salad dressing, uber healthy salads with chopped kale…one thing led to another until lastly I made a simple kale smoothie. That was a couple of months ago and every morning since we, over here at Food on Fifth, have a “variation on Brad’s kale smoothie”. I toss in bananas or blueberries or plums, pineapple, mango, pears, protein powder and organic apple juice, honey, whatever we have on hand.
I am not sure if it is true, but I feel lighter, definitely healthier and generally have an added sense of well-being. We have one for breakfast every day…sometimes this is what I have for lunch. Thanks Brad! No real recipe is needed but here in a little list to get you started.
Big beautiful bunches of Kale...Red Russian with its purplish-red stems & lacy tips, Lacinato Kale very sturdy with the deepest dark green color, and our old, familiar favorite, Curly Kale rather fluffy with white stems & veins all piled high and dewy fresh at the Nashville Farmer’s Market.
Like the “it girl”, Kale, is the “it green”…the green “of the moment”…the “if you own a restaurant in this century Kale is a must for your menu” green…unless you have been living under a rock or off-the-grid completely you know this…right? Right.
To celebrate the “it-ness” of Kale, it’s bounty, beauty and health benefits I came up with this oh-so-easy recipe for “Kale, Beautiful Kale, Pesto“.
Here is all you will need:
1 bunch of Kale, rinsed & patted dry, middle stem trimmed out, leaves broken into bite-size pieces.
2 garlic cloves, 1 cup toasted walnuts, 1 cup shredded Gruyère Cheese, good olive oil, 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, plus a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano to grate over servings.
Here is all you need to do:
1. Place garlic cloves & walnuts in a food processor fitted with the cutting blade. Pulse until nuts & garlic are chopped, but not too finely.
2. Add Kale pieces, fresh lemon juice & sea salt to processor bowl. Pulse while adding about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil to mixture. Stop & scrape down bowl if you need to. Add Gruyère to the mix and pulse a few times to make a nice paste. Add more or less oil depending on how you like your pesto. I prefer a chunkier, less oily pesto.
3. Top a bowl of hot pasta with a dollop of Kale Pesto, grind some black pepper on top, add some freshly grated Parmesan..and a glass of a crispy chilled wine. So far, so good October!
My summer garden was not what I had anticipated…too much brutal heat, too little rain. After much garden angst I decided to just stop my incessant watering and let nature run amok. And it did….basically everything except a few tomato plants and my herbs just wilted and died. Nature did its thing and I did mine by letting it do its thing. Such is the life of gardening.
I did not let my summer garden failure stop me from having hope for my late fall-winter garden of greens. I set out plants and sprinkled seeds in late September and this week I harvested my first “greens for dinner”…two kinds of chard & kale, bok choy, collards, spinach, arugula and sorrel..bravo to the winter garden!
If there is one thing we Southerners really love it is our “Greens and Cornbread”. But many of us Southerners (me for one) have childhood memories of having a dinner plate set in front of me with a serving of dark-green-almost-black totally-cooked-beyond-recognition turnip greens or collard greens which I tried to avoid eating by hiding them under some other over-cooked vegetable equally unappetizing looking. I spent lots of my childhood hiding food I did not want to eat under other food I did not want to eat.
Now I rather relish eating a helping of over cooked greens at any of my local “meat & three” restaurants along with a slice of hot cornbread….every now and then. I also relish eating greens cooked my way with hot, buttery cornbread made my way which is what I made for dinner last night.
“Sauteed Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins”
Gather or buy about 6 large handfuls of mixed greens. Rinse in cool water and shake dry. Roughly chop greens.
Drizzle some good olive oil in a large heavy pan and add chopped greens. Place over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1 finely diced shallot & 1 clove minced garlic over greens. In a few minutes the greens will start to steam and wilt. Gently toss greens as they cook. Add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a handful of golden raisins, a dash of hot pepper flakes, salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Serve hot wilted greens drizzled with a fruity vinegar such as black fig vinegar or a good balsamic and hot (Kerrygold) buttered cornbread.
“A Simple Cornbread to Enjoy with Greens”
Drizzle a bit of olive oil in an iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet and put it in the oven as you heat it to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together 10 ozs. of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread Mix, 2 eggs & 1 cup of warm water. The first time I used this cornbread mix I was skeptical, but to my surprise it was very delicious and everyone who has eaten it has no idea it is gluten-free! The texture is very dense, the flavor not sweet, but buttery. I ignore the directions on the back of the package and just add eggs & water. One of my favorite cornbreads was a “hot water cornbread” my Mother used to make. This is similar. A great find.
Remove hot skillet from the oven and scrape the cornbread batter into the skillet. Put back into oven and bake for about 30 minutes until cornbread is cooked throughout and light golden brown. Serve cornbread slices with a slathering of softened Kerrygold butter alongside a plate of Greens.
So…for you greens and cornbread skeptics, you non-Southerners who think you do not like this traditional Southern fare, you Southerners who have never eaten greens still a bit crunchy with just the right wilted-ness combined…I ask that you try this simple little set of recipes and let me change your mind.