Welcome to my whole foods cooking blog. I believe that food and eating are essential to our life as human beings and in forming a strong social connection to the world around us. This blog is a way to experiment with recipes and educate myself and anyone else who stumbles by on the history and benefits of eating slow, whole foods.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Go Green- Part 1: Kale

Many people already know, or have been told repeatedly by their doctors, that the green leafy vegetables are among the best veggies you can include in your diet. The way most Americans handle this information, if they bother to heed the advice at all, is to get that one big salad a day and call it even. After all, it's fairly brimming with the green goods so there's got to be enough in their to do my body good. The Go Green series is meant to shed light on just which greens are REALLY packing the nutrient punch and which ones you could probably pass by in the vegetable aisle.

Today we're talking about Kale. You may know it as one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can get your hands on, or you may know it as that funky green afro nestled somewhere between the swiss chard and fresh spinach. Kale, contrary to its leafy, light appearance, is in fact in the cabbage family. It is high in vitamin A, calcium, and beta-carotene but is also packed with Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese. Nutritiondata. com gives it a 257 anti-inflammatory rating. For those unaware, the American diet is extremely inflammatory meaning it promotes inflammation in your body which leads to diseases such as auto-immune diseases, heart disease, and cancers when it goes unchecked. So including a heavy hitter like this as a staple in your diet is crucial. Kale is also one of the "Dirty Dozen" or highest pesticide containing foods when raised conventionally so if your are discerning with just what makes the organic grocery list make sure to add kale as one of them.

Now obviously it is not the bad word of mouth keeping Kale from most Americans plates although in many areas it's LACK of any knowledge that's the real dilemma. But for the most part, people are just afraid of it. Could be their mom boiled the living daylights out of it when they were younger and now they're scarred for life having nightmares of soggy, tasteless green blobs. Or they just are so overwhelmed by the sight of it that they just don't even want to try. Or it resembles the beast from The Little Shop of Horrors and no one wants to go there... I am here to say you can take on kale. I have faith that everyone can master cooking delicious kale without any nose-holding or grimacing.

There are many tasty recipes the be had on the web, but I would like to share one of my favorite preparations with you today. In fact, you may just find yourself eating this kale like popcorn (I know I did)!

Roasted Kale with Pine Nuts

Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 15 min

1 bunch organic Kale
1/3 c organic pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 tsp salt (I prefer smoked Salish)


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Wash and dry kale
3. Remove the leaves from the stem by running your knife along the stem where the leaves meet it
4. Roughly chop the leaves, they do not need to be small
5. Place chopped kale, pine nuts, garlic, EVOO, and salt in large bowl and mix thoroughly (I prefer using my hands to ensure all the leaves get coated)
6. Spread out in either a large sheet tray or 1-2" deep baking dish, do not worry if they pile up as they will shrink
7. Bake for 15 minutes
8. Remove and enjoy!

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