Dinosaur Kale Salad

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Finally – a post about kale. I am admittedly late to the game as the kale explosion has been going on for a few years and this leafy green is everywhere! A few things I have learned about kale recently through much research and experimentation:

*There are three common types of kale : curly (most common), red leaf, and dinosaur (aka lacinato/Tuscan) kale. They can be used interchangeably but in general red leaf is best for chips and dinosaur is best for raw salads (and converting so-called kale haters).

*Massage your dressing in and let the salad sit a few hours (or 24!) in the fridge to soften and flavour everything.

* Kale stays fresh SO much longer than lettuce ! Mine keeps for several weeks in the fridge (just in a bag or de- stemmed, torn, washed, dried and in a salad spinner or jar in the fridge). If you find your whole bunch has wilted, cut 1/2″ off the bottoms and place in a glass on cold water on the counter for a few hours – it will crisp right up! Once it is yellowing at the edges it is time to be sacrificed to the compost gods.

*Green smoothies aren’t worth it. We should only be having raw kale a few times a week to avoid thyroid issues (read more about why here). I would much rather enjoy a few kale salads each week than drink something concocted to mask the texture and flavour of my beloved green.

This salad started off with the common lemon-garlic-oil blend seem all over the blogosphere but has a bit of a twist (basil and tomatoes). Think of deconstructed caesar salad meets bruschetta. The gentle textured dinosaur kale and unique blend of flavours and will win over those previously claiming to “hate kale”.

This recipe is about a balance of flavours. Most of the lemon-garlic-oil kale salads I found looked like garlic salads to me – start off with just half or a whole clove – you can always add more.

Adapted significantly from Marin Mamma Cooks

Bruschetta Dinosaur Kale Salad or Kale Haters Salad

1 bunch of dinosaur kale , destemmed and cut in a chiffonade

1 pinch of salt

1/2-1 clove of garlic

Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tablespoons

3 tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Fresh cracked black pepper

Two small handfuls of fresh Parmesan

5-10 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon of fresh chives, minced

5 basil leaves, cut in chiffinade

Small handful of sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or butters breadcrumbs (opt.)

Mince the garlic then add salt and smash into paste with knife or pestle.

Put garlic and salt in jar and add lemon juice, oil, chives, and sugar and shake well

Massage into kale (rub into leaves with your hands until wilted)

Sprinkle pepper and one handful of cheese on salad and toss

Sprinkle the rest of cheese on top of salad and arrange tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with basil and refrigerate 1-24 hours or more before serving. If you are adding nuts or buttered breadcrumbs, add these just before serving.

Chia and Hemp Heart Granola

mmmm... very tasty and good for you :)

mmmm… very tasty and good for you ­čÖé

Ah, granola, or hippie crack if you prefer. So much better home made and easy to modify to your tastes. I had made granola before but this time I wanted granola that was somewhat loose but also had clusters, which are better for snacking on. As with most things culinary I started off with some Alton Brown recon and ended up combining his granola┬áand granola bars┬árecipes as a base for my own. The result is a nutritional powerhouse that will make your house smell like hippie crack heaven. ┬áI stored mine in jars and after about a week the bit that was left wasn’t as crisp – easy to fix this by putting your granola back in the oven (on a cookie sheet) for 15 minutes or so at 325. ┬áKeep an eye on the fruit ( i sometimes remove the fruit for re-baking) as it will burn WAY before the oats/nuts do. When I make granola I like to give some away but also have enough for breakfast for my husband and I for at least a week so I don’t muck around. This is a decent sized batch and will make about 1-1.5 cereal boxes worth. Kids LOVE this and you will feel good givin’ it to em.

And hey, when your house smells like hippy crack heaven and you go to take this out of the oven (for the first time of many I’m guessing), don’t worry that it hasn’t crisped up. As it cools it sure will!

UPDATE: New easier method! See below for details. Also if you are ever out of oats but have a bland box of oat and nut/fruit cereal around just substitute 4 – 4.5 cups of a muesli type cereal for all the oats, nuts, and fruit.

Chia and Hemp Heart Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of  roughly chopped raw or roasted almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup hemp seed hearts
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup honey or real maple syrup (just eyeball it or oil your measuring cup to avoid a sticky mess)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or grapeseed/ vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons sea salt
1.5 cups large dried fruit, any combination of apricots cherries, raisins, etc. (Currants are too small. Roughly chop apricots.)
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, nuts, and coconut onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey or maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture begins to froth up. Add vanilla and stir.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.

Sprinkle spices, chia, and hemp hearts over oat mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the warm sticky mix over the oat mixture, stir well, and pat down into your largest parchment lined cookie sheet.

granola before baking

Bake for 30 minutes or until an even brown, no need to stir. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in jars, ziplock bags, or tupperware.

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