Freezing Kale for Winter

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Some years in Philadelphia, we’re lucky to have  kale in our raised beds all winter long. But in other parts of the country, and during particularly hard winters everywhere, your kale isn’t going to make it through the winter.

Though it won’t really work in a fresh salad, frozen kale is a great addition to winter smoothies, soups and stews, sauces, the list goes on.

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If you’re interested in freezing some kale for winter, it’s a fairly easy and straight-forward process. Start by picking the kale (or picking some up at your local farmer’s market. Pull the leaves off of the stem, and slice into thin strips.

Bring a large pot of water to boy, and add a bit of salt, then plunge the kale leaves into the boiling water, stirring, and allow to boil for a few minutes, until it becomes tender. Pull from the hot water bath, and plunge immediately into very cold water (or water with some ice floating in it!

Drain the kale in a colander, and then squeeze any extra water from the greens. Pack highly into freezer boxesProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset or freezer bags, and label with “Kale” and the year. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve dug so many greens from the depths of my freezer that I had to thaw to identify. What you’re sure you’ll remember now, you might not remember in a month!

Sure, it takes a few steps, and a little bit of advanced planning, but you’ll be happy to “break off” a hunk of organic greens from your freezer this winter

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Kale Greek Salad

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I love a classic Greek salad – so many different textures and the all the salty goodness from olives and feta. If you, like me, have a garden full of kale, or maybe you’re just interested in upping the nutritional content in your salad bowl, you can easily substitute raw or massage kale for the traditional Romain.

If you choose to keep the kale raw, just strip the leaves from the stalks, roll them (like a burrito!) and slice them very thinly. For a slightly softer kale, just add your dressing – olive oil, lemon, and a splash of red wine vinegar along with a pinch of coarse salt to the greens, and massage them with your hands until the leaves turn dark, and soft.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset If you like, you can toss your individual salad additions with additional dressing, or just leave them as is, put them in the bowl, grind on some black pepper, and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Tarte

A last-minute minute potluck dinner party, I’m hosting, and I find that I do not have the phyllo dough in the freezer that I thought I had. Nevermind, I decided to make a risotto instead. But the aborio box only has a cup of rice in it! A quick ingredient search on epicurious.com (squash, onions, kale) turned up

this recipe
, classy enough for a dinner party but easy enough that I could still put it together and have it come out of the oven, hot a beautiful, by 8pm. And it tasted just as good as it looked. Instead of the Fontina I substituted some gargonzola I had languishing in the freezer – to great success and sharper flavor.

Savory CousCous Salad

I love grain salads, but I often want them to pack a little more punch. This simple salad (really!) included fried chard and garlic, along with chopped carrots, red onions, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, capers, diced carrots and some raw sprouted chickpeas. I added (of course) some oil to the couscous and a special 35-spice blend for couscous that I picked up in Marrakesh. I wish I could tell you what’s in it, but it definitely includes cumin and chili. A dash of red wine vinegar, and this delicious salad lasted for days in the refridgerator.

Spring is Coming, but until then….

Folks, we are still in the dark days. I wish I could say that it wasn’t true, but as much as those few beautiful Philly days two weekends ago had me dreaming of summer tomatoes, it;’s just not that time yet. While those of us who are trying to eat seasonally are more than a bit tired winter vegetables, it’s cold and rainy this week (for now!). How about a nice pot of white bean soup? White beans cook quickly, even when you haven’t soaked them, and pair beautifully with carrots, kale, chard, potatoes and other winter wonders. How about some roasted red peppers or whole canned tomatoes from the summer? Give it a try, and know that spring, and fresh herbs, are coming.

Delicious Greens and Faux-Southen food

faux-southern

What to do with a pile of greens that’s interesting, fast and delicious? I had a huge pile of kale and bored with all my old ideas. A little flip through Simply in Season saved the night with their kale with peanut sauce recipe. Organic peanut butter, garlic, red onions, and the result was delicious greens. I rounded out the meal with some quickly boiled sweet potatoes and local tofu, dredged in rice milk then cornmeal, quick-fried in the and the skillet. As fast as ordering out, much healthy and cheaper, and a great little comfort dinner.

Raw Beet Slaw

Raw Beet Slaw
Raw Beet Slaw

“Slaw” is a pretty loose term. Finely chop some veggies up, add vinegar, and you have one. I had some beautiful beets and remembering a raw beet, carrot and apple  slaw I once sampled at the Prospect Park farmer’s market, I set to work. Of course, because I had a fridge full of greens, I had to add some of those two. The above slaw consists of

two beets, grated
two carrots, grated
beet greens, finely diced
4 kale leaves, thinly sliced
1 mackintosh apple, diced

I dressed the salad with a quick vinaigrette of

1 clove garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil

I could have diced the apple more finely, but it was 8pm, and I was hungry. Perfectly crunchy, sweet and tangy, it was delicious. I anticipate many more slaws in my summer future.