Thursday, May 31, 2012

Massaged Kale Salad

You've all heard about it!  It's considered a nutrient dense food; recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor.  Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables can do wonders for your health, but choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K.

During the winter months when there is a big pot of soup on the stove I like to toss in a few hand fulls of kale.  Or even just simple sauteed with garlic, onions and mushrooms.  In the warmer months when I don't want to be over a hot stove then I turn to salads.  This salad in particular in nutritious, filling and best of all DELICIOUS.  It holds up in the fridge for at least 4 days without the greens wilting.

As with all recipes, use what you have on hand and what your family enjoys.  This is simply a method that can be customized to your palate. 

Massage Kale Salad with Cranberries and Apples

1 bunch kale, leaves torn from the stalks and thinly sliced
1/4 cup of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 red delicious apples, or pear
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries (whatever you have)
1/4 cup red onion, minced or grated using a micro plane
1/4 cup toasted nuts (I used pepitas/pumpkin seed)


In a large bowl, toss the sliced kale leaves with a small drizzle of the olive oil and a bit of Kosher salt; massage with your hands until the kale softens and wilts, about 2-3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk honey, apple cider vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over the kale, toss in apples and cranberries.  Stir to incorporate.  Chill for an hour or two to all the flavors to meld.  Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds before serving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

South Western Quinoa - with black beans and corn

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in Food Revolution Day put on by Fit City Kennesaw.  I'm happy to say we had over 150 people signed up to attend a cooking class called “See It, Make It, Eat It” that was conducted at the Edge Kitchen off Jiles Road by instructors to teach people how to prepare healthy foods.

My dish for the day was the Quinoa and Black Bean Salad or what I would like to call a Southwestern Quinoa Salad.  Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.  Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein.  It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. 
Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.  Make a double batch when you  make it and use it in several dishes through out the week.  It can go from breakfast to dinner with a few swap outs.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ - 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 ½ cups liquid - water, vegetable broth, chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
10 oz frozen corn or 3 ears corn
2 15 oz. can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Stir in onions and garlic.  Saute until lightly browned.  Meanwhile, place quinoa and liquid in a pot, bring to a boil.  Stir, cover, and reduce to low heat.  Allow to cook for  20 minutes.

Mix quinoa with seasoning, corn, black beans, onion mixture, lime juice and cilantro. Allow to cool for one hour in the fridge to let the flavors meld. Taste to adjust seasoning.

This is a great salad and will last in the fridge for at least 4-5 in a tightly covered container.

Thank you to everyone that participated in Food Revolution Day, I hope we inspired you to try something new and delicious in your own kitchen.