Tag Archives: kale

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans (and the Best Kale Ever)

The past couple weeks have been full of exciting discoveries.  I figured out how to replace a headlight (a tricky thing with a Mazda), which completely trumped my sense of accomplishment regarding the back light replacement.  Because my car repair self-efficacy is fairly low, I recruited my brother-in-law for moral support, but really, I did it myself.

Even more exciting, and more relevant here, I found out that our big cast iron skillet fits in the broiler of our oven, and I found my new favorite kale recipe.  I’m guessing you’re more interested in hearing about these things.


The cast iron skillet discovery came in handy for this Bon Appetit recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans.  I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I do have a few comments (don’t I always?)

  • I used a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes rather than fresh chopped tomatoes.  Who wants to buy fresh tomatoes in February?  This did make it a little more liquidy, but this wasn’t a problem with me since I had some delicious sourdough bread to soak it up.
  • Next time I think I would squeeze a little lemon juice over the shrimp just before serving.  It could use a little citrus-y brightness.
  • I don’t think the last two tablespoons of olive oil (drizzled on the shrimp after broiling) are really necessary.  (Although if you had a citrus-infused olive oil, that might work well instead of just using lemon juice).

Generally, this was a really tasty recipe that came together easily and quickly, and reheated well for lunch.


And now, the kale.  This is ridiculously simple, and not that different from how I have cooked it in the past, but this particular formula seems to be magical in creating a pile of greens that I would never tire of.  It is fully endorsed by Nick, too.  Thank you, Alice Waters.


Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Vinegar (from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters; serves 4-6)

2 bunches kale (about 2 pounds), torn and washed (drained, but no need to spin dry)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 or 2 tbsp red wine vinegar


Heat a large saute pan and add olive oil and just enough kale to cover the bottom of the pan.  Allow these greens to wilt down before adding more.  When all the kale has been added, season with salt, stir in garlic, and cover the pan.  The greens will take anywhere from just a few minutes to 15 minutes to cook, depending on their maturity.  When they are tender, remove the lid and allow any excess water to cook away.  Turn of the heat and stir in the vinegar.

Note: The recipe mentions that most leafy greens can be cooked using this method.  I’ve cooked Swiss chard like this, and indeed, it’s excellent.


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The Cleanse: Week Two Highlights

I am officially (almost) through two-thirds of the cleanse!  At this point, I’m feeling good.  I’m looking forward to enjoying some chocolate in another week, but I think my sugar cravings have subsided enough that I’m not worried about immediately going on a cookie binge.  I’m enjoying that over half of my grocery list is produce… I want to keep that going beyond the cleanse.  And I’m pretty sure my jeans are starting to fit a little better, which is always nice.

I wasn’t quite as excited about a lot of the Week Two recipes, but there are a couple I’d like to share:

Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Walnuts (serves 4; adapted from Whole Living)

And to think… six months ago, I hated kale.  Or I thought I did.  Now I’m eating it raw?  Crazy.  I love using lime juice in this- a nice change from using lemon or vinegar in salad dressings.  I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger- actually, that’s not true.  I don’t have anything against fresh ginger, I just hate grating fresh ginger.  So I sprinkled a little bit of ground ginger in the dressing instead.

Whisk together two tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon lime juice with a dash of ground ginger (if you are a fresh ginger snob, use 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger instead).  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, tear one bunch of kale into pieces.  Pour dressing over kale and toss to coat evenly.

Add 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (what you would get from 1/2 fruit), two tablespoons chopped red onion, and 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cannellini Beans (serves 4, adapted from Whole Living)

Things I like about this recipe: the balsamic vinegar is different from how I usually season roasted veggies, and I never would have thought about throwing cannellini beans in for some protein.  Things I don’t like about this recipe: it only calls for 8 Brussels sprouts for 4 servings.  Only two sprouts per person?  I upped it.  Also, I’m terrible at estimating how long various vegetables will take to cook.   If you’re just roasting one vegetable, it’s no big deal to just poke them periodically until they’re tender.  But Brussels sprouts, unless they are huge, are going to turn to mush before all the root vegetables get tender, unless you chop them super-tiny.  So it would be awesome if the recipe was more specific about what size  to chop everything.  I obsessively cooked this three times this week trying to perfect it, and I’ve yet to get everything to the level of doneness I would want.  I thought about adding the sprouts and leeks later on, but I didn’t know how far in to add them, and I didn’t want to have to remove all the chopped up root vegetables while those were still cooking.  If anyone has any suggestions, I welcome them.

Sorry for the rant.  Why I am sharing this if I had difficulties with it?  Well, I still thought it tasted really good, even if some things were more or less cooked than I’d like.  And I’d like to think that maybe this is just my weird thing, like how I seem to be unable to cook dried beans.  Maybe it will work better for you, or you know something I don’t.  It’s worth a try.

1 large leek, sliced

5 garlic cloves, peeled (or use a couple shallots… I think they taste better and add even more color to the plate)

1/2 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped (this seems to take the longest to cook, so I recommend chopping it smaller than everything else)

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (I suggest using at least 12)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon for drizzling

1 1/2 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans

Heat oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss leek, garlic (or shallots), rutabaga, parnsips, carrots, sweet potato, and Brussels sprouts with olive oil and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.  (If you have my luck, you might want to pull the Brussels sprouts out after 15 or 20 minutes.)

Remove from oven and stir in cannellini beans. Roast until beans are crisped, about 5 minutes. Toss with one teaspoon balsamic vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.

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The Cleanse: One Week Down, Two to Go!

I’ve survived 1 week!  People keep asking me how I’m feeling.  I guess I’d have to say that I feel… okay.  Yes, I’m hungry a little more often but it hasn’t been terrible.  But I also haven’t experienced any moments of enlightenment, nor can I tell you I’ve lost any weight.  (Well, maybe I have… I didn’t think to weigh myself before I started, so I don’t really have a baseline.)  I suppose I’ve generally been in a good mood and I feel kind of balanced overall, so perhaps that’s something.

One thing I’m not sure I should be doing: compiling a list of things to eat as soon as this is over.  I’m pretty sure that kinda defeats the purpose of it.  At the top of the list is buffalo wings, which is odd because they’re not usually a “must have” food for me.  I would have expected that I’d be dreaming about chocolate or wine or bread or cheese.  But I’m rather fixated on buffalo wings at the moment.  The other night at a bar I actually said to my friend, “Those bitches behind us have buffalo wings!”  And last night I found myself encouraging Nick to eat hot sauce and blue cheese dressing with his chicken fingers. At least I didn’t ask if I could watch him eat.

We managed to go out to dinner on Saturday night- something I didn’t think would happen at all for these three weeks.  Even at a vegan restaurant my options were pretty limited since the first week doesn’t include grains of any sort or beans. Fortunately they had a “detox salad” on the menu, so the salad, topped with a marinated portobello mushroom, allowed me to stick to the confines of the cleanse and enjoy a night out where I didn’t have to cook or prepare anything.

I didn’t continue with the daily updates last week mainly because I already felt that this cleanse was consuming my life considering the amount of time that was going into food preparation (and subsequent dish washing). But I do want to share with you a few highlights from the rest of the week.

Mango & Coconut Water Smoothie (from Whole Living)

This is my favorite of the smoothies from Week 1.  I just used frozen mango since I already had a bunch of it, but I’d love to try it with fresh.  The cayenne might sound a little weird, but I liked it.

Blend 2 cups of mango chunks, 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 2 cups of coconut water (unsweetened) with a dash of cayenne pepper until smooth.  Makes 2 servings.

Kale Slaw with Cabbage and Carrots (from Whole Living)

Another one of my favorites.  With all the smoothies and soups this week, the “crunch” from this salad was a welcome change.  I thought the equal parts olive oil and Dijon mustard seemed strange when I was making the dressing, but it was perfect.  This recipe is supposed to make 4 servings, but those are super-tiny portions, so I divided it into three servings.  I made it almost exactly as instructed except for omitting sunflower seeds and using cilantro instead of parsley, since that’s what I had around.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Shred 2 cups of kale and 1 cup of red cabbage.  Peel and julienne one carrot. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro (or parsley, if you prefer). Dice 2 tablespoons red onion.  Combine kale, cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and onion in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of each: hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. 

Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Red Peppers and Cauliflower with Almonds and Olives (serves 2; from Whole Living)

This one was a stretch for me.  I usually don’t care for red peppers, but I decided I might as well give them another try.  And while they’re still not my favorite veggie, I’m warming up to them a bit.  This was surprisingly filling.  Once again, since parsley was nowhere to be found at the store this week, I used basil instead.

Heat oven to 425.  Quarter and seed one red pepper.  Cut 1/2 head of cauliflower into florets.  On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle peppers and cauliflower with two tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast until tender, around 18 to 20 minutes.  Throw some chicken fingers on another baking sheet if you have a husband who, while supporting you, opted not to go through The Cleanse journey with you.

While the veggies are roasting, whisk together two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Toast 1/4 cup slivered almonds in a small skillet over medium heat.  Stir or shake frequently until lightly browned and remove from skillet. Halve 1/4 cup kalamata olives.  Chop or slice 1/4 cup fresh basil (or parsley).

Arrange roasted veggies on a platter, and top with almonds, olives, and basil.  Drizzle with dressing.

And now Week 2 begins…  I’m welcoming legumes and seafood back into my diet.  The breakfasts this week are a little unusual- I’ll keep you in suspense until I write about them in detail (assuming they’re good…).  I decided to relax a little bit in terms of the meal plans.  I already have some chickpea soup in the freezer that meets the week’s requirements, and more snacks will just be a piece of fruit and some nuts, rather than taking the time to prepare something.  That being said, I have run out of the Fruit and Nut Bites, so I might have to make another batch of those soon!

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Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

When I was a kid, we never had the classic green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and crunchy onions on top for Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house.  No, we had its cousin- broccoli casserole, with cheese crackers crumbled on top.  I’m pretty sure it still involved cream of mushroom soup.

That broccoli casserole will always have a special place in my heart, but as a grown-up I look for the green portion of my Thanksgiving plate to be something that makes me feel less guilty about the carb party surrounding it.  As I am currently challenging myself to branch out and try different vegetables (i.e., chard and kale), this kale & Brussels sprouts salad seemed like it would be promising, especially since it has cheese.  You can always coax me to try something different if there is cheese involved.

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad (from Bon Appetit November 2011 via Epicurious)

makes 8-10 servings

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated (or pressed)

1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded and leaves thinly sliced (note: I just used what the store was selling as “green kale.”  It worked fine.  Also, the discarded stems make excellent treats for rabbits, if you have any siblings with bunnies.)

12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and finely grated or shredded with a knife (or, this is a perfect excuse to pull out the mandoline!  I held onto the stem and sliced them cross-wise, starting at the top.)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided (as in, separate 1 tbsp and reserve the rest)

1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and pinch of pepper in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Toss thinly sliced kale and shredded Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes.  Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil into lemon juice mixture.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  *All of these parts can be prepared 8 hours ahead.  Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill.  Cover almonds and leave at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese  to kale mixture; toss to coat.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Garnish with almonds. (Or if some members of your family have nut allergies and/or nut aversions, put nuts in a small bowl to accompany the salad around the dining table.  Obsessively watch to make sure they stay with the salad and remind people that they can sprinkle the almonds on the salad, if they would like to do so.)


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