Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Kale Day!

Today is the second annual National Kale Day, a day set aside on the first Wednesday of October to “celebrate kale’s incredible health benefits, highlight kale’s culinary versatility, and promote eating, growing and sharing kale throughout America.” 

Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian, or an omnivore, this versatile vegetable is for you.

Here are just a few reasons why kale is so great:
  • One cup of raw kale has just 33 calories, yet is packed with all these nutrients.

CAUTION: Consult a doctor before adding kale to your diet if you taking a blood thinner; Vitamin K, present in kale in large quantities, causes blood to clot.
  • It is a cool weather vegetable with a long growing season.
  • If you have space for a garden, kale is easy to grow.
  • It can be locally sourced when warm weather crops have disappeared from the market.
  • It actually tastes best after there has been a frost.
  • It is relatively inexpensive.
  • It is “hearty.” When stored in a loose bag in the refrigerator crisper, it can last up to a week. 
  • It comes in dozens of colorful varieties.
  • It can be prepared in many ways.
To learn more, go to the Kale Day website and download the Kale Hero Toolkit. The kit includes a number of simple, delicious recipes for kale, as well as all you ever wanted to know about this leafy green vegetable.

Last year I tried this recipe from the toolkit. 
It has become a regular around my house — delicious, quick, and with ingredients that are easy to have on hand.
I discovered this remarkable food about four years ago. I had a few failures as I learned to “deal with kale,” but I have been a big fan ever since. 

In honor of this year’s Kale Day, we are having Kale Soup. I happened to have a quart in the freezer! Here is my original recipe.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • Three cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • One quart broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • Three sweet chicken sausages (optional)
  • Two medium russet potatoes
  • One medium sweet potato
  • Three carrots
  • One teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • One large head curly kale
  • One 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • One 15 oz. can white beans
  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy kettle.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, being careful not to burn. 
  • Add the stock.
  • Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and add to the broth.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes, sweet potato, and carrots.
  • Add to the broth with the thyme.
  • Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the vegetables are fork tender.
  • Add the tomatoes with the cayenne pepper.
  • Wash well and roughly chop the kale.
  • Add to the soup when the stock is once again hot.
  • When the kale is tender, add the beans with their liquid.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Serve with a hearty, whole grain bread.
This soup freezes well should you happen to have leftovers.

Happy Kale Day! Eat well. 

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