Archives for posts with tag: Kale

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Happy Monday! I’m very pleased to introduce Lauren Salkeld, guest blogger for this week’s post. As a senior editor at Epicurious.com, Lauren develops, tests, and edits recipes, and writes about various cooking techniques, from making homemade marshmallows to deep-frying a turkey. You can follow her on Instagram (laurensalkeld79) and Twitter (@laurensalkeld). I’m thrilled she’s contributed this delicious yet easy-to-make recipe, combining some of my favorite ingredients. 

This farro and kale salad came about when I was creating a menu for a friend’s baby shower. I love grain salads because they can be made in advance—some even taste better on the second day—and can be served at room temperature, which are two really important things when you’re the only person cooking for a party, which for me is often the case.

Grain salads are also really flexible, so you can add in whatever ingredients you picked up at the farmers’ market, or the ones you happen to be really into at the moment. I’ve developed a bit of formula for mine, which goes something like this: grain + green + veggie or fruit + cheese + nut or seed. And I typically add some kind of homemade pesto or a shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing like the one used here. This version is great as leftovers, and I bring it to work for lunch all the time, but you may want to leave the crispy shallots and walnuts on the side until you’re ready to eat, because otherwise they can get a little soggy.

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Farro and Kale Salad with Roasted Grapes, Crispy Shallots, and Ricotta Salata

Makes 4 servings

1 ½ cups red seedless grapes
6 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked farro, at room temperature
About 5 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta
½ cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a baking dish, combine the grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until slightly shriveled, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Peel the shallot and slice it crosswise into rounds. Remove the first 2 or 3 large outer rings of each round and set them aside. Mince the rest of the shallot (the smaller inner rings).

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the minced shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Once cool, add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl, add the lemon juice-shallot-olive oil mixture and use your hands to massage it into the kale.

Place the flour in a small bowl. Add the reserved shallot rings and toss to coat the shallot rings in flour. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, shake any excess flour off the shallot rings then fry them in the hot oil, flipping once, until just crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer as fried to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Fluff the farro with a fork then add it, along with the grapes and ricotta salata or feta, to the kale and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the salad with the crispy shallots and toasted walnuts, if using, and serve.


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This is what the outside of Chuko looked like at 6:45 PM yesterday. Not dark, not cold, not windy. It was light, bright, blue skies at a quarter to 7. I’ve been wanting to visit Chuko since it opened back in August, a couple months after I moved to the neighborhood, and not a moment too soon. Just as I was missing my old haunts in Williamsburg and complaining there was no good food in these parts (I know, I know, I was naive), I read about Chuko. Brought to us courtesy of two Morimoto alums, Jamison Blankenship and David Koon, Chuko serves up bowls of housemade ramen in miso and soy broths, with or without meat. Housed in the former Nick’s Diner space, Chuko, meaning “second hand” in Japanese, was refurbished with a long wooden bar, and shows off an original hundred-year-old brick wall.

I’m a little behind schedule because it’s taken me seven months to visit this place on Vanderbilt Ave., a ten-minute walk from my apartment. So with the sun refusing to set on the early spring evening, I made my way across Atlantic Avenue, the new Nets Stadium casting shadows to the west, church and state mingling to the east (below).

I was meeting my regular Sunday-night partner, Karen, for steaming bowls of soup and whatever sides might entice. It was early enough that the place was pleasantly crowded with families slurping noodles—toddlers, strollers and all—until about 8 pm when they cleared out to make way for the stroller-less. The menu is straightforward: four kinds of ramen, all for $12 (miso-scallion, pork-scallion, soy-scallion, vegetarian-miso), and small plates, all for $7, including crispy Brussels sprouts, pork gyoza, chicken wings, and a kale salad. The specials last night were kimchi pork ramen in a red miso broth, and spicy pickles.

Let’s face it, I can’t resist kimchi or pork or red miso, so you know what I ordered.* Karen had the vegetarian miso ramen with market vegetables. We split the kale salad with sweet potato chips, raisins, and a miso dressing. Half the kale was a crunchy, addictive tempura, and the rest of the kale tasted like kale chips, so we basically loved this dish.

*I’m reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, a birthday present from Karen actually (do you think she’s trying to tell me something?), maybe by the time I’m done I’ll take my ramen sans pork too.

I don’t know if we have Morimoto to thank, or the research trips Blankenship and Koon took to Japan, but this ramen was the real deal. It reminded me of ramen I slurped in 2009 on the outskirts of Tokyo on a hot, steaming August afternoon after Yuji and I were kicked out of a public swimming pool (long story). I’m excited that I actually found the photo I took at that meal, below. I tried, really tried, to eat ramen the Japanese way, making loud sounds as you suck the noodles through your lips.

At Chuko, the red-miso broth, topped with a soft egg and scallion shavings, was salty, soulfoul, earthy, and got increasingly spicy the longer it mingled with the kimchi.

So we slurped until we could slurp no more, then walked out into the cool night air. Yes, it was finally dark outside. I could get used to Sundays at Chuko.

Chuko 552 Vanderbilt Avenue (corner of Dean St.), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Cash Only.

It’s official, I’m in a soup phase. What can I say, it’s that time of year when the thought of eating anything cold sends shivers down my spine, even though, yes, this is the mildest winter in a while. Even so, a couple months back I started warming up my cereal before eating it (cold milk? no thank you!) and cut back on green smoothies.

So how to still get all the greens I want, with all the warmth I crave? Green soups.

Lucky for me, Anna Thomas paved the way for green soups with her 2009 cookbook, Love Soup. She seems to be considered the godmother of green soups so I dutifully read up on her methods and set out to create my own.

The basic method is you get yourself two big bunches of your favorite greens—chard, spinach, kale, collards, watercress—slowly caramelize two big onions, then add 1/4 c uncooked rice, vegetable stock, the greens, and voila. You finish it off with a bit of acidity (lemon juice, vinegar), pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper, and puree it all in a blender or with an immersion blender. The rice, especially arborio, adds creaminess and body to the soup (so it’s not thin or watery), without using cream. Serve drizzled with your favorite olive oil and perhaps some crusty bread.

I had two bunches of green kale so that’s what I made this version with, although I’d love to try with chard and collard greens. I made my own vegetable stock on the adjacent burner, although you could use store-bought or veggie bouillon if you’re short on time.

Green Soup – Beginner’s Basic

Serves 8

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, diced
splash white wine, optional, for deglazing
1/4 rice, arborio works best
3 c water
2 big bunches of greens, washed and chopped coarsely
4 c vegetable broth
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, such as red wine or rice wine

1. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot or dutch oven on low heat then add the onions. Continue to cook over very low heat, with a lid mostly covering the pot to keep in the moisture, 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onions start to stick or turn dark brown add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pot. Meanwhile, if you’re making your own veggie stock, get this going in another pot on the stove. I use 4 c water and add any veggies I have around such as carrots, onions, celery, a bay leaf or two, black peppercorns, etc., bring to a boil, then let simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Once the onions are deeply caramelized, add the water to the pot, and the rice, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the chopped greens. If you’re using spinach, add the sturdier greens first (like kale or chard), and the spinach 5 minutes later since it wilts quickly. Add the veggie broth and cayenne, and bring to a simmer, cooking for another 5 minutes. Don’t overcook, otherwise the greens become dull and lose all their wonderful color. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add your acid (lemon juice or vinegar).

3. You can puree the soup using an immersion blender all at once in the stock pot, or in batches in a stand-up blender. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. I like some crostini on the side with a creamy cheese or slather of butter.

Look at the color of these caramelized onions!

And here’s the soup, with Ninja blender in the background, which recently cost me half a fingernail while washing the blade.

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