Category Archives: cooked greens

Fun with Kale. Really! Secret Sauté Ingredient and a Quick “Massage”

ingredients in the saute
All the ingredients except the soy sauce!

I actually converted a few “I hate kale” folks and had a toddler coming back for 3rds! I based my sauté recipe on The Sauteed Kale Recipe that Converts Kale-Haters, which has butter or ghee as the cooking oil, along with shallots, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard as the secret ingredients for success.

Since I stay vegan for our demos and with no shallots available at the time, I had to make a few adjustments. Here is the recipe I used at the market. In contrast to the recipe I put on the bulletin board during the demo, I used a medium-largish onion, doubled the amounts of soy sauce and mustard, and cooked the onions slow and low for about 25 minutes so they just started to caramelize. I knew that doing this with the onions would give a bit of a creamy texture and sweetness that, while not a substitute for what butter can bring, brought a special something beyond just a quick cook of the onions in the olive oil.

2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 medium to large onion
1-2 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. Old School Kitchen’s Maple Bourbon Mustard *
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped **
water as needed
salt and black pepper, to taste
* Use whatever mustard you like
**Don’t dry the kale; the water droplets will help it steam as cooking.

Remove leaves from stems and chop the kale into small pieces.

onions in pan
I used a whole onion. Why not?

Heat the oil or fat over medium heat in a saute pan with high sides or a dutch oven.

Add the onion, lower heat, and cook slow and low for at least 20 minutes to bring out sweetness – longer if you have time to caramelize them a bit more. Bring the heat up and add the garlic, cooking briefly until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the chopped kale and stir to coat in the oil. Add the tamari or soy sauce and mustard, and stir again.

finished dish of sauteed kale
Done!

Sauté, stirring frequently, until the kale is tender, about 8-10 minutes or to how you like it. If the kale starts to stick to the pan, add a couple tablespoons of water. This will help soften the kale, and the water will cook off.

Season with salt and pepper before serving and enjoy…But wait, what was that about a massage?

Rubbed or massaged kale
Rubbed or massaged kale

To season and soften kale without cooking, simply remove the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves, add a bit of olive oil, salt (I used and would recommend kosher salt if you have it) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then rub or “massage” with your fingers for a few minutes or more. You can use it alone as a salad green (ooo, I can taste this with walnuts and apples!) or in a salad mix, add to a stir fry, or use the rubbed leaves to make kale chips!

Lemongrass! What to do with it? For one, a Swiss Chard Sauté

picture of ingredients
The ingredients

This past week, I wanted to highlight lemongrass, a tropical grass that is also grown here in Massachusetts by our Flats Mentor Farm farmers.

The easiest way to enjoy lemongrass is to make a tea of the bulb, stalk, and/or leaves, with the latter being the choice for our Saturday morning beverage. It could not be easier: cut the dark green tops off the stalks, put them in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer or just turn off the heat (as I did) and let it steep! Delicious hot or warm, it also makes a refreshing iced tea.

pic of lemongrass tea
Lemongrass Tea!

Our main dish used lemongrass to add its essence to sautéed Swiss chard, to which I also added sweet yellow peppers. I put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan, added 2 tablespoons of sliced, then crushed, then finely minced lemongrass bulb, which is the bottom few inches minus the end of the bulb, which you chop off.

This was done at a low temperature – just a bit of movement in the oil, for about 20 minutes. I then added sliced sweet yellow pepper, using a whole one along with leaves from a bunch (10-12 stalks) of Swiss chard. I chopped both the chard and peppers small so they would fit into the demo cups, but you can size as desired.

Once the lemongrass had infused in the olive oil, I turned the heat up to medium high and added the pepper slices and cooked for a few minutes, then added the chard and let it cook down and long enough get soft and deep in flavor, about 10 minutes or more, turning the heat down if it looked like things might get brown.

A touch of salt finished it off, although you could certainly add seasonings to taste, as well as tofu, chicken, or another protein for a complete meal. Note: the infused oil is not lemony as is the tea, but it adds a “something extra” to the flavor base. According to many recipes sites, that “something” is what you might feel is missing if you make Thai food without using lemongrass.

The bulb and stem, and, even the leaves can be used to season, soups, stews, and curries. Just note that the stalk and leaves must be removed after cooking, as well as the bulb if not minced. Too tough to chew! If not mincing the bulb, slice and crush before using.

You can use 1 Tbsp minced lemongrass bulb for 1 tsp lemon zest, and, I discovered that lemongrass vodka is a thing, one that I intend to try. Click HERE for one way of making it.

Can’t use what you buy all at once? No fear! It freezes well. Just cut off the leaves (make tea!) and wrap the bottom 6-8 inches for later use.

To end, here is a link to a handy chart showing how to prep lemongrass:
How to Prepare Lemongrass

Amaranth, the Green that is Red. A quick and easy sauté side

Just five ingredients!

We finally had a cool enough market day to use some heat in the cooking demo! I went with amaranth, a plant better known for its grains but that has really tasty greens as well. Although, the “greens” that our farmers at Flats Mentor Farm grow are more red. In fact, they look like they are a kind of coleus plant rather than an edible veggie.

While it can be used like any green, it really shines when sautéed due to its slightly sturdy texture and touch of umami in its flavor.

Here is what to use and how to do it:

Rinse, dry, and the prep amaranth by removing the leaves from the stems and tearing the leaves into largish pieces. Chop or mince (your choice) a few cloves of garlic, heat olive oil in a sauté pan and give the garlic a 15- 30 second start before adding the amaranth leaves. Then just cook, taking care to not have the heat so high that the garlic burns before the greens are done. It will take 5-7 minutes before the greens shrink and soften. Add salt and pepper if or as desired and remove from heat when done to your preferred texture and taste.

This shot was taken the same evening as the demo when I made the dish at home.

That’s it! And along with getting your amaranth from Flats Mentor Farm, be sure to pick up some fresh garlic from them or another of our farmers.

By the way, two boys (unrelated) just about to turn four years old LOVED this, and a five year old girl deemed it “delicious.” And our regular taster Eva Rose loved it, too. And so did my husband. So, I’d say its worth a try.

Potato and Bean Salad with Red Onion and Dill Vinaigrette

This week Suman created a perfect make right before the meal or make ahead potato salad that had green and yellow beans for color, texture and added nutritional value that can be served warm or at room temperature. The onion and dill vinaigrette pulls the flavors all together.

Click the photo or HERE for the recipe.