Italian (Lacinato) Kale:
Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you!
Try it: in the Tuscan soup (recipe below), or, in a salad. One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. To prevent kale from becoming bitter, make sure to make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!). Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and keeps it evenly covered. Use an olive oil & vinegar combination for the dressing.
Toppings: try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!
Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese.
Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.
Bosc pears are firm when ripe but you can tell when they are ready to eat when the area around the stem yields to light pressure and are lightly fragrant—usually after 2-3 days on the counter top. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).
Featured Recipe: Zuppa Toscana
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb. Italian Sausage (or sub 15 oz. Cannelloni Beans for vegan option)
¼ teaspoon Red Pepper flakes (or to taste—we advise don’t skip these!)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Onion, diced
4 cups Chicken Broth (or, sub Vegetable Broth for vegan version)
3 Russet Potatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups Italian Kale, finely chopped
1 cup Heavy Cream (feel free to sub Half and Half or Whole Milk OR sub Coconut Milk OR Coconut Cream for vegan version)
salt and pepper to taste (note, because potatoes are salt-stealers, you’ll need more than you think you will)
Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the sausage until no longer pink (if using cannelloni beans, skip this step and add in along with the potatoes). Add the red pepper flakes and onion and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring often until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn or it will add that flavor your soup.
Add in the chicken or vegetable broth and potatoes. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
At the end of cooking, add in the kale so that it just wilts and turns bright green—no need to overcook it.
Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream or cream substitute of your choice (whole milk, half and half, coconut milk or coconut cream), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
Adapted from recipe by alaskafromscratch.com