Heidi’s Kale

We know kale is a superfood and we need to eat more but are not sure how to make it taste good, too.  Kale is loaded with potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.  One cup raw kale has just 33 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate which is similar to 1/2 apple.

I call this raw kale salad, Heidi’s kale, because I had it at my friend Heidi’s house and loved it.  Since then, my dinner guests are always impressed at how good kale can taste.  You can make this recipe healthier by using pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and apples or more decadent by adding goat cheese and cranberries.  Since there is no cooking, the nutrients stay more intact.

1 or 2 bunches of kale. Massage with olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Set aside for a few hours.

Add:

  • cranberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Apples
  • Goat cheese

Dressing:

  • Lemon, 1/2 squeezed
  • olive oil, 3 Tbsp
  • honey, optional 1 Tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You can also add lots of veggies like cucumber, olives, chick peas, beets, avocado, carrots; basically whatever I have lying around. It always tastes good if the kale is softened.

 

 

 

Marcia’s Chili con Carne

This is a great recipe, easy to make and can be made ahead of time.  Recipe can easily be adjusted to accommodate vegetarian or vegan diets.

 

 

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 lb. ground beef/turkey or 10 oz tofu

1 – 15 oz can chopped tomatoes

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped carrots

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 can red kidney beans

1 can Cannellini beans

1 can corn (no juice)

 

Directions

1.  Cook onions in oil until tender/golden.  Add carrots cook additional 5 min.

2.  Add ground beef/turkey or tofu and cook until brown.

3.  Add minced garlic

4.  Add can of tomatoes with 1/2 can boiling water

5.  In a little cup, mix chili powder, salt and sugar with cold water to create a paste.  Add to meat.

6.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Check regularly that it is not losing too much liquid.  Can easily burn on bottom.

7.  Uncover and add beans and corn.

8.  Cook for 1/2 hour longer.

 

Notes:

Best when left over night.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheddar cheese.

Cedar Planked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 3 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 (2 pound) salmon fillets, skin removed

Directions

  1. Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time.
  2. In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.  This recipe can be done in an oven by placing cedar planks on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  4. Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

 

Roasted Kale and Yam Salad

Roasted Kale and Yam Salad

Ingredients

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad

Makes 6 servings
  • 2 jewel yams, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Directions

1.  Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Toss the yams with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and arrange evenly onto a baking sheet.
2.  Bake in the preheated oven until the yams are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.
3.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion has caramelized to a golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the kale, cooking until wilted and tender. Transfer the kale mixture to a bowl, and cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.
4.  Once all the ingredients have cooled, combine the yams, kale, red wine vinegar, and fresh thyme in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and gently stir to combine.

 

Sustainable Resolutions for Your Diet – by Mark Bittman

I love this flexitarian review of New Year’s resolutions. Mark Bittman does a great job reviewing the most common resolutions with some great strategies.

New Year’s resolutions tend to be big, impressive promises that we adhere to for short periods of time — that blissful stretch of January when we are starving ourselves, exercising daily and reading Proust. But, and you know this, rather than making extreme changes that last for days or weeks, we are better off with tiny ones lasting more or less forever.

Frozen fruits and vegetables, grains and beans.
Mostly, though, when it comes to diet, we are told the opposite. We have a billion-dollar industry based on fad diets and quick fixes: Eat nothing but foam packing peanuts and lemon tea, and you’ll lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Then what? Resolutions work only if we are resolute, and changes are meaningful only if they are permanent.

What follows are some of the easiest food-related resolutions you will ever make, from cooking big pots of grains and beans once a week, to buying frozen produce, to pickling things à la “Portlandia.” Committing to just a few of these, or even one, will get you moving in the right direction toward eating more plants and fewer animal products and processed foods. My suggestions are incremental, but the ease with which you can incorporate them into your normal shopping, cooking and eating routines is exactly what makes them sustainable and powerful.

Flexitarianism is about making a gradual shift, not a complete overhaul. It is a way of eating we are much more likely to stick to for the long term — which, after all, is the point of resolutions in the first place.

Cook simple, unseasoned vegetables every few days.

You can steam or parboil or microwave. Once cooked, vegetables keep a long time. And then they’re sitting there waiting to top pastas and grains, to bolster soups and salads, to whip up veggie wraps or just to reheat in oil or butter with seasonings.

Leftover vegetable spread. Purée any leftover vegetables (as long as they are tender) in the food processor with olive oil, fresh parsley leaves, lemon juice, salt and pepper until the mixture reaches the consistency you want. Serve with bread, crackers or crudités. It’s nice on toast as breakfast.

Cook big batches of grains and beans.

Because it’s nearly effortless, and having cooked grains and beans on hand at all times makes day-to-day cooking a breeze. They will keep in the fridge up to a week.

White beans with kale and sausage. Sauté some loose Italian sausage in olive oil until lightly browned. Add minced garlic, cooked white beans, chopped kale, a splash of bean-cooking liquid or water, salt and pepper. Simmer until beans are hot and kale is wilted. To garnish, add oil and parsley.

Buy half as much meat, and make it better meat.

Thinking of eating meat as an indulgence lets you buy tastier, healthier, more sustainable meat without breaking the bank.

Thai beef salad. Grill, broil or pan-sear a small piece of flank or skirt steak until medium-rare; set aside. Toss salad greens; plenty of mint, cilantro and basil; chopped cucumber; and thinly sliced red onion. Dress with a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, sugar and minced jalapeño. Thinly slice the steak and lay it on top; drizzle with a little more dressing and any meat juices. Garnish with herbs.

Splurge when you can.

That way, the foods you consider special treats are truly special. For me it’s dark chocolate, meat and cheese.

Dark chocolate ganache. Heat 1 cup cream in a saucepan until steaming. Put 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Stir to melt and incorporate the chocolate; use immediately as a sauce, or cool to room temperature and whip to make a smooth frosting or filling.

Buy frozen fruits and vegetables.

Because out-of-season produce from halfway around the world doesn’t make much sense or taste best. Fruits and vegetables (from peaches, to corn, to squash) frozen when they are ripe are a better alternative, and incredibly convenient.

Frozen peach jam. Combine 1 pound frozen peaches, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then adjust heat so it bubbles steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally until thick, 15 to 30 minutes. Cool completely; it will keep in fridge at least a week.

Pickle.

So the copious amounts of fresh produce you buy never have to go to waste. And because it tastes good.

Quick-pickled cucumbers and radishes. Put thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes (use a mandoline if you have one) in a colander. Sprinkle with salt, gently rubbing it in with your hands. Let sit for 20 minutes, tossing and squeezing every few minutes. When little or no liquid comes out, rinse and put in a bowl. Toss with some sugar, dill and vinegar, and serve. Garnish with dill.

Make your own hummus, bean dips and nut butters.

With those around, vegetables and fruit practically dip themselves. You’ll be filling up on produce without even noticing it.

Hummus. In a processor or blender, combine cooked chickpeas, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Purée; taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with oil, lemon and smoked paprika.

Make your own condiments.

Store-bought versions of ketchup, barbecue sauce, salsa and the like are often loaded with preservatives and sugar. Besides, creating your own recipes is a blast.

Marjoram pesto. In a small food processor, combine a cup of marjoram (leaves and small stems) and some garlic; process until finely minced. Add red wine vinegar and olive oil; purée. Add capers (about a tablespoon) and pulse a few times. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Eat vegetables for breakfast.

You already eat fruit for breakfast, so what’s so strange? Veggie-based breakfasts are common around the world: cucumber and tomato salads in Israel, pickled vegetables in Japan, a bean and tomato stew in parts of Africa. Think of it as a très chic international trend.

Cauliflower tabbouleh. Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor, or chop them by hand, until they are small bits resembling grains. Toss with chopped tomatoes, plenty of chopped parsley and mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cook plants as you would meat.

Because bold, meaty flavors aren’t reserved just for flesh.

Breaded fried eggplant. Dredge 1/2-inch-thick eggplant slices in flour, then beaten egg, then bread crumbs. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate at least 10 minutes (up to 3 hours). Shallow-fry (in batches, without crowding) in 1/4 inch olive oil in a large skillet until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with parsley and lemon.

Cooking for carnivores? Make extra sides.

Let the people around you have their fill of meat while you eat a bit, but fill up on vegetables, beans and grains.

Roasted broccoli gratin. Put broccoli florets in a baking dish; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until the tops are lightly browned and the stems nearly tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (preferably homemade), mixed with Parmesan if you like, and a little more olive oil. Continue roasting until the bread crumbs are crisp.

Cook out of your comfort zone.

Because some of the best vegetable-centric food comes from halfway around the world, where it is “food,” not “flexitarian.”

Caramel-braised tofu. Put 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat; cook until sugar liquefies and bubbles. When it darkens, turn off the heat. Carefully pour in 1/2 cup fish sauce and 1/2 cup water; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it becomes liquid caramel. Add sliced shallots, cubed, pressed or extra-firm tofu, lots of black pepper and lime juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the tofu is hot.

A version of this article appears in print on January 1, 2014, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Sustainable Resolutions.