Sauteed Kale with Bacon and Onions

Today I picked up some fresh kale, just picked from the garden, from a friend. Since I was eating alone tonight, I decided that  some bacon would be on the menu. Robert doesn’t eat bacon but I sure do!

Sautéed Kale with Bacon and Onions

  • Fresh Kale
  • 2 slices thick smoked bacon
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
  • Fresh ground pepper
Fresh picked kale

Fresh picked kale

To start, remove the stems from the kale and wash well. Allow it to drain while preparing the bacon and onions.

To make this dish, fry up some bacon, try not to burn the pan because you want the lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan for all the flavor. In cooking terms this browned bottom is called “fond”.

When the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan, place it on some paper towels to drain. For this dish, the bacon is best cooked to done but not crispy. However is you want it crispy, have at it.

If there is a lot of grease, pour some off. All you need is a small bit to saute the onions and kale in, not too much.

Slice and saute some sweet onions in the bacon pan. When the onions are soft, deglaze the pan with a splash of malt vinegar, bring to a boil, and loosen all the fond from the pan.

Saute onions in the bacon pan

Saute onions in the bacon pan

Add the washed and stemmed kale, bring to a boil and saute the kale until done. The liquid should be almost gone, but not all gone.

Cut the bacon into matchstick sized bits and fold into the kale. Cook until the kale is tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Grind some fresh pepper and serve.

I just filled a bowl and ate it. If you like, add a dash of hot sauce.

I love greens this way!

Kale with Bacon and Onions

Kale with Bacon and Onions

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Raw Kale Salad – Give it a Massage!

I was reading a recipe the other day on the Food Network website regarding a Massaged Kale Salad from the Aarti Party Show.

Kale is on the edge of being overdone but this is worth exploring. Give it a try before you get sick of eating so much kale!

Kale saladPrevious thoughts had me thinking kale was too tough to eat raw. A quick saute, dip in hot oil, plunge into a hot oven or dropped into soup is how I prepared it before this recipe caught my eye.

So I tried it. Massage your kale, sounds kinky right?!

I had to come up with another way of massaging the kale as not everyone likes to have their food handled to this extent by someone else’s bare hands.

Use a dough hook instead of your hands

Use a dough hook instead of your hands

Bare hand contact can be a health issue if the person touching the food does not wash their hands correctly or is carrying some kind of germ.

While the recipe wasn’t followed, the massage technique was. The result is an addicting, tender kale salad that can be dressed in so many ways.

After massaging the kale, create your salad. All you need to add is other ingredients and the salad is already dressed.

Choose a toasted nut and a favorite fruit, fresh or dried. Add some cheese and you can go forever with the combinations that can be created as additions for this most excellent salad.

This is what I did last night:

Kale Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts, Dried Cranberries and Shaved Parmesan

  • 1 pound kale
  • Juice from 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • A light sprinkle of salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Trim the stems from the leaves

Trim the stems from the leaves

Trim leaves from the stems, wash thoroughly in cool water to remove any garden friends, sand and dirt.

If the kale is very sandy or has a lot of soil on it, soak it in a deep bath of salty water. Dip and lift the kale from the water so the soil is left behind in the bottom of the soaking bowl. You may need to do this several times to get rid of all the dirt.

Chop the kale leaves small, but not too tiny; bite size is perfect.

Place the chopped kale into a bowl. Drizzle the kale with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The amount you use depends on how much kale you use. Only use enough to lightly coat the leaves, you don’t want anything on the bottom of the bowl.

Using your hands (washed of course! and wear gloves) or in a stand mixer on low with the dough hook, massage the greens for 2-3 minutes.

You will notice the leaves changing texture, becoming more tender and turning a brighter green as well.

Peel Parmesan into the salad with a peeler.

Peel Parmesan into the salad with a peeler.

After 2-3 minutes of massage, add toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries and use a peeler to shave Parmesan into the salad.

The above amounts can be adjusted to your liking.

Try other fruits, nuts and cheese in this salad, avocado is amazing too.

Top the salad with beef, grilled chicken, shrimp or fish to make it an entrée salad.

Serve and enjoy!

eating kale saladThis salad was so good, I came back down and scarfed another bowl in the middle of the night and another after breakfast.

Now I need to go buy more kale.

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Roasted Duck, Kale and White Bean Soup

Since it is cold and raining outside, making a soup from roasted duck, kale and white beans sound good. It is time to use up what is in the refrigerator.

Roasted Duck, Kale and White Bean Soup

You will need

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced small
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup leftover roasted duck meat, diced small
  • 1 cup cooked or 1-15 oz. can of white beans, drained
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and diced OR 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups roughly chopped and stemmed fresh kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste (Start with 1 tablespoon and adjust to suit your taste)
Carrots of many colors.

Carrots of many colors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saute the onions and carrots in oil for 3 minutes, add the garlic, potatoes and thyme, stir.

When the onions are translucent, add the stock and bring to a boil.

Add the duck and the white beans, bring to a simmer.

Add the tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the kale and simmer for 5 minutes more.

When the carrots and potatoes are done, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Serve with good bread and crispy kale chips.

Baked Crispy Kale Chips

If you love potato chips, you will probably love baked crispy kale chips too.

They are so simple to make, quick and nutritious, and you can’t stop eating them!

The shared bounty this week was baby kale.

ImageHere is how you make the baked crispy kale chips.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment. Do not use an insulated baking sheet pan.

You will need:

  • 1 bunch fresh kale
  • olive oil
  • sea or kosher salt (do not used iodized table salt)

Prepare the kale.

To make the chips, remove the leaves from the kale stems. Do this by holding the leaf and pulling the stem off from the back side of the leaf. This removes the stringy stem all the way down the leaf.

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Tear the leaves into bite size pieces, but not too small. Wash and spin dry in a salad spinner. Place the kale in a bowl, season with a light drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt.Image

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Spread the kale on the baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. The younger and more tender the kale, the less time it takes to crisp.

When the chips are crispy and slightly brown on the edges, remove from the oven and serve.

If you live in a humid area, the chips may need re-crisping by simply placing them in a warm oven for a few minutes.

They have a lovely earthy flavor that complements many dishes. The chips make a great snack and are something different to put out at your next party.

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Spread the kale on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes

When taking a chefs certification once, I used the kale chip to compliment a dish of Lobster and Israeli Couscous with Grapefruit Emulsion. It was the perfect compliment as it brought  warm earthy “umami” flavors which really made the dish pop.