Colcannon

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We demoed this in March — actually the day before St. Patrick’s Day, so totally appropriate for a uniquely Irish dish. And still appropriate by the way. When is mashed potatoes not appropriate? Because we were doing a series on radishes, turnips and potatoes, we used the turnip and radish greens in the colcannon. Man, was that a hit! Something about the slight bitterness in the greens with the sweetness of potatoes — I love Yukons, in case you hadn’t heard that before. Don’t over mash any of this — potatoes or greens. A little chunkiness goes a long way.

2 to 2½ pounds potatoes of your choice, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt
5-6 T butter (with more butter for serving)
3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, cabbage, chard, or other leafy green
1 bunch green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1 C)
1/4 C milk or cream

Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil gently until fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Remove potatoes to a colander, reserving the potato water. Bring potato water back to a boil and add greens; reduce to a simmer and cook 3 min. Pour into a sieve, reserving the water for another use as needed. Return pan to heat. Add butter, 3/4 C green onions and cooked greens; simmer gently about three mins until onions are wilted and most of the water has cooked off. Add the potatoes back in; mash with a fork or masher, mixing well with the greens. Add milk or cream until you have the right consistency (may not use the full cup). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve colcannon with a knob of butter in the center. Serves 4-6.

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Coconut Quinoa Bowl

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This recipe is a great way to use leftover cooked quinoa, but it is so delicious, you’ll be cooking up extra quinoa just so you can make this. While the nutty flavor of the quinoa is particularly nice in this combo, rice, bulgur or couscous would make good substitutes. For a gluten- (and carb-) free alternative, you could make cauliflower rice by grating it and steaming or sauteing it just enough to get rid of the raw flavor. Leftovers? Just slice up a fresh avocado and add some yogurt. This was such a hit at Brookside Gardens last fall, we thought we’d roll it out again for US Botanic Garden this month. This recipe was adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

2 C cooked quinoa
1 lemon
1 C yogurtkale
¼ t salt
2 t olive oil
½ C sliced or slivered almonds
½ C unsweetened shredded coconut
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed into a paste with ¼ t sea salt
4 C stemmed & shredded kale, from about 10 large leaves
1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Warm the quinoa. Grate the peel of the lemon and squeeze out the juice; reserve each separately. Stir salt into yogurt, drizzle with olive oil. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat gently toast almonds; add coconut flakes and mashed garlic to the skillet. Remove skillet from heat and continue stirring until coconut is toasted and garlic is fully incorporated into nut mixture. Transfer skillet contents to a small bowl and reserve. Return skillet to heat; add a splash of olive oil, stir in the kale with a pinch of salt, and cook for just a minute, until the kale collapses a bit, and brightens. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it, and transfer out of the pan immediately.

To serve, combine half of the almond coconut mixture with the quinoa in a large bowl. You can serve this individually, or family-style. Top the quinoa with the kale, plenty of the salted yogurt, and top with the remaining almond mixture, avocado, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with grated lemon.

Serves 4.


Creamy Winter Greens au Gratin

creamy greensEven though both spinach and kale (and you could actually add or substitute frozen turnip greens in this recipe also) are plentiful fresh this time of year – winter greens, after all – we are using frozen today because first, freezing tenderizes kale and second, you need an awful lot of fresh greens to get to the equivalent of two pounds of frozen chopped greens. Besides, when you’re making a dish this healthy – nothing beats winter greens for iron, fiber, vitamins, etc. – it’s not difficult to justify buying something frozen even when it’s in season. Pound for pound, I’ll wager the cost is going to be about the same, especially when you factor in cooking and, of course, waste – how many of us actually use kale ribs after we remove them? Another plus: The dish will go together lickety split when using a couple of bags of frozen greens, so stop beating yourself up. And feel better by making your own breadcrumbs – we may love our panko, but in this dish you want larger crumbs for texture and crunch.

1 large bag (16 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 large bag (16 oz) frozen chopped kale, thawed
1 T unsalted butter
½ t ground nutmeg
1/4 t hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 T olive oil
1 C fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 C heavy cream
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat the oven to 400°F. Have ready a large gratin dish or casserole dish (any shape is fine as long as it’s shallow). Drain thawed greens in a large strainer, pressing down to expel as much moisture as possible, then squeeze them in paper towel or dishtowel to extract more moisture; heat butter in a large saucepan and add greens; cover and saute gently about 3 minutes until heated. Add nutmeg and pepper flakes if using and toss to mix well; reserve. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and breadcrumbs, 1/4 t salt and a few grinds of pepper.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat (watch that it doesn’t boil over), immediately lower the heat, and simmer vigorously until the cream reduces to about 3/4 cup, 4 to 8 min. (Don’t over-reduce.) Take the pan off the heat and remove and discard the garlic cloves. Let the cream cool slightly, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming. Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Put warmed greens in the gratin dish, spreading them out; sprinkle with cheese; pour over reduced cream and top with breadcrumbs. Bake until the gratin is brown and bubbly, about 25 min. Let rest for 10 to 15 min. before serving.

For a change, serve these gratins individually. Just divide ingredients among four small gratin dishes and bake as directed above.


Winter Vegetable Panzanella

So you know panzanella — once you figure out how to pronounce it, it’s really fun to say. Panzanellaaaaa. panz 1It’s that delicious bread salad we make in the summer, with garlic, tons of tomatoes and sweet onions and cucumbers, laced with tons more basil, great red wine vinegar and fruity olive oil. It’s a joy of a summer salad for those few of us anymore who aren’t avoiding carbs — and for the rest, we sneak a bite or make it our treat for the week.

Well here is panzanella in the middle of winter: What gives? This one is also delish — crusty bread folded into cubes of roasted red beets, golden butternut and bright green Lacinato kale — the soft kale with an almost creamy texture. Douse this in a wintery maple mustard vinaigrette and top it with smoked mozzarella and you won’t miss the summer version at all — not yet anyway. Danielle demoed this in January 2015 at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden.

panz 22 C of 1-inch cubes crusty sourdough, a day old (2 large, thick slices)
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb purple beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 C Lacinato kale, ribs stripped, leaves washed and sliced into strips
½ C red onion, diced
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes (Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Fuji, Kiku, or tart if you prefer)
10 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes (can substitute crumbled blue cheese)

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

4 T balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup
2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beet cubes with a small amount of olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, 30-40 minutes. Do the same for the butternut cubes, putting them in another roasting pan and cook until tender but not about to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.

In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bread cubes. Sauté, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slice the kale and chop the onion and set both in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add about half the dressing to the kale and onion, mix well. When the beets, butternut and bread cubes have cooled slightly, add them to the kale and onion. Toss again to coat everything, adding a little more dressing as needed. Just before serving, add apples and mozzarella. Serves 4-6.


Joyce’s Marinated Kale

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Gathering for Thanksgiving at Danielle’s DC home, several guests recalled this salad, which was not part of this year’s T’G dinner but had appeared at another buffet evening at Danielle’s, last year. It made a big impression and it’s an ideal chaser for the overindulgence of Thanksgiving. Raw kale is slicked with a delicious dressing and allowed to sit at room temperature a couple of hours before serving. Dress it up with nuts and feta as well as the pomegranates, or add fruit — sliced apples or persimmons. The recipe is from our archives — demoed at Brookside and USBG by Adrienne in the fall of 2013. It’s light, delicious and wonderful use of a green that some consider among “the world’s healthiest food.

Recipe serves six.

2 lb fresh young kale or collards, washed
½ C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C minced parsley
1 t Dijon-style mustard
1 t honey
2 t dried basil
1 t salt
½ t pepper
pomegranate seeds (optional)

Prepare greens: Remove tough stems and ribs as needed and reserve for another use; slit leaves lengthwise down the middle and stack halves on top of each other. Cut across leaves to produce ribbons. You can also chop leaves roughly. Place ribbonned or chopped leaves in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate. This can be done up to three days in advance.

Prepare dressing: Combine remaining ingredients and beat well or process in a food processor. Store in the refrigerator up to a month.

Finish recipe: Add dressing to prepared collards or kale; mix well and marinate for an hour at room temperature or three hours in the refrigerator, tossing in the bag every hour or so. The flavors are better when the greens are served at room temperature.  Top with pomegranate seeds if desired.