Friday, December 27, 2013

Lacinato Kale with Walnut, Raisin, and Tangerine; Green Beans with Meyer Lemon; Leftover Greens with Brown Lentils

Nowadays, I don't typically use oil in my cooking, but do like to use a tiny bit when I cook with tempeh or seitan. Tonight, I was remembering our visit some years ago to Italy, and how much I like the simple dish of green beans and onion briefly sauteed in a little bit of olive oil, then served with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I couldn't resist, and made the green beans, using maybe 1/2 T or less of oil.

For the main course, I wanted to cook with lacinato kale, and thought I'd try mixing in some sweet ingredients, such as raisins, as well as chunky nuts. I also had leftover greens with brown lentils from two nights ago. I also served a half parsnip and some spring greens. Here is how I made the main kale dish.

  • About ten walnuts, roughly chopped into 1/2" or 3/8" pieces (I started with walnut halves and pieces and just snapped them with my fingers into chunks)
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced into 3/8" cubes
  • Bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and roughly quartered (I just hand tore the leaves); other kinds of kale or, indeed, greens like spinach, chard, or collards could be used
  • Juice of a small tangerine, as well as pulp left from squeezing the tangerine (an orange could be used; if not fresh squeezed and no pulp is available, the pulp can be omitted)
  • 1/2 of a vegan bouillon cube
  • Small shallot sliced into 1/8" or 1/4" thickness
  • 1 1/2 T raisins
  • (Optional) Jalapeno pepper to taste, finely chopped or cut into larger rings; try the rings if you have a hot jalapeno and want to get some of the flavor but remove the jalapeno before serving; I had a mild pepper, so used about 1/4 of it cut into a fine 1/4" or smaller dice
  • (Optional) 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  1. I put the walnuts into a stainless steel saute pan, turned the pan up to medium, and stirred the walnuts for about 5 minutes till they gave an aroma and were just showing signs of starting to darken. Walnuts should not be burnt and should be watched carefully.
  2. I removed the walnuts from the pan and put in the onion, also on medium heat. I stirred occasionally for about 2 minutes till the onion was becoming clear.
  3. I then added the kale and cooked it down for about 3 or 4 minutes till all the leaves became a darker green.
  4. I added the tangerine juice and pulp, as well as the bouillon cube, and mixed, then added the shallot, raisins, and jalapeno.
  5. I cooked just for a few more minutes, being sure that the kale didn't cook down substantially.
  6. I sprinkled on the salt and served.

We all loved the kale! I don't do it often, but it's fun to cook with sweet and savory ingredients together. The tangerine flavor was a very nice complement, too.The green beans were, as always, great. It was fun having a little bit of oil for a change. My palate has changed so that the little bit of oil was feeling rich. The leftover greens were good.

I typically cook with no added fat, but as a little accent, tonight's meal still wasn't bad. A walnut has about 2.6 g of fat so that contributed 26g. Olive oil is 14g of fat/T, so that was another 7g. Divided amongst my wife, Dad, a little serving for my daughter, and me, that is probably about 9g or so of fat per serving, which is good.

Ideas for the future

I should try more combinations of greens or broccoli with a modest amount of nuts and citrus juice. Pistachios would be great!


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