Eat Your Greens

It’s been a stellar week or so for the good food folks. Alice appeared on 60 Minutes espousing her delicious revolution. (What took CBS so long?)

Michelle Obama broke ground on a White House victory garden. (But how can we convince Barack that beets are divine?)

And, where I live, the Berkeley Unified School District won praise for its vegetarian-friendly school lunch program. (Does your kid eat what’s on offer at school? Alas, my son refuses to entertain the idea that school lunch could be good.)

These events are interrelated, natch, and fodder for future blog posts.

For now, it’s as good a time as any to launch Lettuce Eat Kale, a space where I’ll muse about food, family, growing greens — and share a recipe or two. To learn more about me, Sarah Henry, and my connection to kids and food, check out my About page.

Today’s offering: Roasted kale, of course. I can eat a bowl on my own. The kale ends up nice and crispy and chip-like; kids dig eating kale this way — especially if they get a chance to add their own zing (see below).

This is a super simple side dish, cheap as chips, and healthy to boot. A couple of caveats: Go easy on the oil — you don’t want a soggy green mess. Watch the time carefully — burnt, brown kale doesn’t taste good. Season with care — unless you’re crazy for seasoning — then throw caution to the wind. Enjoy.

Update: Try this tip I recently learned from Jaden over at Steamy Kitchen. Salt your kale after cooking for extra crispiness.

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Roasted Kale

You need:

* a bunch of kale (curly, dino, combo of the two, whatever floats your boat)
* olive oil
* sea salt
* lemon pepper and/or red wine vinegar (if you want to get fancy or experiment)

To do:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Strip the leaves off the kale stems. You can cut them, but it’s more fun to strip ‘em.

3. Wash the leaves and shake them dry (good kid job).

4. Tear the kale into pieces or cut into 1 inch-strips.

5. Put the pieces in a bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat well.

6. Sprinkle with salt, toss the leaves with your hands (also fun for kids).

7. Spread on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven.

8. Roast for about 7 minutes, or until some of the leaves are tinged a tad brown.

9. Take baking sheet out of the oven, turn the kale with tongs, return to oven for another three minutes or so. The leaves should start to get a little crisp.

10. Return the kale to the unwashed bowl, pour on another tablespoon of olive oil — add some ground lemon pepper or a couple of drops of vinegar if you want.

11. Toss the kale with the tongs. Add more oil, vinegar, salt, or pepper to taste.

12. Toss again and serve straight away.

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10 Responses to “Eat Your Greens”

  1. Melanie Haiken Says:

    This looks like a great way to cook a veggie I’ve had no idea what to do with!
    Any ideas for eggplant?

    • sarahhenry44 Says:

      Hi Melanie,

      Try slicing eggplant thinly, brushing slices with a little olive oil, and searing on the barbie in the summer. Pretty delish.

      I have a killer recipe for eggplant lasagne with pistachio pesto that I’ll get to in due course — and once the pistachio/salmonella scare calms down.

      And, of course, baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) is a simple and yummy way to serve this veg. Bake in a 400 degree oven (or cook on the barbie, turning with tongs every so often as the skin blackens). While the eggplant cools, peel and finely chop some garlic. Chop some parsley. Toast some pine nuts. Juice a lemon. Puree or mash the eggplant innards (compost the skins), add garlic, parsley, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and stir in some olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste) and/or plain yogurt. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with some pine nuts and parsley. Serve with warmed pita bread or lavash crackers. Yum.

  2. anonymous Says:

    i like lemon pepper on roasted kale.

  3. Margaret Says:

    my crispy kale either ends up too soggy or burnt brown (or both). yet even in that imperfect state my kidlets eat this dish up with vim and vigor.

    as for BO’s disdain for beets, I think it is a calculated political move. disliking his veggies makes the prez more human … beets seem like the veggie that has the fewest advocates. Remember the imbroglio when Bush Sr. dissed broccoli? The good news is all those beet activists out there now have a cause. personally, I’m a fan of golden beets. and I vote!!

  4. tracy Says:

    Yum! Will try that asap. Meanwhile, got a good recipe for beets? I too love them, and have a crisper drawer full of them but am not sure what to do them. Thanks!

    • sarahhenry44 Says:

      Hi Tracy,

      A simply delicious way to eat beets is to roast ‘em until tender in a hot oven (400-425 F, 20-30 minutes, depending on size), peel when cooled, and serve as a side. Generally, the smaller the beets the sweeter the flavor.
      Or add to salads. My fav beet-friendly salad: little gem lettuce, oranges, fennel, mint, maybe some finely chopped walnuts, and a sprinkling of crumbled feta or goat cheese. Chiogga beets work especially well in this mix, along with blood oranges. And my Aussie friends swear by beetroot and chocolate cake or muffins — just add a large, grated beet to the batter — for a nice moist texture and a quirky color accent.

  5. Connie Says:

    Hi Sarah — Your blog looks great! It made me hungry, and I can’t wait to try the quinoa recipe.

    At some point can you talk about refined sugar vs. fruit sugar on your blog?

    Someone sent me a link to this site, which shows kids how much sugar is in soda, candy bars, etc — http://sugarstacks.com/ (great to show to kids)
    It also shows the amount of sugar in fruit — which is also impressive. But isn’t fruit sugar much better for you than refined sugar?

    Thanks

    • sarahhenry44 Says:

      Hi Connie,

      Thanks for the link to sugarstacks.com, I’ll use it in my class on healthy snacks tomorrow night.

      You ask a good question about the sugars in fruits. Here’s what I know: The sugar in candy, cookies, and sodas is added sugar — sweetener that’s added during processing — and these foods just supply empty calories (as in very few nutrients but lots of calories).

      Fruits also contain sugar but the sugar is naturally occurring (it’s inherently part of the food) and contains nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber that we all need as part of a healthy diet. Since we need some sugar for energy, it’s way better to get it in its natural and healthy form versus processed and unhealthy form. Stay tuned for ideas for healthy snacks and drinks for kids in future blog posts.

  6. Sarah Henry Says:

    Kale Convert: Read A Homemade Life author Molly Wizenberg on how she learned to love kale…http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2009/10/how_i_learned_to_love_kale

  7. Sarah Henry Says:

    Love this spiced up version, courtesy of Monica Bhide, over at A Life of Spice.

    Details here:
    http://www.monicabhide.com/my_weblog/2010/01/chaat-masala-kale-chips-january-2010.html

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