A Mother and her Two Daughters

14 May 2011

Cooking Kale – A Super Food (Can I post twice in one day?)

Keeping with my new venture for eating most things local, this morning was another day at the Farmers Market.  I attended two – the new Hillcrest Farmers Market and the Certified Arkansas Farmer’s Market.  Both of these markets only include local farmers with local meats and produce - fresh, clean food from small family farms.  Last spring and summer I was only able to get to the market one time.  But this year is different.  Saturday mornings have become my time to shop each market for the foods I want for the meals I’ll prepare throughout the week. 

Today I bought some lovely chickens from Cove Creek Acres, a local poultry and pork farm located in Clarksville, AR.  And the pork chops we cooked this week from Farm Girl Natural Foods – well, it was simply the best pork I’ve ever tasted.  So, I bought more chops, a pork loin and some sausage.  I also bought sweet onions, kale, mushrooms, more English peas, fresh lettuce, green onions and Arkansas strawberries.  In the meantime, I’ll have to buy out-of-state but organically grown tomatoes at the market.  I sure will be happy when the Arkansas tomatoes are ready for harvest.  There’s nothing much better than Arkansas strawberries and tomatoes. 
Yesterday a good friend asked me about my new love for that leafy green vegetable known as kale.  I really didn’t know anything abut kale, never ate it until cancer.  My friend Leslie brought a big bunch of it to my house and showed me a very simple method for roasting it in the oven.  Since then, I’ve discovered it’s an uber-nutritious vegetable full of vitamins A, C and K, and the all important anti-oxidant vitamin E.  Kale is also a great source of manganese, calcium and iron, has no cholesterol, and offers a nice serving of fiber and protein.

I think the reason I never cooked with kale is that it’s much tougher than other leafy greens compared to turnip greens and spinach.  So you’ll seldom find anyone using it to make a salad or cream sauce, even though I’ve since found several recipes for kale used with soups and stir fries. 

But the recipe below is about as easy and good as you can get and only requires three ingredients.  I’m sharing it with you in hopes that you’ll also discover this fabulous vegetable continues to be listed as one of the Super Foods.  Super Foods are only good if you know what to do with them. 

Roasted Kale with Sea Salt
4 cups firmly-packed kale
1 to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I sometimes use Sesame Oil for a different flavor)
1 tsp. good-quality sea salt (I’ve been using lemon sea salt)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and trim the kale: Peel off the tough stems by folding the kale leaves in half like a book and stripping the stems off. Toss with extra virgin olive oil. Roast for five minutes. Turn kale over. Roast another 7 to 10 minutes until kale turns brown and becomes paper thin and brittle. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.

I’ve seen a few other recipes that add some minced garlic, ground black pepper and toasted sesame seeds.  Everybody’s palate is different so do with it what you like.  But today I bought two sacks of kale and plan on enjoying its wonderful flavor throughout the week. 

If you want to buy local, the Farmers Market is where you want to be.  And if you can’t get there on Saturdays, then try shopping at local food markets such as Argenta Market in North Little Rock, or Terry’s or Hestand’s in the Heights.  All of these locally owned markets do a terrific job of buying from local farmers too.  

Eat healthy, and eat local when you can.  It's really not difficult, just requires changing a few old shopping habits.  

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