There are moments in cooking life when I’m making not exactly what I’m dying for, but what needs to be made. Maybe what needs to be eaten. That might be what’s in the fridge that’s about to expire. It also could be what a body needs. Mine or someone else’s.
My tall, gorgeous son Sean –himself a phenomenal cook — occasionally mentions something about not ever having eaten much kale. Maybe not even knowing much about it. I’ll tell him and you this. Kale recipes, which are a huge hit on my blogs, seem to be something folks were looking for a lot over the last couple of years, but just exactly why is somewhat of a mystery. Kale was the millstone around most CSA participants’ necks in Minnesota and elsewhere. There was kale and there was kale and there was… you get the picture. I remember blogs and fb posts about apartment building residents who took turns cooking dinner one night a week. During the loooong kale season, some apartments would offer kale soup over and over, much to the chagrin of families whose small children didn’t know from kale. (Where was the chicken?) But to introduce Sean to a bit of superfood kale, I thought I’d make a lentil soup with kale and beet greens (don’t throw them away for God’s sake), as well as a hot salad with the same greens and cooked beets plus the ubiquitous goat cheese and pecans. (Below: Here’s the soup.)
I posted the soup on Dinnerplace and here’s the salad, which is done in about a half an hour and is lovely hot or leftover for lunch. Did I say this was cheap? Add a little whole whatever bread–or some whole wheat crackers–to complete this meal. I’ve included a vegan option, which simply eliminates the cheese and replaces the honey with sugar. (If you’re uninitiated to beets, be prepared for a not-a-problem red surprise in the toilet next day. Perhaps this is TMI, but it’s frightening to some.) Try this:
hot beet greens and kale salad with beets, goat cheese, and pecans
Cook the beets first as they’ll take longer than the greens, which are done in no time. Note changes for vegan version.
- 3 scrubbed beets and greens
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Crushed red pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cups finely chopped kale with stems
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, divided
- Honey (replace with a pinch of white sugar for vegan version)
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (leave out for vegan version)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Slice greens off the beets and reserve. Place unpeeled beets in a 3-quart saucepan covered with water plus an inch or two and bring to a boil. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until tender — about 30 minutes. Drain and cool beets. Trim, peel, and dice. Place diced beets in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tablespoon each of sherry vinegar and olive oil. Set aside. Chop beet greens and stems.
Into a large, deep skillet heated over medium flame, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil and add pinch of crushed red pepper. Let cook one minute and add onion. Cook 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the kale, beet greens, and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let cook down 4-6 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Season with a tablespoon of sherry vinegar and just a small drizzle of honey. Taste and readjust seasonings if necessary.
Spoon out cooked beet green and kale mixture onto a large round platter and, from the center, push toward the edges to create a ring. Spoon dressed beets into the hole left in center and top with the goat cheese. Sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper on top of the cheese. Drizzle entire salad lightly with a bit more sherry vinegar. Garnish with pecans. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.
Wine: Do try a Syrah. You’ll be surprised!
Just read: Ordinary Grace and adored it. Good story, albeit sad… Lovely moments and nearly perfect words about why why believe, why it’s worthwhile no matter what. I ordered it and sent it to my dear Twin Cities friend, Chris Kliesen Wehrman, whom I miss horribly.
Sing a new song,