From the Land 10.3

food for thought
full share: bell peppers, carrots, herb mix, eggplant, garlic, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and kale!

partial share: garlic, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and kale!

veg of the week

kaleBrassica oleracea

Closely related to cabbage and collard greens, this colorful green is one of the most common culinary greens in the US, especially post-World War II when kale cultivation was encouraged by the “Dig for Victory” campaign. The colors can range from light to dark green to green with a purplish, brownish or reddish tint. Russian kale was the most recent introduction to the US in the 1800s via Canada by Russian traders.

Uses: Here are some great ideas for your kale:

  • kale is delicious raw as a salad, and can also be steamed, stir-fried (as in Asian dishes), or mashed with potatoes (common in Ireland)
  • try this African favorite: boil the kale in coconut milk, top with peanuts, and serve with rice or polenta (cornmeal)
  • It makes an excellent marinated salad when allowed to sit overnight in vinaigrette.
  • boil it briefly (1 minute), then saute with onions and garlic; add this to an omelet, or casserole, or serve with other vegetables on pasta.
  • make kale chips: toss with olive oil, salt and finely grated Parmesan cheese, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 450 for 15 minutes (or until crispy).

Nutrition: From Wikipedia: Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids. Much of kale’s nutritional content is maintained most successfully when cooked by steaming rather than boiling or eating raw.

To store: Rinse kale in cool water right away. Allowing water droplets to stay on leaves, wrap in paper towel and seal in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to a week. Alternately, store unwashed in a plastic bag with as much air as possible pressed out, where it will stay for up to 5 days. Leaves will increase in bitterness the longer they are stored.

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Biodynamics Explained
by Alex Deck

Maybe you have heard of this elite style of organic farming and felt intimidated by its awesome health food-nes. Don’t worry, it’s a simple concept. I’ll outline it for you and you can decide for yourself what its value is.Organic and Biodynamic farming mostly differ in an element of spirituality. While organics abstains from artificial chemical uses, biodynamics takes it a step further to introduce methods that  considers a system of plants, animals, astronomy and earth “energy” working together. This system is summarized by a term developed by philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called anthroposophy. Anthroposophy (anthro=human and posophy=wisdom) can also be described as wisdom of the nature of man. More specifically its a scientific method of analyzing the hidden, soul nature of man and his environment. Anthroposophy extends its ideologies to architecture, dance (eurythmy) and education (Waldorf). Steiner, a prolific writer and lecturer, composed his ideas after reading myriad books and publications on everything scientific and spiritual. A major influence on his life’s work was philosopher Johann Goethe.In practice , biodynamics aims to restore ecological harmony by containing farming practices to within the farm, ie minimizing imported goods. Several different biodynamic “preparations” exist that are believed to tie the practice to the cosmos and take advantage of celestial energy. Preparation substances are numbered 500 through 508. The first two substances deal with increasing nutrient retention and soil longevity while the last six are used in preparing compost . As an example, the 500 preparation is made by filling cow horns with manure then by burying them in the ground to decompose over winter. When it’s time to fertilize the fields the manure is mixed with water, using certain mixing methods, then sprayed thinly over the ground.Inline image 2

Biodynamic farms and Waldorf schools are quite common today. In Prescott the Mountain Oak School is a Waldorf Charter. For lists of biodynamic farms in the US, and across the world, accepting interns go to the WWOOF website mentioned in the previous article.

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beet and kale salad
adapted from bastyr center
serves 6

Salad:

  • 4 large beets
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 medium carrot

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced garlic

Wash beets and bring to a boil in a large pot. After boiling bring to a simmer, continue to simmer for one hour, until tender. Alternately, wrap in foil and roast at 350 until soft. Let cool, then peel beets and cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

In the meantime, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet and cooking over medium heat. Constantly stir the seeds to ensure even cooking. When they begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma, they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Wash kale and place in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Place in strainer and cool with cold water, cut into bite size pieces. Finely dice the green onions and slice the carrot into 1/8-inch rounds.

Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl place chopped beets, chopped kale, diced green onions, sliced carrots and pumpkin seeds. Add dressing and toss gently. Serve chilled. Makes approximately six servings.

carrot and kale hash with broiled eggs
adapted from farmgirl gourmet
serves 2

  • 5 small carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
  • 2 small sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or a big pinch if you like it spicy)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the broiler using the low setting.

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray.  Over medium-high heat add the onion, carrot and red pepper and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the water and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the water evaporates completely.

Continue to cook the onion mixture for another 3 minutes.  Add the kale, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and saute until the kale is wilted, about 3 minutes.

Using 2 oven-proof dishes, divide the carrot mixture.  Top with 2 eggs each and place under the broiler.  Broil for 5-7 minutes depending on your egg doneness preference.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle each with 1 ounce of goat cheese and serve.

eggplant, zucchini, kale and tomatoes with penne
adapted from daily unadventures in cooking
serves 2

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 medium eggplants, medium diced (about 1/2-3/4″ cubes)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 t red pepper flakes, or 3 small dried thai chiles, crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, medium diced
  • 1 C kale leaves roughly chopped (you just want the leaves, remove stems first)
  • 1 C whole cherry tomatoes
  • 3 T goat cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 portions whole wheat penne pasta

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, in the meantime prep all your veggies and heat a large skillet to medium heat. When the water starts to boil add pasta and set your timer. Meanwhile add oil and onions to skillet and saute for 2 minutes, or until onions start to soften. Add eggplant, garlic, chiles and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Continue adding veggies and sautéing, add zucchini and cook for another 2 minutes, then add kale for 1 minute, and finally tomatoes. Give it all a good stir and let simmer for a minute or two, or until pasta is ready. Save a little pasta water just in case. Add pasta to skillet, crumble goat cheese on top and toss well. Add salt and pepper and correct to taste. Serve hot.

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