Monday, September 16, 2013

A Day Without Kale is a Day Without Sunshine

I know kale is a big nutritional fad right now, and I’ve been eating it off and on for years. Reluctantly, I might add, because it’s so tough. However, I found a recipe that improves on the texture by freezing the greens before cooking them; it breaks down the cellulose. I wonder if that would work on leathery collard greens? Try it and let me know. I amped up the flavor by switching up some ingredients. It’s a good veg dish, fit for company, with a Mediterranean flavor. Use Tuscan, also called lacinato kale, if available; otherwise use the normal grocery store kale.

Tuscan Kale with Pancetta

3 lb Tuscan kale, washed, stemmed and frozen for at least a few hours
couple shakes red pepper flakes
1 tb olive oil
6 oz pancetta or smoked bacon, cut into lardons (1/4” crosswise strips)
1 ½ cups thinly sliced red onion (about 1 medium)
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
red wine vinegar

Fill an 8 qt pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add big pinch of salt and dump in the frozen, straight-from-the-freezer kale. Mostly cover the pan cook on high heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander (save the cooking water if you like) and press out excess liquid. When cool enough to handle, chop up kale.

Warm up the pot with olive oil over medium high heat and add pancetta, cooking until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and pinch salt and sweat until tender. Don’t worry about a little color on your aromatics, it will add flavor. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kale and black pepper. Cook gently for 7 minutes, adjust seasonings.

Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Offer red-wine vinegar, it really adds great flavor.

I’ve been working on my love-hate relationship with making fresh pasta. I watched Giuliano Hazan, evidently a renowned cookbook author make tortelloni online. I did make a tasty batch so I may try some more.

A stop at Lockeford Meats yesterday inspired me to try my hand at sausage making. They make incredible sausage; the Hawaiian luau is amazing. Just a little sweet, with a hint of pineapple. My mom bought some Italian sausage but it didn’t have any fennel in it!!!! What the heck!? So she and I are going to make Italian sausage soon. I have a pork shoulder in the freezer, a recipe from Top Chef University and she has the grinder and stuffer attachment. I just need to track down the casings. No nasty nitrates/nitrites are added; the sausage will go in the freezer. AND THEN, I am going to make Sunday gravy this fall, with my own sausage in it! Maybe I will make pasta to go with it. Or not. Probably not. Ciao!

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