Sunday, July 5, 2009

Italian Kale with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Don't you just love it when an inspiration turns out to be delicious? Well this one worked out well.

The inspiration came when I was strolling through the Farmer's Market. My daughter has been complaining about too many salads so I was searching for some new veggies to prepare. I saw the kale and it spoke to me. It was dark green with elongated and bumpy leaves. I have used it in soups, but never as a side dish for dinner.

I looked up recipes online to get a general idea of how to prepare it. Then I had to figure out how to season and flavor it so my picky family would eat it. Out of that came a delicious result. The kale was savory and earthy. The cranberries, pine nuts and vinegar provided a sweet and tangy counter. My husband loved it. He said he would eat it anytime I made it. That is no small miracle. He has never met a vegetable that he would ask for a second date; he only eats them because he knows that he needs to set a good example for the kids.

My 21 month old at a few pieces and went back to his "chichen". His opinion is not very reliable. Some days he eats serving after serving of veggies and other days, very few. My daughter is the pickiest of all. She ate all of hers and thanked me for not making another salad. Her seven year old opinion was that I could make it again, but she didn't love it. There you go. I think that was pretty good considering that if she were left to her own choosing, she would eat bread and fruit all day and finish off with all the dessert she could find. LOL.

Italian Kale with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

1 bunch Italian kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinto kale)
1 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar (or more if needed)
dried cranberries
2 Tbs pine nuts, lightly toasted
salt and pepper

Wash the kale and dry in a salad spinner or pat with kitchen towels. It can still be fairly damp, but not dripping wet. Chop the kale into larger bite sized pieces (it will wilt significantly when it is cooked). Saute the garlic in a pan over medium to medium-high heat until fragrant (hot enough to cook, but not burn the garlic). Add the chopped kale and saute until it is bright green, slightly wilted, but still has some body and character left to it. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. At this point I plated my kale and sprinkled the dried cranberries and toasted pine nuts on top. I finished with some fresh, cracked black pepper and some sea salt.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adopt a Blogger: Hey, that tastes good!

During the holidays around my part of the world, there is a funny, eclectic antique shop that sells the most amazing, soft and HUGE molasses cookies I have ever eaten. Well, used to eat. Those cookies are one of the first things I thought of when I found out I would be living the rest of my life gluten-free. I mourned their delicious brown spiciness. Thinking of the slight crunch of the sugary surface and the moist and delicate interior makes my mouth water. And the scent is equivalent to fall and early winter.

I have been saved from my despair; I found a recipe for Molasses Softies from Jill at "Hey, that tastes good!"
I was not going to wait until Autumn to find out if these would satisfy my annual craving. So I adopted Jill, and her cookies, for June's Adopt a Blogger event, hosted this month by Terri at Faking It Gluten Free Style. Jill has a fun blog with lots of tasty recipes. She just go married and enjoy reading about her cooking adventures.

I pretty much followed her recipe as written; the only thing you might consider a change was the addition of a pinch more ginger. I love ginger in molasses cookies! The dough was soft, but workable. It was easy to roll them into a ball, cover them in sugar and transfer to the pan. The hard part was waiting for them to bake and then cool for a couple of minutes before we dug in. The smell that filled the house promised very good things.

The results were nothing short of amazing. My husband, daughter, mother and friends raved at the smell, taste and texture. They gobbled them up and asked for more. I am a huge texture person so I noticed the rice flour texture; everyone else (all gluten eaters) did not. Other than that, they were simply wonderful!

I will be making these again when I see those gluteny discs of danger appear in the antique shop again. Thanks Jill!

And thanks again to Terri for hosting this months Adopt A Blogger. I had a lot of fun!