Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"You and that kale..."

Today on Facebook, my friend, Christian, noted my recent obsession with kale.  His comment on my cheddar, kale, and asiago grilled cheese photo: "You and that kale."  Yup.  It's a new favorite.  And along with quinoa, it's not going anywhere anytime soon.  In fact, I'm so convinced everyone should at least try both that I'm posting a couple recipes here for you to sample.  

Unless otherwise noted, all ingredients used are Trader Joe's brand and available at your neighborhood store. I know, shameless plug. Get over it.  :)

Cheddar, Asiago, and Kale Grilled Cheese

1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. kale, stemmed and chopped 
dash of garlic salt or fresh minced garlic (I used Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic)
dash of onion salt or finely diced onion  (I used Tastefully Simple's Onion Onion)
2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread (available at Trader Joe's)
1 tbsp. salted butter 
1-2 oz. asiago cheese, thinly sliced 1 slice sliced light cheddar (also try English coastal cheddar, reduced fat Celtic cheddar, or extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar)

Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat.  Add kale, garlic salt, and onion salt to taste.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes until wilted.  Covering the skillet for a minute or two is also an option as it helps to steam the kale nicely.  Remove kale from heat and set aside.

Butter outside of each bread slice.  Top one slice with asiago and cheddar cheeses and set to grill on the skillet at medium-low heat.  Once cheeses begin to melt, top with chopped kale, and close the sandwich with the second buttered slice of bread.  Grill each side until cheese is melted and the bread is toasted golden-brown.

Quinoa Risotto with Kale and Asiago

This is my take on this recipe, a modified version of the original Mayo Clinic recipe

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 organic sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup quinoa, well-rinsed (from Costco)
1/2 cup organic tricolor quinoa, well-rinsed
2 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
2 cups kale, chopped and stemmed
1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of sea salt

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and quinoa and cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Don’t let the garlic brown.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is almost al dente but slightly hard in the center, about 12 minutes. The mixture will be broth-like. Stir in the kale, carrot and mushrooms and simmer until the quinoa grains have turned from white to translucent, about 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the cheese and season with the salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.