Friday, September 19, 2014

Kale Yeah!

So, I planted my lovely little garden back in May on Memorial Day. Hopeful and satisfied, I eagerly looked forward to juicy tomatoes, fresh zucchini and summer squash, spicy hot peppers, tender Japanese eggplant, and this year: three different kinds of kale. 

And then the weather stayed cool. And things got weird. 

My veggies just did not develop like usual. The nights were cool and my peppers, squash, and tomatoes just didn't produce much fruit. And what was on the vine, just didn't ripen. It would have felt like a total bust, if it hadn't been for one surprising star of the garden...


Apparently, kale adores cool, wet weather. And apparently, we all LOVE kale. We had kale salad almost every night (and for lunch for me). If kale is really a super food, then we are in great shape. 

With all that kale growin' and eatin' I learned a few things. First of all, fresh kale from the garden is far superior to kale from the grocery store. If you can't grow kale in your garden, try to get it from a Farmer's Market.  Second, you MUST massage the kale. This is critical! Your kale must be relaxed... Haha. But seriously, massaging the kale breaks down some of its tough fibers and makes it tender and delicious. Tear the kale away from the tough stem. Tear into bite sized pieces and wash & dry. Put it in a large bowl and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. (Not too much!) Then, using both hands, gently massage the kale for one to two minutes. The kale will change color and the leaves will get softer. Once you are finished, you can store the kale in a zip top bag in the fridge to use later, or you can make a kale salad or some yummy kale chips! Huzzah! We love kale! 

Here is my favorite kale salad recipe:

Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

1 bunch kale (prepared as describes above)

1/3 cup olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
4 tsp. miso (yellow or white)
1 clove minced garlic

Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss with kale. You can top with croutons and shredded Parmesan. I can't have dairy, so I like mine with some toasted pine nuts. Sometimes I just shred a little carrot on top. Yum! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It May Be Winter Forever...

Do you remember the story of the lonely giant and how in his garden it was always winter? That is what it is like here... always winter!  I am starting to wonder of the snow will ever melt and if spring will ever come again.  I actually like snow and winter. A lot.  But it has been a little too much of a good thing.  Come mid-March I am ready to move on.  So, c'mon Old Man Winter!  Give it a rest.  Go back to bed.  Spring is ready to wake up and get the show on the road.

I have been spending most of my time working (always!), knitting, and cooking.  I haven't done as much reading as I would normally like to because my knitting obsession has been high.  I have already completed three knit cowls and a baby sweater since January 1, and I have another cowl on the needles and another baby sweater about 1/3 done.  Work has been really stressful, and knitting definitely helps me relax and unwind.  There is something incredibly soothing about the repetitive and tactile nature of knitting or crocheting.  I highly recommend it.

Here is a recipe that I have made twice now and it is sooooo good.  I had some ground turkey in the freezer and was looking for something yummy to do with it.  I came across this website which has really good recipes and great photos.  I decided to make Turkey Meatballs with Light Tomato Sauce.  (You can check out the site here.)

The meatballs.

The sauce.

The finished product (brace yourself - it does spatter a bit while cooking.)

I like to eat this just as is, my husband likes to sop up the sauce with lots of bread, or you could serve it over noodles.  It is so good!

The recipe:
Turkey Meatballs with Light Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1 large basil sprig (with lots of leaves) plus more for garnish

1/2 cup Panko
1/2 cup milk (I use rice milk)
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan (I use Go Veggie)
2 T chopped parsley (I use more than this b/c I love parsley)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb ground turkey

In a large skillet with sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes then cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant.

Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste then bring to a simmer. Season with salt, and then add basil spring. Allow sauce to simmer gently while preparing meatballs.

To make meatballs, combine panko breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, and then let sit 5 minutes. Add egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley, oregano and salt to bowl. Stir until combined. Next, add turkey then use a fork or fingers to mix everything together until barely combined. For tender meatballs, try not to over mix.

Wet your hands and form mixture into 1-inch meatballs. This should make about 24 meatballs.

Gently drop meatballs into tomato sauce. (It’s okay if some are not completely covered by the sauce). Cover skillet with a lid and cook 20 minutes then gently shimmy or shake the skillet to move the meatballs around a little. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.

Before serving, scatter about 2 tablespoons of torn basil leaves over meatballs and sauce.

This is really yummy!  I use the rice milk and Go Veggie parm substitute because I am lactose-intolerant.  My family loves them!  The leftovers make great meatball subs.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Get it together

Seriously, people. This place is a wreck. There's stuff everywhere, and a hundred different things going on. I have half the Christmas decorations put away, I have a million essays to grade, and what I really wish I were doing is sitting and knitting and watching Downton Abbey. 

I also have home decorating ADD. I want to change something... I just can't decide what! And Pinterest is only adding to the problem. Haha. I need to make a list.