Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup Recipe


This Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup Recipe was developed by the nutrition staff at Nutricare - St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI.

2 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herb seasoning
6 cups vegetable broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 oz. kale, tough stems removed, chopped coursely (about 4 cups)
12 garlic cloves (I've added a few more but it's up to your taste)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and Italian herb seasoning; saute until
onions are soft and golden, about 6 minutes
2. Stir in broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and kale; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low
and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add garlic to simmer soup base. Simmer until sweet potatoes and greens are tender.
About 15 - 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 6 servings (1 1/2 cup each)

It is scrumptious with these ingredients just as written. I know I'll be making this soup over and over and over again. In addition, this soup recipe is very adaptable so many other ingredients could be added, such as canned tomatoes, left-over rice, tofu, other vegetables, etc.

This recipe freezes well, so make up a double batch to have some delicious and healthy food ready for your own home-made and inexpensive "fast food".

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Another Simple Supper - Rapini and Pasta

So many things to do during the holiday season, including shoveling our first snowfall of the season today. Here is one easy way to keep fueled with delicious and healthy foods, including a relative of kale called rapini, that are a snap to make for supper.

I purchased a large bunch of fresh, locally grown rapini (sometimes called broccolini) at our local farmers market this morning grown by Jonathan and Karlene Goetz of Riga, MI, in their hoop houses. I always look but usually pass by the tiny bunch of rapini at the grocery store, shipped from California, that sells for $3.99, but this enormous bunch was only $2.00. Karlene assured me that they would be showing up every week during the winter, and I assured her that I was a "regular" and would also show up to purchase fresh greens all winter long. Now that is a relationship that is truly "Made in Michigan!"

(Photo: Rapini, also known as broccolini)

Ingredients:
• 6-8 ounces of whole wheat pasta (made by a local company called Pastabilities)
• 1/2 large bunch rapini, washed and cut into pieces (about 4 cups fresh)
• 3-4 roasted tomato halves (frozen last fall, thawed just a bit and cut into small pieces - canned, drained tomato pieces will also do here, saving the juice for something else)
• 1 small stalk of fresh rosemary - snip the leaves off
• 2 'ice cubes' of garlic scape pesto, thawed (my husband makes this recipe and freezes it for use all winter - any pesto will do)

Directions:
1) steam the rapini for just a few minutes using a steamer basket - do not overcook
2) cook pasta until still al dente, drain well
3) combine cooked pasta in large serving bowl with pesto, tomato pieces, rapini, and rosemary leaves
4) toss to distribute all ingredients

Serve with additional freshly grated hard cheese (not really necessary), fresh crusty bread, and a salad, if desired. Also very good and filling all by itself. These amounts made enough for 2 very hearty servings with one serving left over for lunch tomorrow, which will be very tasty to eat either warmed up or chilled.

(Photo: Rapini and Pasta - the only ingredient I cannot see is the fresh rosemary leaves)

Where kale and delicious relatives like rapini are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Simple Kale Supper

Based on my last post regarding cooking techniques, I decided to try steaming kale instead of stir-frying for this recipe it in order to retain as many healthful molecules as possible.

I love just looking in my refrigerator and cleaning out ingredients to come up with something tasty, healthy, and easy for supper. This "Simple Kale Supper" fits that bill.

(Photo: Kale from our community garden - almost too beautiful to eat!)

Ingredients:
• large bunch of kale, chop
• bunch green onions, slice
• 1 large tomato, small dice
• ~1/2# firm tofu, drain, pat dry, cut into 1-inch cubes
• brown rice (Use left-over rice in the refrig if you have it ! If you don't, start a large amount before you start chopping your other ingredients).
• ~1 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying vegetables and tofu.
• Optional sauces: soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, sweet-sour sauce.

Special note: These ingredients are what I had available. Use what you have: for instance you might have a small amount of left over chicken, beef, fish, or even some dried beans, in addition to many other little bits of fresh vegetables you wish to use up. You may have some left-over pasta or grains of some type instead of needing to cook up some rice. I have even served stir-fried vegetables over torn up toast pieces in order to use up a loaf of bread. Be creative - don't feel beholden to my recipe!

Directions:
1) Start the rice cooking if that is what you are going to serve the vegetables over. I admit to just loving my rice steamer. I can get the rice started, plan on finishing up the recipe in ~1 hour and then forget the rice. No worries about having it overcooked or undercooked.

(Photo: Rice Steamer)

2) Drain, pat dry and chop the tofu.
3) Chop your vegetables

(Photo: Tofu and vegetables chopped and ready to go)

4) About 15 minutes before your rice steamer is finished, steam the kale in a steamer just until wilted and tender (no more than 5 minutes). Save the water in the bottom of the steamer for soup broth later in the week. Or freeze for use at some future date.

(Photo: Vegetable steamer - I love this gadget!)

5) About 5 minutes before your rice cooker is ready to "ding", start heating the oil in your wok or pan for stir-frying the tofu and vegetables. Quickly stir-fry the vegetables and tofu until the tofu is browned and the vegetables are hot. Add the steamed kale, stir to distribute evenly.

6) Spoon ~1 cup of the rice on each plate and split the vegetables and tofu in half and distribute over the rice. (I will put extra rice into freezer bags to have for a quick supper (i.e., my own fast food) in the future).

7) These ingredients as pictured served two hearty dinners. Increase amount of tofu and vegetables for more servings or for left-overs to have for lunch tomorrow.

(Photo: Simple Kale Supper)

Steaming the kale is an extra step, but not really excessively time-consuming. It does result in one additional pan and the steamer that need to be washed, but they are easy enough to do by hand without even taking space in the dishwasher.

Simple, easy, healthy, beautiful and you cleaned out your refrigerator without any delicious and costly vegetables going "slimy" and into the compost pile.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

What's in kale and how to keep it there!

(Photo: Fall harvested kale from our community garden, multiple curly varieties)

A reader recently asked a good question about which cooking methods cause the most loss of nutrients in kale; specifically he was wondering about the relative benefits of raw versus steamed kale. Reading a number of research studies investigating this question in Brassica vegetables shows a variety of answers. However, here are abstracts from two recent articles:

(1) Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B, 2009 Vol. 10(8):580~588, Yuan GF, Sun B, Yuan J, Wang QM. Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli.

The effects of five domestic cooking methods, including steaming, microwaving, boiling, stir-frying, and stir-frying followed by boiling (stir-frying/boiling), on the nutrients and health-promoting compounds of broccoli were investigated. The results show that all cooking treatments, except steaming, caused significant losses of chlorophyll and vitamin C and significant decreases of total soluble proteins and soluble sugars. Total aliphatic and indole glucosinolates were significantly modified by all cooking treatments but not by steaming.

In general, the steaming led to the lowest loss of total glucosinolates, while stir-frying and stir-frying/boiling presented the highest loss. Stir-frying and stir-frying/boiling, the two most popular methods for most homemade dishes in China, cause great losses of chlorophyll, soluble protein, soluble sugar, vitamin C, and glucosinolates, but the steaming method appears the best in retention of the nutrients in cooking broccoli (I suspect the same will be true for kale and other Brassica vegetables).

This next abstract shows the many points between raw, cooking, consumption, and absorption that influence the potential outcome for health-promotion from eating Brassica vegetables.

(2) Proc Nutr Soc. 2007 Feb;66(1):69-81. Effect of cooking brassica vegetables on the subsequent hydrolysis and metabolic fate of glucosinolates. Rungapamestry V, Duncan AJ, Fuller Z, Ratcliffe B.

The protective effects of brassica vegetables against cancer may be partly related to their glucosinolate content. Glucosinolates are hydrolysed by plant myrosinase following damage of plant tissue. Isothiocyanates are one of the main groups of metabolites of glucosinolates and are implicated in the preventive effect against cancer. During cooking of brassica the glucosinolate-myrosinase system may be modified as a result of inactivation of plant myrosinase, loss of enzymic cofactors such as epithiospecifier protein, thermal breakdown and/or leaching of glucosinolates and their metabolites or volatilisation of metabolites. Cooking brassica affects the site of release of breakdown products of glucosinolates, which is the upper gastrointestinal tract following consumption of raw brassica containing active plant myrosinase. After consumption of cooked brassica devoid of plant myrosinase, glucosinolates are hydrolysed in the colon under the action of the resident microflora. Feeding trials with human subjects have shown that hydrolysis of glucosinolates and absorption of isothiocyanates are greater following ingestion of raw brassica with active plant myrosinase than after consumption of the cooked plant with denatured myrosinase. The digestive fate of glucosinolates may be further influenced by the extent of cell rupture during ingestion, gastrointestinal transit time, meal composition, individual genotype and differences in colonic microflora.

Bottom Line? Enjoy all varieties of kale and other Brassica vegetables using all methods of preparation, however, it seems prudent to consume as much as possible either raw (well-chewed or put into a smoothie) or lightly steamed to maximize their cancer-fighting potential.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recipe: Eggs with Kale

There is no real shopping list for this recipe. If you have some kale and eggs in the house (or backyard), I am sure you also have enough other vegetables to fill up a pan and whip up this supper, breakfast, lunch, or snack in a jiffy!

I love just looking in the refrigerator, the pantry, the freezer, or even the backyard (or our community garden) to see what I have available to make a quick meal. Although I do enjoy eating "fancy food" and do regularly try new recipes from cookbooks, I don't often cook gourmet recipes from cookbooks, magazines, or TV shows. I guess I prefer eating what are called "rustic" dishes, but I also do have a fully stocked pantry of staples such as brown rice both on the shelf ready to cook but usually also in the freezer already cooked and ready to quickly thaw to complete my own "fast food" meals.

In this case, I had been recently thinking about the recipes I remembered that were included in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. One of my favorites was a quick and easy one called something like "eggs in a nest" (that may be correct or simply paraphrasing). In any case, it was easy, delicious, and fast, and apparently memorable!

Here are my ingredients as pictured:

• large handful of kale (about 5-6 medium leaves), washed, large tough stems removed, and then cut into strips
• two handfuls of fingerling potatoes, washed, steamed, and then diced
• 1 roasted red pepper, cut into big chunks
• medium handful of flat parley leaves, washed, dried, and chopped coarsely
• very large handful of green onions, whites and greens chopped (probably 2-3 bunches)
• 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 4 eggs (use more if desired)
• Olive oil, enough only to coat the pan (I used my large cast-iron skillet)
• Smoked paprika for shaking over eggs when done


Directions:
• Pour small amount of olive oil into skillet, heat over medium high
• Add garlic and white part of onions, cook until just starting to sizzle and the aroma in the room is intoxicating (just a few minutes)
• Add all other vegetables, stir around in oil, cook for a few minutes until kale is just starting to wilt
• Spread vegetables out evenly into pan, make little depressions in the vegetable medley for the number of eggs you are using
• Break one egg into each depression
• Cover and turn down heat to medium and cook until eggs whites and yolks are done as you like them (this might take 10-15 minutes)
• Sprinkle the eggs with smoked paprika for a lovely smoky, bacon-like flavor and a beautiful color
• If your cast-iron pan is well seasoned, the servings will just slip out with a spatula onto a plate.
• Serve with cooked brown rice or toast, fresh green salad, or fresh fruit for a filling meal.

(Photo: Kale vegetable medley with eggs in their "nests")

(Photo: lid on to help steam the vegetables and eggs)

(Photo: Eggs with Kale, sprinkled with smoked paprika, all ready to serve and eat!)

With kale and eggs in your refrigerator or out your back door, cooking does not get much easier than this. Enjoy - yum, yum!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe: Brassica "Tri-fecta" Stir Fry

(Photo: Brassica "Tri-fecta" Stir Fry)

Remember in a previous post that I mentioned I made a stir-fry dish using three different types of Brassica vegetables: red cabbage, baby bok choy, and yellow cauliflower? It was beautiful, easy, and tasty. I think this recipe might be called the Brassica "Tri-fecta" Stir-fry!

Because I always have several Brassica vegetables on hand, this dish really became a way to simply use up what was hanging out in the refrigerator. The baby bok choy had been picked from our garden, and the yellow cauliflower and red cabbage had come from Tantré Farm, one of our area's local organic farms. Thus chopping up those vegetables, adding some onion, garlic, and whatever else might be available to throw in the wok or skillet is an easy supper. I added some firm tofu and served over the mixture rice. Any seasoning could be added, and I chose some sweet curry.

I'm sorry that the yellow cauliflower does not really show up well in the stir-fry photo. It is shaped like regular white cauliflower but is a beautiful soft shade of yellow. The flavor is milder than white cauliflower, but an advantage is the higher level of health-promoting molecules called carotenoids, of which beta-carotene (pre-vitamin A) is just one. Here is what it will look like at your local farmers' market or grocery store. Buy it the next time you are shopping for a new way to include your Brassica vegetables.


All Brassica vegetables are "winners", no need to think about which are the top three for a true "tri-fecta". So choose any from the list on the right side of my blog for your next easy, healthy, and delicious stir-fry dinner! Be sure to make enough to have for lunch the next day, too. Stir-fry recipes may seem time-consuming due to the amount of chopping, but here is the perfect place to enlist the help of your family members. Start your evening "catch-up" conversation at the counter-top instead of waiting for the table-top!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Research: Eat your broccoli and eat some raw

Mom Was Right: Eat Your Broccoli and eat at least some of it raw. Why?

HealthDay news imageTwo studies published this year help us both understand how one of the important molecules we obtain from broccoli (and other Brassica vegetables like kale and all those listed on the right side of this blog) helps optimize our health and also how to maximize the level in our body.

(1) The first study (Oral sulforaphane increases Phase II antioxidant enzymes in the human upper airway. Clin Immunol. 2009 Mar;130(3):244-51. Riedl MA, Saxon A, Diaz-Sanchez D) found that the molecule sulforaphane increases enzymes that cut inflammation in our respiratory system that have been linked to increased risk of allergic rhinits, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This was a human study that used varying doses of broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts to test responses of various enzymes involved in these processes. The broccoli sprouts showed significant increase (~2-3 fold increase over baseline levels) in these detoxifying enzymes while the alfalfa sprouts showed no response.

(2) The second study (Bioavailability and kinetics of sulforaphane in humans after consumption of cooked versus raw broccoli, J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Nov 26;56(22):10505-9. Vermeulen M, Klöpping-Ketelaars IW, van den Berg R, Vaes WH) aimed to determine the bio-availability and kinetics (how fast it is metabolized) of sulforaphane from raw and cooked broccoli.

When consuming 200 grams of raw or cooked broccoli (approx 1/2 pound) with a warm meal, this study shows that consumption of raw broccoli results in faster absorption, higher bio-availability (37% versus 3.4%), and higher peak plasma amounts of sulforaphane, compared to cooked broccoli.

I will still consume some cooked broccoli (quickly stir-fried or very lightly steamed, in each case so the broccoli is still crunchy), but these studies add to data from other studies that at least some of these vegetables that we consume should be raw (and chewed well since that is a necessary step in the release of the sulforaphane molecule, thus developing maximum levels of sulforaphane to be absorbed into our body).

However, variety, variety, variety are still key for both types of foods to eat and preparation methods. It is well accepted that some nutrients or phytochemicals are better absorbed after cooking (lycopene from tomatoes is one example) because the cooking process breaks down the plant's cell walls, thus releasing the intra-cellular molecules to be more available for absorption.

At the very least, be sure to eat the decorative kale leaves that may come on your plate in a restaurant!

Where kale (along with broccoli and all other Brassica vegetables) are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Monday, September 7, 2009

What's in kale? Sulforaphane

(Photo: Curly kale varieties from Tantré Farms at the Ann Arbor, MI Farmers' Market)

This post could also be entitled "Research: Kale and other brassica vegetables may protect against heart disease, too!"

A new study has shown that a compound called sulforaphane, from brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale, may protect arteries from disease by boosting a natural defense mechanism. (Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Sept 2009, “Activation of Nrf2 in Endothelial Cells Protects Arteries From Exhibiting a Pro-inflammatory State”, M. Zakkar, et al.)

Sulforaphane ia a compound most widely associated with broccoli. Highest levels of sulforaphane are found in commercially available broccoli sprouts, but are also present in all brassica vegetables. In this recently published research, sulforaphane as an individual molecule (not from a whole food), was shown to activate a protein called Nrf2 in arteries. While the protein is normally present and active in the inner lining of arteries, in areas of arteries that are susceptible to disease, i.e., the bends and branches of arteries, the researchers found that Nrf2 is inactive, which may explain why those areas are sights for inflammation, an early stage in the development of heart disease such as atherosclerosis.

Both cell studies and animal studies showed that sulforaphane could reduce inflammation at these high risk areas by turning on the activity of the Nrf2 protein. The researchers next steps are to test whether eating a vegetable such as broccoli (or kale or other brassicas) will have the same protective effect for both prevention and reducing progression in already diseased arteries.

Cruciferous vegetables, like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain high levels of the active plant chemicals called glucosinolates (see one of my previous blog postings about glucosinolates). The glucosinlates are metabolized in our body into another group of molecules called isothiocyanates, which are known to be powerful anti-carcinogens. The main isothiocyanate from broccoli is sulforaphane.

Considerable previous research regarding the potential benefits of broccoli and sulforaphane have focused on the anti-cancer effects. Epidemiological (population data) and animal studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables result in fewer instances of certain cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer.

This study clearly adds to growing research that including kale and other brassica vegetables in the diet on a frequent, even daily, basis may have multiple health benefits, however, the portion size needed to experience these benefits will likely be much larger than just nibbling around the edges of the decorative kale on your plate once in a while!

As a tip, in addition to all the other brassica vegetables I grow or purchase, I do enjoy eating broccoli sprouts by adding them in salads. I also use them in place of lettuce in sandwiches or wraps especially during the winter if I cannot find lettuce to purchase grown by our local farmers in their hoop houses, which permit nearly year-round production of fresh greens even as far north as Michigan. (Note: I highly recommend obtaining all the various healthful molecules available in our food (many of which have not yet been studied) instead of purchasing a bottle of just one molecule as a dietary supplement.)

Last night I made a stir-fry dish using three different types of brassica vegetables: red cabbage, baby bok choy, and yellow cauliflower. It was beautiful and tasty. I finished it for lunch today. I think that easy recipe might be called the Brassica Tri-fecta Stir-fry! I'll post that recipe and a photo separately.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD



Monday, August 24, 2009

Transplanting arugula

A friend dug up an aruluga plant to give me a start from her front-yard garden ~10 days ago. It is special - a variety called "Italian Rustic". I definitely would call its flavor 'assertive'! Only a few leaves need be added to a salad to give it some hefty bite.

I dug a big hole, filled it with fresh compost from our back-yard compost bin, watered the hole, and then made room for the plant's roots to spread out before watering again, and finally filling in the top of the hole with the dirt I dug out. It went from perky to flat overnight, and I wondered if I had killed it.

(Photo: transplanted Italian rustic arugula (flat, in the center of the photo), in among some kale, lavender, and strawberries right by our back garage door)

However, I faithfully kept the soil moist in between rains (not soaked). It took a week to become perky again. It must have finally decided that it likes its new home, and this is now what it looks like, just standing straight up, each leaf reaching for the sun, and downright spicy when I pick a leaf to sample. This variety is supposed to be cold tolerant, so I am hoping that having it right by my house, on the south side, in a little warmish micro-climate, will help it winter over so I can dig it up to take to its new home on our farm next spring and then just let it spread by seed popping, just like my friend's had (she had no trouble finding me a new volunteer start to dig up to share!).


Where kale (and other brassica vegetables) are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Time to plant your fall and winter kale!

The New York Times is not the first place I would look for gardening advice, but there they are with an article today, right on schedule, recommending that now is the time to start sowing seeds for fall and winter greens, including kale.

I have been collecting my kale seeds for the last month or so, that started from our one plant that first overwintered and grew back last year, just as this article describes.

I'll plant a little bit in my front or back yard at our current home but will plant most at our new farm as soon as the land is ready to sow.

Here are two recent photos:


(Photo: backyard kale plant so heavy with seed pods that the stalks are lying on top of the patio and strawberry plants)


(Photo: one Red Russian kale plant volunteer in our community garden, growing right next to the compost pile. Its roots must LOVE where they are growing!)

I forgot to send some kale seeds with my younger son when he left to return to his home in Seattle where he has taken a tiny tiny tiny piece of dirt in the courtyard of his apartment complex to plant his garden. Time to get some kale seeds growing while he waits for his tomatoes to ripen up. His neighbors took good care of his plants while he was on vacation here at home in Michigan and are now even offering to continue helping. Yes, there is something that feels good about putting your hands in the dirt and nurturing life (and good food). :-)

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Friday, August 7, 2009

Founder of Whole Foods Market puts KALE in his breakfast smoothies!

Alrighty! According to a recent interview with John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods Market, he makes a smoothie for breakfast every morning using almond, oat, rice, or soy milk, fresh fruit in season, plus fresh kale or spinach leaves!

Oh wow - I like the sound of that!

Although I have been making a soy shake/smoothie for breakfast most mornings since my breast cancer diagnosis in 1995, I only started putting kale in my morning shake a few years ago. I first heard of doing this from a friend who has survived a brain tumor years beyond her doctors' expectations. Her 'secret'? In addition, to surgery, chemo, and radiation, she began drinking my SuperSoy and Phytochemical Shake recipe every morning but with the twist of "2 handfuls of kale leaves" as additional ingredients.

I don't know what 'two handfuls' really means for her. I am content to put in 1-2 leaves (minus the thick stems). I still like to see my smoothie be the color of the fruit and not have an overwhelming vegetable taste. I do not like my smoothies as sweet as most people and often find myself adding frozen unsweetened cranberries or unflavored yogurt to cut some of the sweetness if using sweetened soy milk or sweetened fruit, so having a slightly more veggie flavor as background is just fine with me.

Of course, my friend's account is what is called an anecdote or case study, with only an N=1. Her individual success is not a research study or 'proof' of any kind. However, kale is off the charts when it comes to being loaded with molecules that are both antioxidants and have other health-promoting benefits (including cancer-fighting activity), too.

What's not to like and try? Many thanks to John Mackey and Whole Foods Market for finally getting back to promoting healthy ingredients and food preparation at home as part of ultra-healthy (and enjoyable!) life habits. Purchasing less junk food (even organic junk food) leaves more money for purchasing healthy produce from both Whole Foods Market and local organic growers at your own Farmers' Markets.

Here is my original recipe with the kale leaves added as an optional ingredient, developed back in 1995, even before the word "smoothie" made it to the Midwest. Experiment yourself!

Diana's SuperSoy and Phytochemical Shake

Ingredients:

2 1/2 oz. soft or silken tofu (1/6 of a 1 lb. block)
3/4 cup of soy milk (I use unsweetened)
1 large carrot or 6 - 8 baby carrots
3/4 cup of orange juice
3/4 cup fresh or frozen fruit (no sugar added)
1-2 tablespoons of wheat or oat bran
1-2 tablespoons of wheat germ
1-2 tablespoons of ground or whole flax seed
(Kale leaves to taste)

Mix together in a blender for 1-2 minutes, then drink and enjoy! Yes, it makes a lot. I drink this entire recipe for breakfast, which might take me an hour to consume. My boys (now ages 26 and 31) can drink this entire shake in a few minutes and also need cereal or a bagel to fill up for breakfast.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate or in my blender!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

PS - I found a copy of the full interview with John Mackey at the following URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124942686325006009.html, but it is possible that the Wall Street Journal may limit viewing the full article. However, with some searching, I'll bet you can find it on the web somewhere.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coming Back!

(Photo: Kale flowers on the over-wintered Red Russian kale in our Project Grow community garden getting ready to make zillions of kale seeds, if I don't eat all the flowers first!)

After 3 busy months (read my full update at my dianadyer blog post today), I am ready to start blogging again. I have missed doing so and have lots of ideas backlogged to post up. My life going forward is also going to be very busy, but my hope is that it will be busy in a more controlled chaotic way, rather than just plain chaotic, so that I can keep up with some regular postings.

This "hedge" of kale started with a packet of seeds purchased at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, VA, and planted in our community garden during 2007. We harvested the kale through the late fall of 2007 and then just left all the plants in the garden without cleaning them out. Most of the plants died back, but one "came back" in the spring of 2008, which we watched both flower and produce seeds that were subsequently collected and planted in the late summer of 2008 in a raised bed after the garlic was pulled out. We did mulch this bed of kale during the winter 2008, and much to our happiness, ALL of these plants came back in the spring 2009 (thus this summer "hedge" of kale in the photo).

We now have plenty of kale to eat on a daily basis (still edible the second year although the leaves are not nearly as big) plus even the flowers and tender early seed pods are tasty and edible (I use them raw in salads). Perhaps cutting some flowers and early seed pods to eat stimulates the plants to produce more and more and more flowers and seed pods as there is clearly no shortage. In fact, the kale hedge is now nearly always flat on the ground in our garden from both the weight of the zillion mature seed pods and the flock of House sparrows that is always hanging out in the hedge, scattering in a hundred different directions in one big fluttering poof! when we walk up to our garden. I'm not sure if this raised bed will have a zillion-zillion kale plants growing voluntarily next year (or this fall!) or if the sparrows have been diligent and efficient in finding and eating all of the seeds that have fallen. I'll be sure to watch.

In any case, I think we have found one strain of this variety of kale that has the natural genetics to withstand the northern cold winter. It will be interesting to see how many years we can keep it going strong! I am collecting seeds now for a fall crop and also next spring.

(Photo: Kale with flowers and early seed pods - the spiky things near the center and on the right of the photo. The pods eventually dry and turn brown with the tiny black seeds just exploding out of the pod when touched, scattering to all corners of the garden unless you can carefully catch them into some type of container such as ziploc bag or even a garden hat!)

It's great to be back - where kale is still more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where have I been?

Two weeks without a new post begs the question. I am sorry to say that I need to take an open-ended hiatus from my blogs. My mother had a stroke on April 3rd, thus there has been no time to think about blogging. She is currently in a rehabilitation facility, but there are still many unknowns and many decisions to make.

I have LOVED blogging. I didn't know what to expect when I first started, but I have found that sharing my thoughts (both personal and professional) plus photos has actually brought me much happiness. So it is only because my time is needed elsewhere for the foreseeable future that I am putting all of my blogs "on hold".

Wherever you may be, enjoy the new life that comes with spring! I'll be back just as soon as I can be. :-)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, April 6, 2009

Research: Daily intake of Broccoli Sprouts Helpful

(Photo: Broccoli Sprouts)

Helpful for what? Good question!

A recently published article showed that feeding 70 grams (a little more than 2 ounces of broccoli sprouts daily for two months to 48 people with a documented infection of Helicobacter pylori (the bacterium known to cause stomach ulcers that may ultimately lead to stomach cancer) significantly reduced several bio-markers of both infection and inflammation. For comparison purposes, a control group was fed the same amount of alfalfa sprouts for the same time period with no beneficial changes seen.

This study is the first that has been done in humans documenting this beneficial effect, which is important in and of itself. However, the really important point is that the values showing the reduced inflammation and reduced infection returned to their original levels two months after the intake of the broccoli sprouts was stopped.

Now I would venture a guess that consuming 70 grams of broccoli sprouts daily is going to be boring if not difficult, and that statement is coming from a "fan" of all things Brassica! What this study does not determine is the minimum consumption of broccoli sprouts needed to produce this benefical effect in a daily diet or even as a weekly intake, nor does it demonstrate that other brassica foods containing a level of the presumed active compound(s) would not also be effective.

However, as I mentioned, the study clearly showed that daily consumption was beneficial, was not harmful, and that stopping consumption permitted a return to potentially harmful levels of molecules indicating both chronic infection and inflammation.

Broccoli sprouts are commonly available in most grocery stores, available from a couple of different sources. I am not "promoting" the purchasing of any one brand (i.e., I have no financial connection to any company that creates this product for purchase). In fact, there is information on one website that tells where to purchase the same seeds that company uses (same as those used in this research study), which I may do for home sprouting. In the meantime, I will say that I purchase broccoli sprouts regularly and use them on salads and in place of lettuce in a sandwich or wrap.

My bottom line: That should be easy to guess! Strive for daily consumption, i.e., 365 days per year, of kale (or other Brassica vegetable, including broccoli sprouts) to obtain a daily intake of delicious, cancer-fighting and overall health-promoting foods.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mustard Greens - oh yeah, they have a bite!

(Photo: Fresh mustard greens and chopped garlic)

I can't tell you how many times I have gotten to the Farmers' Market too late to purchase mustard greens from Brines Farm. My hand practically jumped out to snatch the bag I saw on their table last Saturday. I did contain myself from "snatching" but very happily put my greens in my market bag already thinking about what I would do with them at home.

I actually ate a good third of the leaves raw (I shared some with my husband so he could taste them raw before I cooked them), enjoying the punchy taste, slightly bitter but not overwhelmingly so.

I simply stir-fried them in a bit of olive oil with fresh sliced garlic and some roasted red peppers.

The leaves cook down a lot quite quickly, the whole bag was only two generous servings (of course I did eat quite a few raw before putting them in the pan!). The slightly bitter taste mellows out when cooked. It only has a little bite and was a perfect complement to baked fish and roasted potatoes with rosemary.

Like other Brassica greens, these are a great source of vitamin C, A, E, folate, potassium, manganese, calcium, and are a downright powerhouse for vitamin K (one serving containing over 500% of the daily recommended dietary intake) for all those important blood clotting and bone building functions.

There has been some very preliminary research evaluating the role of vitamin K in type 2 diabetes, with supplementation of vitamin K1 (the type found in mustard greens) able to reduce insulin resistance in older men (but not older women).
"Effect of Vitamin K Supplementation on Insulin Resistance in Older Men and Women”
Authors: M. Yoshida, et. al., , Diabetes Care, November 2008, Volume 31, Pages 2092-2096.

I'm heading back next Saturday to see if I can get there early enough for some more! I want to save enough to add to a fresh green salad, so the bitter leaves can become an accent.

Where kale (and other Brassicas) are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kale on the Radio! - Podcast is finally up

Remember back in February when I was invited to talk about the health benefits of eating kale on the radio show 101 Foods to Save Your Life? The podcast for that show also featured my friend Maggie Green, RD of The Green Apron Co. as a guest. Here is the link to hear the show (scroll down to February 28), and it is also listed on the side of the blog under "Blog Publicity".

Enjoy listening to our enthusiasm for eating kale!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scenes of Spring!


The season of dirty hands, knees, and paws has officially begun. These are some of the seeds I got at our local seed exchange yesterday (the brassica vegetables kohlrabi, watercress, and Chinese Broccoli or Candlestick Gai Lan, and endive, pictured plus green soybeans called edamame, Cherokee Cornfield dried beans, and black-seeded Blue Lake green beans, not pictured). So, since directions for planting kohlrabi say that seeds can go in the ground as soon as the dirt can be worked, I planted 2 short rows this afternoon in our community garden with more to be planted in a couple of weeks.

It seems I did not take a photo of my rows of kohlrabi after I planted them (not that it would look like much!), but I did take several other photos of our community garden today to give you an idea of the little plot of land that we love and care for. There were several other gardeners with perennial plots who were out to do some clean-up, planting, rejoicing and enjoying the sunshine plus the (relatively) warm temperature, while remembering that we set a record for the amount of snow during the month of March last year in 2008.


Baby turnips and greens from Brines Farm, Dexter MI, purchased at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market yesterday 3/21/09

Purchasing the little turnips and greens from Brines yesterday inspired me to look in my own garden for any possible overwintered turnips that were planted last fall. Well, ours are not as beautiful as Shannon's, and we have no real greens attached to them, but I was pleasantly surprised to actually find some small turnips in the ground that are intact and edible. We'll mix them with Shannon's for a yummy brassica veggie with tonight's supper.


Kaya, Garden Dog, surveying the garden from the one shady spot this afternoon. Once planting really begins, her 'indiscretion' about where to step with her heavy paws will mean that she'll either need to be on a "short leash" or left at home.

Earthworm quickly looking for a path back underground in the raised bed where the kohlrabi will be planted!

Garlic, two of our 309 cloves planted last fall, is peeking up! What little garlic we have left from last year clearly knows that it is spring as tiny green shoots are starting to form inside the heads we have stored in our basement.

Our bee box (no, not a bee hive) which provides shelter and an egg site for many of the other species of bees besides honeybees that are necessary to pollinate our vegetables.

Our overwintered kale (Red Russian curly variety). The kale that we put under a deep layer of straw made it through this long, cold winter. I did not take a pix of the other rows that did not get a blanket, but they are dead, dead, dead. These plants should all start growing soon and will ultimately flower and develop seeds to plant in the fall, starting the cycle over again.

I'm sorry the interesting rock did not look as beautiful in the photo as it did in real life. However, I was also interested in the feather lying next to it. When I began looking around, I saw many of these same feathers within close proximity to this one. Clearly some aspect of the circle of life, i.e., the food chain, happened in our garden or at least very nearby.

My favorite photo, even though it might arguably be the least beautiful. However, those viewing this who "know their birds" will be able to see enough to know that this is a Song sparrow and will also be able to hear its beautiful song in their head and heart. Nothing says spring is back like the beautiful song of the Song sparrow, nearly always sung from the tippy top of a small tree or shrub, right where this one was perching while singing its heart out looking for love just a few feet from me.

Ah, spring! More to come, much more in fact since it is only officially been Spring for 2 days. In Michigan, we savor each and every day that the daylight gets longer, we get more sunshine (and vitamin D), the air gets warmer, we can smell the earth, and more and more life reappears. We just soak it in!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate! It gets me outside to truly feel spring. :-)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Kale

(Photo: Arbor Brewing Company's Vegetarian Stew with Kale)

We got home from vacation Monday night and went out for dinner at Arbor Brewing Co., our favorite local brewery, knowing it might be a little 'crazy' if people were starting to celebrate St. Patrick's Day a wee bit early. Fortunately, it seemed just like a typical low-key Monday night, so we had plenty of time to peruse their menu (made of local ingredients as much as possible) plus chat with the greeter and our server. ABC's chef Nicole had come up with a vegetarian St. Patrick's Day Stew of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions topped with steamed cabbage and KALE (!!) plus some Irish soda bread that actually looked like it might have been made with whole wheat flour. It was a scrumptious supper, perfectly complemented with one of their own beers. The portion served was large enough that I ate only half in the restaurant, taking the rest home for lunch the next day. So the photo above is just the half portion I ate at home on Tuesday.


For our supper on St. Patrick's Day, we bought a tiny piece of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and kale, and following the suggestion of one this blog's readers, we mixed the kale in with the potatoes to make green mashed potatoes. We steamed the kale separately from the potatoes, cut the kale into small pieces in the food processor after steaming, and then mixed it in when mashing the potatoes (we add a tiny bit of homemade unflavored yogurt, olive oil, finely chopped fresh onion and fresh garlic to make our mashed potatoes). Yum, yum, yum! I forgot to mention that our home meal was also complemented by a home-brewed beer made by my husband; this glass was called "Mom's Phyto-porter".

(Photo: Green Mashed Potatoes, close-up)

Life doesn't get much better than this, either at Arbor Brewing Co. or our own home cooking and brewing. Green potatoes are perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but don't reserve this unusual combination for just one day per year. This recipe can be enjoyed anytime during the year.

Happy St Patrick's Day (one day late), where kale is a wee bit more than just decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kale is getting its due respect!

(Photo: Dried tomato risotto with added kale)

In addition to the flurry of kale recipes published in the New York Times last week, I was informed today that my tip "How to use Kale in your cooking, and not as garnish" was chosen for the 'Nutrition Month RD Tip' feature on HealthCastle.com for their 550k monthly readers. You may see what I had to suggest for both why and how to enjoy eating kale here. Although I did not mention adding kale to risotto in my tips that were published, you can see how easy it was to do in the above photo. In addition to adding a healthy ingredient, the recipe is now even more beautiful!

HealthCastle.com is the largest nutrition web site run by Registered Dietitians. It is voluminous and packed with easy to find and easy to read reliable information that will help you better manage your health through healthy eating, with a focus on preventive health. So check out what I had to say and then browse through their great website. I'll bet you'll find something of interest there that is helpful, healthful, and delicious!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's in kale? Pesticides

(Photo: Kale 2008, early season in our garden last year)

Oh dear, not good, not good at all! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just updated The Pesticide Shopper's Guide, a wallet-size guide that lists the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticide contamination (i.e., the "dirty dozen") and the 15 with the least amount (i.e., "the Clean 15"). EWG has been compiling data and releasing this helpful information for 15 years, and this is the first year that I believe kale has shown up on the "dirty dozen" list.

One kale sample had 10 pesticides (these were rinsed samples). We grow ours organically with no pesticides, and it grows robustly with minimal to no pest damage. I actually recently read an article that showed organically fertilized kale had higher biomass production compared to the plants grown with synthetic fertilizer plus the butterfly larvae (i.e., pests) grew faster on the kale grown with synthetic fertilizers. Soil fertility management and pest responses: a comparison of organic and synthetic fertilization. J Econ Entomol. 2009 Feb;102(1):160-9.

What is particularly helpful about this EWG list is the guidance it gives shoppers who need to prioritize their food dollars (really, who doesn't?) to choose to spend money for organic produce that makes a potential health benefit. This new worrisome information about the pesticide levels on kale, while being one of the healthiest vegetables to really give you "bang for your buck" in terms of nutrients and phytochemicals, is reason to look for kale grown by organic farmers, preferably crops grown locally to really maximize the retention of those nutrients.

Sounds to me like organic kale is the way to grow for numerous reasons!

In addition to printing out the wallet guide to summary of clean and dirty fruits and vegetables, here is the link to the full list of the 47 fruits and vegetables that were tested.

This information will have me thinking twice before I eat kale as decoration on my plate unless I know the kale has been grown organically.

Where organic kale is much more than just decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recipe: Diana's Spicy Greens with Bulgur and Tofu


I first tasted a recipe called Spicy Greens with Bulgur (Tchicha bel Khoubiz) last summer and was excited to see that the recipe was recently posted on the blog for the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. My friend Warda (who blogs at 64sqftkitchen and brought this dish for us to try last summer) has used many types of greens for this recipe. However, the original recipe calls for a variety of greens called khoubiz or bakool, found growing wild in the fields of North Africa, that tastes like a cross between arugula (rocket leaves) and watercress with a hint of acidity. Warda says there is no real equivalent for those greens here in the US, so she likes using a combination of spinach and arugula, which is a Brassica green, thus I have included this recipe on my kale blog.

However, I had a big pile of young, tender, and beautiful beet greens to use that I bought at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market last Saturday, which I certainly wanted to eat while they are still fresh and delicious. So I gave them a try in this recipe. Young beet greens do not add the same “bite” as the original recipe probably has, but the bright green leaves and deeply-colored red stems give the final recipe a gorgeous hue!

Why eat beet greens if they are not a Brassica vegetable, and so do not contain the health-promoting sulfur molecules unique to the greens like kale and its many relatives? Young, tender beet greens are both tasty and a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K (needed for healthy blood clotting and bone-building) along with the phytochemicals beta carotene (pre-vitamin A), lutein, and xeazanthin (all needed for healthy vision).

I made just a few adjustments to Warda’s original recipe.

First, I added some firm tofu to the mixture as a protein source to make it an easy and complete vegetarian (vegan) meal. I’ll bet that adding a small amount of cooked chicken to this dish would be tasty, too, and a tasty way to add a healthy amount of meat that complements a dish instead of being the main attraction. Any type of dried beans could have been added instead of tofu for another healthy, plant protein source, too.

Secondly, I used tomato-vegetable juice instead of broth and tomato paste.

Thus, with full credit to and inspiration from my friend Warda, I’ve changed the name from Warda’s mother's Spicy Greens with Bulgur to Diana’s Spicy Greens with Bulgur and Tofu.

Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp cumin, freshly ground
- 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- ½# extra-firm tofu, cut into small pieces ~ ½ inch cubes
- 3 cups tomato juice (low-sodium)
- 3 tbsp fine bulgur
- 1 bunch young, tender beet greens, including stems (roughly chop to equal ~4 cups)
- 1 tbsp cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Salt, Black Pepper

Method:
Wash the beet greens. Drain or shake off the excess water and chop roughly, including the stems. Set aside.

(Photo: 4 cups of chopped fresh, young beet greens)

In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook on a medium heat until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, if you have a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with turmeric, cumin, and pepper flakes to a paste; if not, chop garlic very fine and mix with spices.
Add the garlic paste or mixture to the onions and stir to incorporate.
Add the tofu pieces, stir to coat with the spices, cook a few minutes until starting to brown on some sides.

(Photo: Onions, spices, and tofu being sauteéd)

Add the tomato juice and bring to a boil.
Add the bulgur and beet greens. Stir again.
Lower the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook covered until the bulgur is tender, and beet greens are wilted but still very bright green, about 15 minutes, depending on the variety of your bulgur.

(Photo: Full recipe simmering with bulgur added)

Uncover the pan and add the fresh herbs to the sauce. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
Season with salt and pepper if desired. Taste sauce to determine if the “heat” is enough for your taste. If not, add some hot pepper spice of your choice for garnish and kick.

Serves 2 (generously, "cover the plate" servings) to 4 (as more of a side dish or lunch size serving as pictured in this bowl).


Serve with some whole wheat pita bread to mop up any left-over juices, a fresh green salad, and maybe some chilled fruit. The photo of this dish on the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers blog shows it garnished with crushed, hot chili peppers. You can decide it you want or need to add that. For my taste (and I do like spicy hot food) this dish was definitely spicy enough without any added chili powder as a garnish!

Warda says this dish keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 days, although she never recalls keeping it longer than one day. I don’t expect that it will last that long in my refrig either!

From start to finish, this recipe took only 30 minutes to make, which included all the chopping. During the time that the recipe was finishing up on the stove-top after adding the bulgur, I had plenty of time to feed our dog, empty the dishwasher, clean up the prep area of the kitchen, start to load the dishwasher up again, sweep the kitchen floor, sort the mail, and get the table cleared off ready to eat.

This is home fast food, tasty beyond delicious, ultra-healthy, and easy to make. The beet greens were the only ingredient in this recipe that is not part of my standard grocery store list and/or already on my pantry shelves. Pick up some available greens soon at your favorite place to purchase locally-grown fresh produce and enjoy this delicious dish!

Where kale (and also beet greens) are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Recipe: Kale Chips

(cross posted from my dianadyer blog on August 3, 2008)

In the Dyer home, kale has long been more than just decoration on a plate. In other words, here's what to do with kale that just keeps on growing!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I ate kale chips for the first time at the Ann Arbor Lady Food Bloggers picnic. They were SO delicious that I just knew they would become a regular way that we would be eating kale in the future. I have already made them 3-4 times in the past month since I first tasted them.

I am still using our garden grown kale that was planted this past spring. It's now early August - I thought the kale might be done or bitter by this point in the summer, but it's all still growing with the young leaves very tasty and tender. Our one short row is a mix of the curly green kale that you see most often in the grocery store or as the ubiquitous decoration on a restaurant plate plus some flat varieties like red Russian kale. Fortunately, our resident garden groundhog does not seem to bother the kale (however, it has devoured most of my beans, including all the heirloom seeds I brought back from my trip to Monticello - can you hear me crying?)

Enough intro and/or rambling! On to the recipe and directions.

Kale Chips

Take a large bunch of kale leaves and trim off any tough stems (save the stems to later make soup stock). Wash the leaves, shake off excess water, tear the leaves into "chip size" pieces. A leaf the size of my palm would make 2-3 pieces.

Put all leaves into a large bowl. Sprinkle ~1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar over the leaves then add ~1 Tbsp. olive oil to the leaves. Next sprinkle with dried herbs or spices of your choice. Twice now I have used a few shakes from a bottle of a salad mix called Rocky Mountain Seasoning from The Spice House in Evanston, IL given to us by good friends. Use your hands to thoroughly mix and coat the leaves with the vinegar, oil, and seasoning.

Spread the kale leaves in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. I have used a sheet of parchment paper to make clean up easy, but just a spray or bit of additional olive oil on the cookie sheet also keeps the leaves from sticking to the cookie sheet.

Heat the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until the leaves get crisp. They will wilt at first but then start to crisp up. The color of the kale leaves will darken from a bright green to a deeper green. I do carefully turn them with a spatula after about 10 minutes and usually bake them for a total of 20-30 minutes. I check them often at the 15 and 20 minute marks to make sure they do not burn. Serve right away or they are also very very good at room temperature. In each case, a full cookie sheet of kale leaves was eaten in one sitting by two people (either by my husband and me or our younger son and me).

If I ever have any extra kale chips, I will try saving them in an airtight container to eat later as chips or even crumbling them into small pieces to use as an interesting salad addition or topping.

See the empty plate? All gone! Please let me know if you try eating kale this way and if you and your family enjoy it.

Kale is an excellent source of calcium and along with the other plants that belong to the broccoli family is power-packed with phyto-chemicals that promote general good health plus being a terrific cancer "phyter". I actually try to have so many fresh vegetables from this family on hand in my frig that I eat at least 1-2 servings from this power group daily (yep-daily!) as part of my efforts to increase my odds for long-term cancer survivorship. If you plan to always have kale available and you have the oven going for something else, it only takes a few minutes to prepare the kale chips according to this easy recipe to bake at the same time.

To get ready for planting our fall crop of kale, I finally collected the seed pods today that developed on the one plant that wintered over last year. I could see some of them had finally popped, scattering the seeds in the garden and the garden paths, and many more seed pods were also "ready to go".

Did I have anything with me specifically in which to collect the pods so that I could find those itty-bitty seeds again if they popped on the way home? No, of course not. So I simply put them into my garden hat, which worked quite well! By the time I got to the parking lot and the car, many of the pods had popped by themselves with the tiny black seeds now sitting nicely in the bottom of my hat (see photo - thank goodness this was not a straw hat as I am sure these tiny seeds would have fallen through).

When I showed the small seeds to a young woman who was in the parking lot at the community garden, she said it seemed like a miracle that such tiny seeds produced our vegetables. I couldn't help but smile and agree!! and ask if she had read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which the author Barbara Kingsolver so eloquently describes the many miracles that unfold every day from the hard work of those who grow and produce food either for their own table or for us to eat.

The next time you're at a Farmers' Market, please thank the farmers for their hard work and the many miracles they have brought to market!

Where kale is definitely more than just decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

The following 7 comments were imported from the August 3, 2008 posting:
Kateri said...

I'm making this tomorrow! Thanks for sharing. I have so much kale in my garden right now.August 3, 2008 11:53 PM

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm so glad you posted this, Diana - I didn't pay enough attention when Victoria was talking about making them. I'm very excited! August 4, 2008 11:44 AM

kim said...

Hi Diana
I learned about kale chips from Deb at Tantré. They are my most favorite way of eating this incredible vegetable. I might love kale chips even more than potato chips, which, for me, is saying a lot. :) Thank you for posting the recipe - I think everyone should know about kale chips!!!
KimAugust 5, 2008 1:35 PM

TeacherPatti said...

Victoria's kale chips were awesome! (So were Kim's fried sage leaves,come to think of it). Something I'd never think to do on my own, and oh so good!!!, August 5, 2008 6:42 PM

anne said...

I am now sold on kale chips. Thanks for the post and recipe.
Anne, Charlotte, NC, August 20, 2008 1:12 PM

Faye said...

Yum - just made my first batch - thank you, Diana! August 24, 2008 6:36 PM

Dunrie said...

Mmmmmm!
Kale is my new favorite, and Ed pointed me to your blog.
I tried this kale chips recipe from Bon Appetit, but I like your idea to add herbs/spices.
Definitely trying this. March 7, 2009 9:25 AM