Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kale Blog Shout-out

Michigan has many women food bloggers, and when some of us first actually met face to face instead of just via the internet, we created a common name for ourselves, The MIchigan Lady Food Bloggers (MLFB for short). We also slightly changed Michigan's state motto "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you" to create our group's own motto "If you seek a pleasant recipe, look about you..."

We do have a group blog, but primarily we each post on our individual blogs. Currently I believe there are 106 members from all over Michigan. I have met many of them (not all) and have many of their blogs (again, not all) listed with links on the left side of my blog at www.dianadyer.com.  I enjoy reading what many of my Michigan blogging friends are cooking up and writing about (it is just amazing how completely different we all are!), and I'll just bet that the group blog has the links to each of our members listed for you to explore. Someday, I'll have to dedicate an afternoon to finally visiting each and every one of our MLFB group's blogs. 

In the meantime however, I am honored to have this blog given a "shout-out" in an article written for the Washtenaw Community College faculty, staff, and students entitled "Swapping Sugar". I don't use a lot of sugar in recipes on my kale blog, but I sure like the title and agree with the concept.

I learn a lot from these new friends through-out Michigan, and yes, I really did use my connections in this way to help my new daughter-in-law's family find a caterer in their part of Michigan who was both enthusiastic and experienced with a wide array of outstanding vegan options for my son's wedding reception this past August. Currently, I am using this same network of friends to help with the planning of the cake and food for my older son's wedding in 2011, too. 

I'll just bet that you will be able to find food bloggers (men and women) who live in your state, too, many of whom are highlighting locally-grown foods and recipes that are traditional for your locality. If you cannot, then maybe you'll be the first to start one and you can pick your own food and topic(s), a narrow focus like this kale blog or a very wide variety of interests like my www.dianadyer.com blog! 

Happy reading, cooking, and eating to all my readers, and maybe happy writing, too. Please let me know if you have a blog! And if you are a lady food blogger from Michigan but not yet on our list, the group's main blog has instructions for joining. 

Thanks for including my blog in your article, Brian!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, December 13, 2010

Micro-kale to Macro-kale

Shopping at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market last Saturday (brrrrrr), we stopped by the table for the farm called Garden Works where we are long-time purchasers of their delicious sunflower shoots, which we first ate when we lived in Madison, WI way back in the mid-70's. Earlier this year, we tried their pea shoots and were just 'wowed' with how delicious they are and how much these shoots really taste like fresh young spring peas! The link will show you a large sample of the many beautiful and delicious vegetables they sell throughout the seasons.

Last Saturday, something new caught my eye, a plastic container with a tiny hand-written tag on top of it that said "micro-kale". In essence this is the kale-sprout equivalent of broccoli or alfalfa sprouts that you might see for sale in the grocery store.

(Photo: Micro-kale purchased from Garden Works, Ann Arbor, MI)

They are the Red Russian variety, as you can just see a hint of their red stems. They are delicious, tender, and sweet with just a touch of the kale taste. I have added them to a salad and used them as a green layer in a tofu (marinated and then baked with Ann Arbor's own Clancy's Fancy hot sauce) sandwich.

(Photo: Micro-kale sprouts, close-up. You can easily see their red stems. Most just have their first round leaves, but a few have tiny little lobed leaves that you would expect to see in the Red Russian variety of kale.)  

Now, contrasting the term "micro-kale" with the term "macro-kale", which admittedly a group of friends just made up as we sat around a table talking and laughing about a wide variety of big issues in life at a birthday celebration last Saturday night. So every time I do a post in the future that is of an "extraneous nature" but somehow connected to kale, I'll think of the term "macro-kale"! The term gives me a new perspective and lots to think about and mull over, one of my favorite things to do, besides growing, cooking, and eating kale. :-)

Where kale (both micro- and macro-) are much more fun than just being decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sweet Potato-Kale Patties - version 2

I see that I already have one example of sweet potato-kale patties on this blog, using lentils as a base. Those are so scrumptious that I actually entered the recipe in a sweet potato contest! (No, it didn't win or even get mentioned with the finalists.) However, because I so seldom actually "follow recipes" and love simply using what ingredients I have available, here is another similar recipe that is a delicious variation using what was on my pantry shelf and refrigerator and counter-top.

• 1 cup of dry whole-wheat cous-cous - add 2 cups boiling water to cous-cous and let sit ~15 minutes to absorb all liquid while preparing other ingredients, drain if necessary before adding to final mixture
• 1 small bunch fresh lacinato kale - remove stiff stems and then finely chop leaves (may use food processor - I ended up with a rounded cup of chopped leaves, but the amount is flexible)
• 2 medium size sweet potatoes - cooked and peeled and mashed with a fork
• 1/4 onion, finely chopped
• 1/4 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
• 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (may chop onion, garlic, and pepper together in food processor)
• 2-3 eggs (I used 3 medium size eggs)
• olive oil - smallest amount needed for pan frying

1) Mix all ingredients except olive oil and mix thoroughly
2) This amount of mixture made 20 patties for me, using a large heaping tablespoon of mixture for each patty. They could be made using teaspoons, too, for many more appetizer-size patties.
3) Heat in skillet over medium high for a few minutes, until brown on one side, then flip to cook on the other side, flattening slightly with spatula.
4) Brown on the other side, then set aside in low temperature oven until all are cooked.
5) Can be frozen and then reheated best in a toaster oven so they don't get soggy. 

These are delicious and all the vegetables could definitely be both seen and tasted. If you wish to add any seasonings, just experiment with small amounts of your favorites such as curry, hot pepper flakes, chopped fennel seed, etc etc. I actually prefer to complement these patties with a bit of applesauce, mustard, chutney, or even unflavored yogurt if additional flavoring is desired.

Serve with any main dish, soup, or even as a sandwich filling. They taste great heated on a toasted whole grain bun or in pita bread with a bit of lettuce or sprouts!

I used locally-grown kale, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, and eggs!

(Photo: Sweet Potato-Kale Patties - version 2)

(Photo: Sweet Potato-Kale Patties - closeup - can you see the sweet potato chunks, the diced red pepper and red onions in addition to the kale?)

Yum - wow these are good - cooking them makes the house smell wonderful! Enjoy this treat yourself from mostly locally grown vegetables still available at many late fall farmers' markets. Yes, in spite of our recent frigid cold and snow, it is still Fall! Please go and support your local farmers who are still coming (and shivering) at your local market!

Where kale continues to be more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD