Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is kale on that pumpkin?

I think it might be! I didn't look at the video, just the picture posted up, but kale hair looks like a fun way to dress up a jack-o-lantern. I sure wish I had thought of that!

Where kale is not only on my plate but should be on my pumpkins, too!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Friday, October 28, 2011

Two haikus - Just for fun!

Morning without web
Time for creative cooking
Kale, of course, and more

Thank goodness we had power, even if we did not have internet access! So I made a variation of my Garlic Sweet Potato Kale Soup recipe, using ingredients by memory (i.e., what's in the refrig and on hand in the pantry), plus including several types of recently made broths combined into one big pot.

I doubled the broth, but not the other ingredients, added about 2 cups of coarsely chopped savoy cabbage and about 1/2 cup of chopped stems from the tops of celeriac with a few of the strong tasting leaves. 

One of my broths was deliberately spicy, the other very green (having used a gigantic handful of parsley stems). The soup ended up quite spicy even without any added hot ingredients, so I actually added just 1 teaspoon of our honey at the very end, something I have never done. That was just enough to 'mellow' the bite of the soup. 

I let the sweet potato cubes simmer gently for about 10 minutes before adding the cabbage and chopped kale, letting them cook only a few minutes so they still had crunch and color (hmm, the phrase 'crunch and color' has a nice ring to it) in the final soup.

Last night a young friend temporarily living with us looked at our dinner plate with large servings of the Kale-Cabbage Gratin, asking 'What's that?' followed by 'You eat the most interesting food here!'. Yes, I know we eat differently than many (even most) people, so much so that I also know that our food is sometimes 'so interesting' that I am hesitant to make extra of what we eat to take to friends who need meals. However, I know that this soup recipe I made today will be well received and interesting but not 'too interesting', thus two large containers are already set aside to take to two friends currently in need of meals who certainly think I have forgotten them.

Although I came up with a great soup without access to my favorite recipes this morning, this experience did give me a fleeting thought that maybe I do need to follow-up on the urging of several people over the years to do my own cookbook. Even if I had had all my recipes downloaded onto my hard-drive or onto an E-book reader, I would not have needed to rely just on my memory this morning.

Food for thought, in my 'spare time' - hahaha. :-)

This slowing down thing
What is that? I am not sure
A full life is life

Oh dear, that last haiku just popped out, my third one today (I'm posting the first one I wrote today on my blog). Something must have re-wired my brain or found an opening into a place long hidden. I think I'd better quit now.  :-)

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recipe Reprise - Kale and Cabbage Gratin

A reader recently posted a comment that she ate kale for the first time in her life with this Kale and Cabbage Gratin recipe, even though she has been a life-long vegetarian. In fact, she's so smitten with this dish that she says she is going to make it weekly! I think I could eat it weekly also, and she inspired me to run to the Farmers' Market this afternoon to buy some cabbage plus some more kale since I did not think I had enough to make the full recipe.

I made a few changes from the original recipe:
1) I used much more kale this time even though I did not weigh it. I also used Red Russian kale instead of the Lacinato kale and did cut off a good 1-2 inches of thick stems from the bottom of each leaf. Otherwise, I just cut in horizontally into narrow strips.
2) I grated a large carrot into the vegetable mixture - I could have used two carrots!
3) I use a savoy cabbage, which was very sweet and mild
4) I added 1/4 cup of coarsely ground flaxseed to the 1/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs to cover the top
5) I did not have any feta cheese but I did have some sharp cheddar that my husband bought last weekend at a farmers' market in Lafayette, IN, that was USDA organic from 100% grass-fed dairy cows and not dyed orange - yum, yum, yum, just the best!!!
6) I already had brown rice cooked and in the refrigerator, knowing it would get used somehow this week. 
7) I used a large 9x13 dish, similar to what I would use to make a full recipe of lasagna.
8) I doubled the amount of garlic, especially in view of my recent post about the beneficial increased anti-cancer effects from the garlic-kale food combination. :-)

Using modifications of your own, I think this Kale and Cabbage Gratin could easily be a 'weekly recipe'.

 (Photo: Full recipe of Kale-Cabbage Gratin, not cooked yet)

(Photo: Close-up of Kale-Cabbage Gratin before I added the bread crumbs and flaxseeds)

Plenty for supper (with whole grain bread and our homemade wild grape-applesauce) and plenty for lunch left-overs, too. 

Where kale (and other Brassicas plus garlic) is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Garlic and Kale - together at last!

My husband and I were invited to do a 'garlic tasting' and food pairing at a local coffee shop that enjoys educating its customers about coffee and other foods. We chose 4 very different tasting garlic varieties for tasting raw plus a wide selection of simple foods to taste between each variety, both as palate cleansers but also as a flavor-pairing.

There were two surprise 'hits' for the flavor pairings, the first being toasted unsalted almonds paired with a type of garlic that has a 'sweet finish' (Romanian Red) and the second being kale (we used the lacinato kale from Seeley Farm in Ann Arbor).

Lo and behold, today I found two scientific articles showing increased cancer-fighting activity when molecules found in garlic and kale were paired together. They are cell studies, not even animal studies, but they point to the facts that (1) our foods are filled with molecules that have 'bio-activity' and (2) this wide array of molecules consumed together, even at very low dietary intake levels, is likely to enhance (i.e., increase) the effectiveness of each individual molecule, which is called synergistic action.

So "All hale kale with Dick's 'Pretty Good!' Garlic"! That's too long for a bumper sticker, but you can catch our enthusiasm for kale and garlic, paired together.  And you may even find our farm on Facebook now - look for The Dyer Family Organic Farm/Dick's 'Pretty Good!' Garlic. :-)

(Photo: Garlic tasting at The Ugly Mug in Ypsilanti, MI)
Where kale (and garlic!) are more than decoration on our plates,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just for fun - Kale quotes and t-shirts

My kale blog photo shows me holding a water bottle with an Eat More Kale sticker on it. Somewhere I know I have at least one photo of me wearing my "Eat More Kale" t-shirt, a Mother's Day gift from one of my sons a few years ago. However, until I find it to post up, here is a great quote from the EMK website:

"There are two types of people; 
those who eat kale and those who should." 
~~ Bo Muller-Moore 

And just to show you what this phrase and t-shirt company has inspired, here is the winner and a few of the favorite rhymes from a contest held recently by the Seattle P-I newspaper:

“Oh the joy of eating the super food kale; massaged, braised or boiled, it never gets stale”

So many great rhymes submitted.  A few favs include:

The nature-lover response “it keeps me happy, more dolphin than whale!” from Nadine.
The socialist response from Dana, “I’ve got enough to feed all those folks in jail.”
Ms. Science, Carolyn, completes the rhyme with  ”Renewing my mitochondria so I’m not frail
The straightforward consumer response, “Oh the joy of eating superfood kale, I want a t-shirt in the mail” from Lori.

I confess, I love the one about renewing my mitochondria, :-) and I might have also added 'building bones'!

Where kale is a super food, not decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Food, not pills - again!

A recent research publication once again has showed that consuming Brassica or cruciferous foods (i.e., in this case broccoli sprouts) is superior to ingesting a dietary supplement (i.e., pills) that contains a precursor to a bio-active molecule found in cruciferous foods but also lacks the necessary molecule that is needed for the enzymatic conversion of the pre-cursor molecule to active molecules.

Food, not pills. Food, not pills.........I've said it before, so I'll say it again.

I still eat 5-7 servings/week of Brassica vegetables, some raw, some very lightly cooked (i.e. still crunchy). This is the season to really enjoy the wide variety of these delicious vegetables.

Let's see what have I eaten during this past week already: arugala, kale (of course), mustard greens, turnips, kohlrabi, broccoli, bok choy, daikon radish, and there are still two days still to go!

The Linus Pauling Institute has a great website that is always up to date with its information about Brassica vegetables.

I love food, not pills, just in case you did not catch my drift! :-)

Addendum (2.28.2012) - I just found the link to the actual PhD thesis from which the data for this research publication were derived. The important tidbit I gleaned from skimming through the thesis is  that one serving/day of the cruciferous food consumed was enough, safe, and recommended to maintain a steady and effective level of anti-cancer molecules in the body.

Where kale is still more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, October 3, 2011

What to do with turnips!

Do you have too many turnips, from your garden, from your CSA box, from a 'so-called' friend? Is even one turnip too many?

I don't know if this is a novel idea, but using turnip slices to 'carry' some salsa or guacamole works just fine as a munchy appetizer while waiting for the rest of supper to be made and surprisingly, actually tastes great!

Hmmm, I can hear it now - 'tastes great!', 'less filling!', 'tastes great!', 'less filling!', ad nauseum......sorry about just fell out! :-)

Seriously, when pulled while still small, and sliced thin when much bigger, turnips are an alternative tasty way to eat other delicious and health-promoting Brassica vegetables just in case you might get tired of eating kale or more likely, not have any kale on hand.

(Photo: turnip slices with salsas, guacamole, and slices of heirloom tomatoes)

Where kale (and a turnip slice) is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD