Kale, Kale, Kale!

I received an email from my dear friend Monica yesterday asking what to do with her abundance of kale. As I was typing up an email full of ideas… I realized it it was a great opportunity to share the recipes I love on here. So, whether you find yourself having an abundance of kale, none (like moi), or simply wish to incorporate more into your diet, here are some ideas to get you started or keep you going!

My favorite way to drink kale is in a green juice (scroll down to see a few “daily green” variations). Hands down my favorite green to throw in the juicer.

Another option is to add to smoothies. The green peppermint smoothie is a tasty treat on a hot day and a great alternative to a minty milkshake. Adding a handful of kale to any smoothie will pretty much do the trick. If you find it to be unpalatable, add some more sweet fruit such as peaches, bananas, or apples. Another green smoothie I like comes from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie and I would just use kale in place of the spinach.

In addition to drinking kale – I love chowing down on this stuff. SO, so good. I love it so much I eat it straight up, I can just munch my way through a kale bed. But most people prefer things to be flavored and prepared, so here are some tasty salads and chip ideas.

Kale Chips

There are so many different ways to prepare kale chips. You can use either a dehydrator or your traditional oven. I have done both and prefer the dehydrator but the oven works does the job just as well!

Preparing the chips can be done in the same for both oven & dehydrator.

Begin with lots of kale. To prepare two baking pans of chips in the oven, I often bring in a entire shopping basket full of kale from the garden. It shrivels up quite a lot, so don’t be shy!

Rinse kale (easiest way to do this is fill a big bowl with cold water – or your sink – and gently wash the kale in the water. Remove from water and shake off water, pat to dry). Roughly chop kale. In large bowl, add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, and other preferred spices. Add kale to bowl, use hands to coat kale leaves, and spread evenly onto baking sheets or dehydrator sheets.

If baking in an oven: bake at 325 degrees Farenheit for 20-25 minutes. Remove when crispy.

If using the dehydrator: Most recipes call for 12 hours at 105-118 degrees. Basically leave in there until crispy!

Eat right away. I can never seem to keep these longer than a few hours after they are prepared as they become soft and wilty.

Oil, salt & pepper are a great basic recipe. Adding chipotle powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, cumin, curry, garam masala are all great options. Here we love lots of nutritional yeast and some unlabeled spicy powder that resides in the spick rack. Some great lideas include Sun-dried Tomato Cheezy Kale Chips from Oh She Glows and Spicy & Cheesy Kale Chips from Eating Bird Food.

Curried Kale Salad

This recipe comes from Rebecca’s friend Mary. She made it at our farm’s summer solstice potluck gathering and it went SO fast. A delicious and quick salad.

Wash a bunch or two of kale and de-rib leaves. To de-rib kale, hold at the base of the stem and tear the leaf right off. Thinly slice kale.

Dressing ingredients:

6-7 fresh dates
4 tbsp Braggs aminos (tamari or shoyu)
1 inch fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp curry
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Combine dressing ingredients in blender. Mix and massage dressing into kale for a minute or two until the kale has wilted.

Below are some other great recipe ideas… some that I’ve made and some I have yet to. Once the kale is back in full swing around here I’ll be able to enjoy in these myself.

Sunshine In A Bowl from Peas & Thank You

Summer Kale Salad from The Nourishing Gourmet

My friend Greg from the farm makes a delicious Honey Mustard Dressing that was my staple dressing for kale salad. Greg & I both cook without measuring devices, we basically eye ball everything and taste test along the way. So what I learned from him is to combine ~1/2 C olive oil, 1/4 raw honey, 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard, and either a touch of water or apple cider vinegar. Combine in a blender and massage into a bowl full of chopped kale. Sprinkle on sesame seeds, raisins and/or walnuts.

Hope this inspires you to enjoy some kale! There are hoards of great recipes ideas online. I am always looking for new ideas, particularly those that are others favorites, so do share if you have a favorite! I’m patiently awaiting our plants to grow back!

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Gazpacho: An Ode To Summer

 

With so many tomatoes and cucumbers continually on hand, gazpacho has become one of my favorite things to make, in part due to the handy Vitamix. I can go from having an entire cutting board full of vegetables, to a big bowl of soup ready in under 10 minutes. Gazpacho is an easy way to eat more fruits (remember, tomatoes are fruits!) and vegetables.

Here again I don’t have any clear cut measurements. I tend to just grab a bunch of items and toss in the blender. The combinations however are delicious, so consider this inspiration at least. I never salt my foods because a) I prefer minimal salt & b) salt is easy for everyone else to add to their preference. Preparing foods sans salt opens up a window of opportunity to enhance flavors with herbs. Try it!

Cucumber & Radish Gazpacho

4-6 cukes, peeled
1/2 cup red onion or 3 scallions
1-2 cloves garlic
4-5 radish
Handful fresh cilantro
~4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
~2 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper

Toss roughly chopped cucumber into Vitamix and blend for 2-3 seconds until cucumbers are well blended. Add in onion, garlic, radish, cilantro, oil, lemon juice, and seasoning. Blend for a few more seconds until all vegetables are well blended. Adjust to taste.

Tomato & Cuke Gazpacho

This one goes something like:

Lots of ripe tomatoes, de-stemmed, quartered and tossed into Vitamix until full. Blend until soupy.

Add in:
1-2 large cucumber
1 small red onion or 1/2 large red onion
5 radish
1 generous handful of fresh basil
1/2 handful fresh cilantro
~4 tbsp olive oil
~1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper

Blend some more and you’re done. Garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, sour cream/yogurt or a few slices of avocado if they are readily available for you. All these flavors will go wonderfully together. Blend in a substantial amount of yogurt or whipped avocado and you have yourself a tasty gazpacho dip!

Enjoy!

Beet Hummus!

The rain gods have blessed us yet again! We’ve actually had a few straight days of rain and it has been incredible. The cooler temperatures, clouds, and rain have brought on a subtle sense of fall. I am slightly eager for cool, brisk fall days and of course, fall harvest! Pumpkins, apples, winter squashes, brussels sprouts, cider, and the return of arugula! Can’t get too excited quite yet as it is still mid August. Tomatoes, sweet corn, beets, and carrots will have to do ;)

In the past week Lola Jean has made her beet hummus three times and it is quite possibly one of the best hummus’ I have ever had (aside from Mark’s from Everdale and Prasino’s). It is a delightful switch up from the typical chickpea hummus and the beets give it a subtle sweetness which is always a way to please my palate.

Beet Hummus

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. beets* – washed, peeled, and cooked until tender
2 tbsp tahini
5 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 clove garlic
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp lemon zest*
Salt & pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together in food processor and pulse until smooth. Adjust to taste.

*Red or golden work well. Golden beets make it a bit sweeter than red
**Original recipe called for zest but was not included (lemons are really prominent in these parts)

Enjoy with fresh cut veggies, pita, on burgers or sandwiches.

Bon appetit!

And This Is Only the Beginning…

These two came to visit two weekends ago and it was fan-freakin’-tastic to have them here. I love they had the chance to experience first hand the beauty of Whole Circle. We shared three lovely days together – 2 nights at the farm and 1 at a bed & breakfast near Niagara on the Lake – right in the heart of wine country. Saturday we spent the day exploring Toronto and ended with an evening with guitars and singing back at the farm.

Sunday morning we woke up early to milk before heading to Niagara Falls early in the afternoon. After the Falls we toured three wineries in wine country, two of which are the only certified biodynamic in Canada. Below is a snapshot from our spread at Southbrook Winery before we ventured to Ravine Vineyard. We sampled a good amount which led to buying more bottles than anticipated… ha, whoops! I’m not complaining.

Sunday evening we enjoyed a long and tasty dinner at a lakeside farm-to-table restaurant in the small town we spent the night. I talked their ears off about all the great things I’m learning up here, the amazing people that have come into my life, and my million ideas. They filled me in on all the things happening back at home in Illinois, our farm, and things I’ve missed with friends & family. Being without a phone here has me somewhat out of the loop – but I try my hardest to play catch up every once in awhile.


After my parents left it was back to work, work, work…. and play! Courtney, LolaJean and myself attended a Full Moon’s Women Circle Wednesday evening to celebrate the full moon in the presence of women of all ages. We sang, shared stories, and honored the beauty of the moon cycle. I found it quite fitting that while I was sharing my story with the group, a hummingbird flew into view at the other edge of the porch. In Native American culture hummingbirds are regarded as the bearers of joy, life, and love (and it happened to be the first one I’ve seen all year!). What I happened to be sharing with the group at the moment the little bird flew into my view, was how strongly I had been feeling my Grandma’s presence the past week. I felt her strongest at my acupuncture/Reiki a few days prior. It was an incredibly powerful, healing session – I left knowing my Grandma’s spirit is very much a part of my present life that is so rich of joy, life, and love. To say I  feel life stronger now more than ever would be an understatement. My heart, my soul, literally feels like it’s shining from the inside out. All this excitement has my brain exploding with ideas. And this is only the beginning…

Thankfully for you, I have a DIY recipe to share, to spread some inspiration from my exploding brain. Katie actually inspired me to make this toothpaste – which now has me wanting to brush my teeth four times a day. No joke. I look forward to waking up and going to bed just to brush my teeth. I swear I am normal.

DIY Toothpaste

Combine equal parts baking soda and coconut oil in a small glass jar with a wide lid. To begin I started with 4 TBSP of each. Add in a few drops of essential oil of choice: spearmint, peppermint, fennel, etc. I choose peppermint. Optional few drops of liquid stevia extract if desired. Mix well and there ya go! How easy, quick, and cheap. Your teeth will never feel cleaner and your smile will be brighter, promise!

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In other farming related news – we’ve been hit hard by colorado potato beetle and flea beetles. We lost most our potato crop, field peppers & tomatoes, and we had to strip the kale down this week (darn flea beetles destroying my favorite food!). But we harvested gorgeous carrots and red onion in their place Tuesday. Looking forward to fresh carrot juice soon!

I finally worked through my hesitation to feed the pigs alone. Times have changed and I now look forward to chores by myself. The pigs are still crazy but I guess that is what I love about them. Because if they weren’t crazy, there wouldn’t have been that challenge for me to work through.

Rebecca is back at the farm after spending a week recovering in Toronto from an injury. Even though she cannot join us in the field for awhile, it is great to have her back with the family!