Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?
Let me tell you why we do.
First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.
Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?
Edamame Spaghetti with Kale Cilantro Pesto
Carrot Ribbons, Toasted Coconut, Fried Ginger
Compare this Edamame Spaghetti to common pasta and you will be amazed. Generally, dried pastas have 5 to 7 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. This spaghetti – made exclusively of organic edamame (green soybeans) and water – has 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving.
The nutritional facts are hard to believe, until one realizes that this spaghetti really isn’t pasta at all, but soybeans masquerading as noodles. And as it turns out, beans make a super substitute for wheat flour to make those noodles. Edamame spaghetti’s taste and aromas are mild and pleasantly vegetal in nature, and the tooth is delightfully chewy. Love the natural green color, too.
I dress the noodles with kale cilantro pesto – the kale and almonds in the pesto adding their fair share of nutrients. Inspired by edamame and its Asian roots – I add toasted coconut for a little crunch and its toasty exotic flavor and a few shards of one of my favorite garnishes – fried ginger – which brings an unexpected zing to the dish. Raw carrot ribbons add color, texture, and more nutrients. This is definitely a feel-good pasta dish – one that is organic, naturally lower in carbs, and gluten-free to boot. Win.Win.Win.
85th Academy Awards Governors Ball Menu Kale, Grilled Artichoke, Radicchio, Pine Nut, Golden Raisin Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
With 19 Oscar menus under his belt, Chef Wolfgang Puck has created another inventive bill of fare for the 85th Academy Awards Governors Ball including old favorites, signature smoked salmon creations, and several fashionable new dishes. This year’s menu includes many vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as items like Kobe Burger with Aged Cheddar & Remoulade and Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle. The Chef shares his menu in photos on a page called “A Taste of the Oscars”here. (Check out those Huckleberry Macarons!) But it was the vegan Kale Salad that immediately caught my attention ~ bright winter color and various textures pair with smoky artichoke and a sunny sweet Meyer lemon vinaigrette. I served the salad as a meal, unlike at the Governors Ball, where some 30 to 35 dishes will be served as small bites to over 1600 people.
And The Oscar Goes To:
Raw kale is a bit chewy and not exactly tender, so it is best sliced thin, taking care not to press down and bruise the beautiful curly edges. Mildly bitter and peppery radicchio is also thinly sliced. I used fast & fabulous packaged grilled artichoke hearts from Monterey Farms which are available at Whole Foods Market. Without a recipe, I prepared this salad from the photo ~ tossing kale with radicchio, artichoke hearts, lightly toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The plate was garnished with a few Meyer lemon wheels and a sprinkling of nuts and raisins.
Organic Kale with Dried Cherries & Shirataki Noodles Garlicky Chili Lime Dressing
I’m not usually a fan of those free food samples at the supermarket. Seen too many “grazers” with poor manners and questionable hygiene, I suppose. But every once in a while, when there is a conscientious host passing out tastes of a unique offering, I might give it a try, as was the case this past weekend at Whole Foods.
A charming older woman was enthusiastically portioning out little cups of this interesting raw kale salad. It turned out to be an outrageous combination of flavors and textures, so fresh and bright, with an unexpected umami note. I put a bag of her shirataki noodles in my cart, and went home to create a salad inspired by that sample.
Tuscan Kale Soup Artichoke Hearts & Chicken Sausage Chicken Broth with Flavored with Fennel Seed & Red Chile Flakes Served with Toasted Ciabatta
Back in January, a recipe for “Italian Chicken Sausage and Artichoke Soup with Chard” in Sunset magazine caught my interest. Over the past months I’ve added onion, garlic, fennel seed, and red chile flake to the original recipe. And sometimes substitute kale for chard. My procedure is quick and easy, and the synergistic result far exceeds the expectation of boxed chicken broth and canned artichoke hearts.
In less than a half hour, this soup is on the table. I’ve served it as an everyday meal, as a starter to a rustic dinner topped with ricotta salata, and as an elegant first course. This year my Thanksgiving menu has a lighter aura, so this Tuscan Kale Soup will replace the heavier puréed soups of the past.
Mushroom, Barley, Kale, Carrot in a Rich Roasted Turkey Stock
The weekend after Thanksgiving is always bittersweet: memories of a magical week spent with family mix with a bit of sadness that we won’t be seeing each other for a while. Over the past few years it has become a ritual to make a comforting soup with the rich turkey stock while I wash piles of sheets and towels, store all the huge pots & platters, and put away the turkey decorations including “Albuquerque the Turkey” and “Plymouth Rock” until next year.
See ya next year Albuquerque!
The stock was made by simmering the turkey carcass in filtered water with rough chopped carrot, onion, celery, and a couple bay leaves. Two and a half hours later, the stock was strained, cooled, and refrigerated over night.
Remove any fat from the stock then add rinsed pearl barley and cook until the barley is al dente, about 45 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile sauté sliced mushrooms in olive oil with thyme until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. In a separate pan, sauté 2 parts sliced carrot with 1 part each diced onion and celery in olive oil with some minced rosemary until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add vegetables to the barley soup and simmer another 15 minutes. Add torn pieces of Tuscan kale (center ribs removed) and simmer until the kale is tender. Adjust seasoning and serve with red pepper flakes on the side.
Since the kids have already left by the time I boil the carcass, I save this year’s wishbone for next year’s wish. I let it dry out then tuck it into a plastic baggie and store it with the rest of the turkey decorations, to come out at our next Thanksgiving meal.