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Chat Leftovers: A Bale of Kale

Yes, there's kale in here, and it doesn't seem so threatening when it's surrounded by cheese, eggs and crust. (Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)

As always, Wednesday means another Food section chat. Join us at 1 today, and bring your appetite for asking questions that are so fabulous, they’ll win you a prize.

Our special guest chatters: Dave McIntyre, who honchoed the wine tasting, and David Hagedorn, whose Real Entertaining column today is about putting on a farmers market dinner party.

Though we give it our all, we always have leftover questions we couldn’t get to. Here’s one from last week.

Washington, D.C.: I’m in a community-supported agriculture program (CSA) and keep getting kale in my bag. No one in my family — which includes my husband, two sons (ages 4 and 7) and an 18-month-old girl — is convinced that it is actually edible. I really like veggies and will eat pretty much anything. Can you offer up a foolproof, kid-friendly, delicious kale recipe?

With children, and I guess with some adults, the easiest trick to getting them to accept kale is . . . to hide it.

Recipe Included

Yes, hide it. As in, chop it up and mix it into meatloaf, meatballs or burgers. That advice comes from Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, who’s also a mom who likes to feed her children plenty of healthful vegetables.

A slightly less sneaky approach would be to slice it into thin strips to be stirred into soups, or sauteed and added to pasta sauces. In other words, use it as you’d use spinach, but in smaller quantities, to allow for its more assertive flavor.

True, that’s not going to use up a lot of your CSA bounty, but it’s a start, and you might be able to convince your kids that the kale won’t bite them.

You might also try the following recipe from Sedgwick. It’s a lot like a quiche, and kids do like crust. Tell them you’re having pie for dinner, and see what happens.

— Jane Touzalin

Feta and Kale Tart
One 9-inch tart (8 servings)

Here, kale is used in a tart in much the same way spinach would be used. Feta balances its strong flavor. The tart is wonderful just out of the oven or reheated the next day. After that, the taste of the cooked kale becomes a little strong.

1 unbaked pie crust (for a 9-inch pie)
8 ounces curly kale (tough stems discarded), rinsed well
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup whole or 2 percent milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces (1 cup) crumbled feta cheese

Roll out the single-crust pie dough; press it into a 9-inch pie plate, a tart pan or a springform pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and cook for 30 seconds, then immediately drain the kale into a colander. Squeeze out as much water as possible. As soon as the kale is cool enough to handle, coarsely chop it and set it aside; there should be 1 cup. Add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of a medium skillet. Heat over medium-high heat, then add the diced onion. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the chopped kale and a pinch of salt; cook for 1 to 4 minutes or until the excess moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat, then add the dill and parsley, stirring to combine.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together in a large mixing bowl, then add the cream and stir to incorporate.

Combine the cornstarch and milk in a measuring cup, stirring to mix well, then add it to the egg-cream mixture in the bowl. Add pepper to taste and the nutmeg, whisking to combine.

Scatter the kale-onion mixture over the prepared pie dough, then evenly distribute the crumbled feta over the vegetable mixture. Pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the tart is set and the crust is lightly browned. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Per serving (using whole milk): 276 calories, 7 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 135 mg cholesterol, 338 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

By Jane Touzalin  |  August 19, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Free Range, Jane Touzalin, kale  
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Next: Preparing for Wine Judgment Day


Best use for kale is caldo verde - google for a plethora of good recipes. Of course this is really more a cold weather soup/stew than August heat. But you may be able to make some and freeze it.

Posted by: Sam888 | August 19, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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