Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kale and Hemp Pesto

It seems that everyone is touting the benefits of Kale!  With many Americans suffering from various forms of chronic disease, this nutrient dense cruciferous vegetable is the supper food of note.  This strongly anti-inflammatory green has the greatest antioxidant capacity of all fruits and vegetables in addition to being an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C. 

Kale is a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and potassium.  If the benefits could not get better, it is also low in calories; one cup of raw kale is about 33 calories. 

With all of these great health benefits, I thought I'd make kale pesto for friends but I wasn’t satisfied to make it the traditional way with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.  One of my friends does not consume dairy so I left the cheese out. if you want you could use nutritional yeast for the flavor of cheese. Instead of pine nuts I used hemp, which is very high in protein. Therefore, if you want to have this with just pasta and vegetables, the hemp would supply protein.  
Kale and Hemp Pesto

2  cups raw kale, firmly packed
1 bunch parsley leaves
3 cloves raw garlic or 6-8 cloves of roasted garlic
½ cup hemp
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Olive oil

Add first three ingredients to food processor.   

Drizzle olive oil in while processing until kale reaches a pesto consistency
 I served it with buckwheat pasta and cod oreganata.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spring Fiddleheads

Fiddlehead ferns are a sure sign that spring has arrived.  These, tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the fern family plant, grow wild in the Northeast.  The fern is a clump forming (like an ostrich plume), seasonal plant, which typically grows in well-drained, moisture rich under shady environments.
Their harvesting season is very short and should be done before the fronds unfurl.

Nutritionally 100 grams of ferns contains 120%  Daily Allowance of Vitamin A and is very rich in Vitamin C. 

I tend to prepare them quite simply, being careful not to mask its delicate flavor.  If I had to describe the taste, I would say that it was somewhere between an asparagus and a green bean with the slight texture  purslane.   
If that sound a bit confusing, I recommend just buying it and trying it.  This is how I prepared it.  And  Oh….by the way… They are not cheap.  I paid  $8 for 8 ounces which is two servings. 


8oz Fiddleheads
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Fried shallot (optional)

Bring a medium size pot of boiling water and salt to a boil in order to blanch the fiddleheads ( the water should taste salty like the sea)
Cut off the brownish tip on the ferns
Prepare a boil of ice water to shock the ferns after they come out of the boiling water
Add ferns to boiling water
Let boil for about 3 minutes
Shock in ice water
Preheat a medium sauté pan with olive oil
Drain the ferns and add to the hot pan
Sautee for about 5 minutes more, then add butter.
Sautee for 2 minutes more or until ferns are tender but not mushy
I garnished with fried shallots but they are just as tasty on there own
Serve immediately.