Friday, June 28, 2013

Norham Kale and Garlic, Purple Mashed Potatoes

I never ate kale until the past two years. It was popping up all over the blogosphere as an amazing health food trend. It's a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and calcium. Research indicates that this combination can help prevent cancer as well as reduce cholesterol. Plus, a friend of mine swears up and down that it's great for losing and maintaining a healthy weight.  Though those are all great reasons to eat kale, i didn't know any of them!

Our greens were in need of a little spruce up so at the recommendation of a co-worker (thanks MP), I decided to give baked kale chips a shot. They were an instant hit! After several other fantastic recipes like kale with sweet potato, it slowly became a weekly staple. It's a pretty merciful vegetable and has great taste. I'm not sure how to explain it... some say it's bitter but I never got that impression. It plays nice in the kitchen and pairs well with most savory dishes.

One evening, it was a "everything but the kitchen sink" type of feeling. I threw a few things together and came up with a dish the hubby (tee hee... hubby) and I call "Norham Kale." It's quick, easy to make, and healthy (just don't go crazy on the sausage!) Never would I expect a primarily veggie dish would be such a beloved meal in our home! There are only a handful ingredients involved: kale (regular or baby leaf), red onion, chicken sausage (go with the least amount of sodium), honey crisp apples, olive oil, red pepper, garlic, and black pepper. That's it. Not terribly wild! Feel free to toss other veggies in! I think of it as a warmed salad.

If you're looking for a little starch to balance it out, may I recommend purple mashed potatoes? Purple potatoes are very good for you as well! They're packed with antioxidants. It seems anything that's red or purple is beneficial to blood pressure. They're very similar to red potatoes in flavor and texture. 

Hope you enjoy these simple noms!

Norham Kale

5 ounces Kale or Baby Kale
1 honey crisp apple, thinly sliced
1 chicken sausage link, chopped into quarter width slices
1/2 red onion, sliced 
1/4 cup olive oil
couple cloves finely chopped garlic; we love garlic!
crushed black pepper and red pepper to season

In a small bowl, pour olive oil. Add the finely chopped garlic, a generous amount of black pepper, and some red pepper for heat. Give it a good stir and set aside.

Set the oven broil (high). In a 9x13 baking pan, line bottom with chopped sausage. Broil for about 3 minutes and then flip. Let it cook for an additional 3 minutes; you want that juicy flavor of the sausage as the base. Remove from oven. Add the kale, apples, and onion to the pan and toss carefully (don't touch the pan, it's still warm!). Drizzle enough olive oil to give a very light coat to the kale. Too much olive oil, and the kale becomes soggy. Return to oven and let it broil for another 5 minutes. It's done with the apples have softened and the kale is tender. Ready to go!

Garlic, Purple Mashed Potatoes

1 small bag of small, purple potatoes, halved (about 2lbs)
head of garlic (yup, the whole thing), chopped
1/2 teapsoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
generous amount of black pepper

In a medium pot, add the halved potatoes. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the chopped garlic and salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Cook until the potatoes are tender and easy to crush, 15-20 minutes. Pour potato mix into strainer to discard water. Immediately place hot potatoes in a deep serving bowl and add butter. Mash until softened; add 2 tablespoons of cream/milk. Continue to mash. Add more cream/milk until reaching desired consistency. Season with black pepper. If you're a real garlic lover, add a little dried garlic!