Friday, June 17, 2011

Kale Chips

Kale chips are all the rage these days.  Who knew something so good for you could actually taste like something sinful?

Kale is a superfood, full of beta-carotene and folic acid, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.  It's also a low-carb and high protein vegetable.

Tossed in heart-healthy olive oil and generously sprinkled with kosher salt, kale is an excellent replacement for potato chips when you have a craving for something crispy and salty.

Note that the kale will really shrink down during baking, so if you're in the grocery store and you think you could never eat that big bunch of kale, think again. Enjoy!

Kale Chips

Olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farhenheit.

Take off lower stems and tear kale into smaller pieces (maybe 2-3 pieces per kale leaf).  Rinse and dry in a salad spinner or using dishtowels.  The kale needs to be mostly dry to crisp up properly. Put in a bowl large enough to hold the kale and toss with olive oil until the leaves are coated.  I use my hands to toss the kales leaves.  Add a generous sprinkling of kosher salt to the top portion of leaves, toss, and add salt again to the new top portion of leaves.  Toss again and taste a kale piece.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary. The kale should taste potato chip salty.  If you like it less salty, that's fine too.

Lay out on a baking sheet, put in the oven, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the kale is dry and crisp.

Use several baking sheets if you have a lot of kale. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Basil-Zucchini Pesto Turkey Patties

Liz the nutritionist put me on a Candida diet earlier this week.  Like other diets, this diet shuns carbs, sugars, and processed foods in favor of proteins, lots of vegetables, nuts, and low-sugar fruits.

Liz recommended that I have cooked turkey patties on hand, so that if I got hungry, I would have something readily available.  I don't think I've ever eaten a turkey burger in my life.  I don't much like turkey, but I decided to try to make a turkey burger that would pass muster.

Poultry-based burgers can be dry.  When I make chicken meatballs, I use bread, milk, and egg to keep them moist, but under the diet, I cannot use bread, milk or cheese.

I decided to try a riff on a cheeseless pesto, and add onion and zucchini.  Onion and zucchini have a lot of moisture, and I thought the addition to the meatballs would keep them turning into hockey pucks. I also added a little fresh lemon zest for a bright note.

Success!  The turkey burgers were moist and flavorful.  Great for a snack or for a meal.

Note: A Cuisinart or other food processor makes quick work of making the pesto.

Serving ideas: Serve with a salad.  Make meatballs to put in tomato sauce or glaze with honey-dijon sauce and serve as appetizers. Make burgers. Put on skewers, grill on serve with a cucumber yogurt sauce as part of a mezze platter.

Basil-Zucchini Pesto Turkey Patties

1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey or chicken

1 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 zucchini)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup basil leaves, firmly packed
1/4 cup parsley leaves, firmly packed
2 handfuls walnuts or pine nuts
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8-1/2 tsp. Lemon zest, grated (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil

In Cuisinart, shred zucchini first. Take out of bowl and set to the side. Put onion, garlic, basil, parsley, nuts salt, Italian seasoning, freshly ground pepper and lemon zest.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add in zucchini.

Pulse while adding olive oil through the top until it's a paste, and pesto mixture is sticking on the sides of the bowl.

Put ground turkey in a bowl and evenly distribute the pesto throughout the meat. Mixing with your hands is the easiest.

Make into patties and place on a baking sheet.  I made them into 2 oz. patties, using a large scooper, but you can make them any size (meatballs, turkey burgers, etc.).

Heat of skillet to medium-high and add a little olive oil when it's hot.  Turn down the heat and add the patties. Cook until cooked on the edges and opaque in the center.  Flip over a cook a couple more minutes.  Depending on the thickness of your patties, they will take shorter or longer to cook.  The patties I made took 2-3 minutes per side, but if you're not sure, cook a test one and break it open to make sure it's cooked and your timing is good.  Then you can cook the rest.

You can also cook these on the grill.  If you made meatballs, you can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning them every ten minutes.  Again, this depends on the size of your meatballs, so you should check them to see if they cook faster.