Tag Archive: Kale

  1. Kale, Apple, Ancho Chili Tamales

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    The mouse is dead. I repeat, the mouse that has occupied my kitchen for the past four months has finally cycled into another existence, hopefully as a squirrel or more savory varmint far away from this address. A few nights ago Shaun and I were laying in bed, almost asleep, when we were startled by the sound of crinkling, crackling, and nibbling in the office. The office, I’m telling you, which is upstairs and about a million Shaun-sized paces from the kitchen. I jumped out of bed and barreled down the hall in my underwear, shaking my hands in the air hollering “Mark my words, this is it! (expletives) This is your last night!” I reloaded and repositioned every  trap in the living room, dining room, and kitchen with gobs of peanut butter and brie (as it was suggested, a Happyolks mouse might have advanced taste). At work the next day I got a two word text message from Shaun around 3 pm, “Got him,” two glorious day-making words, and I proceeded to gloat to every co-worker who had been following my persistent rodent woes since October. Do not cross a girl chasing a mouse in her underwear. She means business.

    You see, it’s finally a new year now. 2013 started on January 17th here in Denver. I have conquered the mouse and I am quite certain that I will now be able to conquer anything that the year has in store. Broke as as joke? Psh, What else is new. Pimples and wrinkles? BRING IT. Stolen bike? These legs are good to walk, skip, and run. I went to bed that night, in a mouse-less house, struck with sudden desires to learn to drive a stick shift, take a self defense class, ask to be compensated for my work, and generally be more spontaneous and kick-butt. Heck, I thought, if I can kill the smartest mouse in the history of mice, I can probably take a stab at croissants, tamales, mole, merengue, kombucha, and other seemingly terrifying cooking projects with style. 

    So… in the three days since the mouse was evicted I got a nose ring, dropped three grand on airfare to Chile, and made tamales, with kale and apples, which, for the record, are totally not hard and you should try immediately. You will feel like Joan of Arc and go on to make crazy-wonderful and empowered decisions in your day and year.

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    Kale, Apple, Ancho Chili Tamales 

    Masa

    • 4 cups Masa Harina
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tbsp mexican oregano
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 3 cups warm water
    • 1 cup melted coconut oil

     

    Filling

    • 2 bunches lacinato (dinasaur) kale
    • 3 cups shredded mixed mexican cheese
    • 1 fuji apple, small dice
    • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
    • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 fresh jalapeno, minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
    • 1 tsp chipotle powder
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • Juice of one lime

     

    Plus

    • 20 dried corn husks
    • Sauce from here.

     

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    Directions

    First thing is first, submerge corn husks in a deep bowl with boiling water and allow to soften for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I use a heavy jar of coconut oil to keep the husks from floating. In a large bowl combine masa, baking powder, oregano, and salt. Mix together warm water and melted coconut oil and pour over masa mixture, stirring until a dough forms. Set aside and cover.

    In a large cast iron or heavy skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent but not browned. Add the ancho and chipotle powders and the juice of the lime. Stir and let simmer. Remove spines of the kale and roughly tear leaves into the onion mixture on the stove. Stir in apples, fresh jalapeno and salt. Cook until the kale is wilted and apples are tender. Remove from heat, mix in cheese to melt.

    For the assembly of the tamales, create an assembly line of bowls with the masa, husks, and filling. Place one softened husk on the cutting board or counter and fill with dough. I didn’t measure, but I’d estimate I used +/- a 1/2 cup of masa mixture per tamale. Press dough into the face of the husk leaving an inch or so dead space around the perimeter. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Don’t sweat it. Spoon a bit of the cheesy kale mixture into the center of the masa platform you’ve created. I think I used more like 1/3 cup of filling per tamale. None of them are the same size or shape, just go with it. Wrap like you would a book-shaped gift, fold over the right side then the left, overlapping the edges. Flip up the bottom tail and place seam-side down on a plate. Repeat until you have filled 15-20 tamales, depending on how full you stuff them.

    To steam the tamales I used a large pot with the pasta-colander attachment, although I have read and heard about steaming racks that can be placed in caserole dishes and the like. I imagine you could easily use a pop-out vegetable steamer in a deep pot or even a rice cooker, too. Place all the tamales in the basin of the vessel with the seam sides down. Cook for 45 minutes.

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  2. Cherries + Fennel + Lentils

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    Summer storms are a new indulgence for me. Cozied in a reading chair by our front window I tend to my journal and a cup of cold tea. Torrents of rain bear down on the front walk and I visualize a release of stagnant memories, ideas, and beliefs being carried down the road with the leaves to the storm drain. Shaun is in the Domincan Republic, filming, and I sit alone, silent at my perch, letting the explosive energy of the passing thunder reverberate in my bones.

    Thoughts pass, yet nothing lingers. I experience an excess of calm amidst the raging weather and am reminded, again, of my smallness. I am a speck of matter and energy in this massive, bursting earthplane of people, places and dreams.

    During my months living at sea, I used to spend hours gazing upon the open ocean, begging the waves to teach me their humility and sense of time. Years later, in this chair and the throes of a summer storm, no begging is needed. I am both humbled and grateful for the gift of an unrushed hour to my afternoon. Tears form, then a smile. For the first time in a long time, I actually believe it will all be okay. 

    Tomorrow my morning walk will smell of fresh ideas, resolve, and renewed opportunity, the rain will have cleansed the world of todays mistakes and made space for all that can, and will, come next. Exhale.

    // july 6

    Cherry, Lentil, Fennel Salad 

    • 1/2 lb red cherries, pitted and halved
    • 1 small bulbs fennel, shaved
    • 4-5 small red beets, chopped
    • 1/2 cup de puy lentils
    • 2 giant handfuls of baby greens (kale, chard, etc.)
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 1 tbsp fresh basil, julienned
    • 1 tbsp fresh mint, julienned
    • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
    • salt/pepper on hand

    I’m going to make these instructions short and sweet, a salad is as salad does folks. Boil lentils for 20 minutes. Remove. Rinse. Cool. Set aside. Steam sliced beets for 10 minutes. Rinse. Cool. Set aside. Finely slice fennel and place in a small bowl. Douse with salt and massage with hands. Let sit for 10 minutes, rinse, drain. Pit cherries. Set aside. Toast pumpkin seed under the broiler for 2-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.

    In a large bowl combine basil, mint, shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir. Pile in cherries, softened fennel, steamed beets, and lentils. Stir to coat. Cut in Avocado. Toss with greens (probably should use your hands to get everything good and mixed/coated). Top with seeds, salt, pepper.

     ** Sharley and Caroline, this one’s for you ladies. Thank you for sharing your kindness and light with me last week.

  3. Guest Post from “The First Mess”

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    I had the pleasure of meeting Laura through her blog over the summer and was instantly captivated by her honesty, authenticity, and food philosophy. There is a light about her too, the kind you gravitate to, the light that makes your heart feel full. I’d like to call her a friend in real life, one day. At her blog, The First Mess, Laura shares seasonal recipes that are accessible, and full of gratitude. When she sent over the writing, recipe, and gorgeous photos for today’s guest post, I had to resist an urge to make a second trip to Whole Foods for the day and pick up some dill for this recipe. This is the kind of thing I could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your passion and light in this space…

    keep reading…

    (more…)

  4. A Seat at the Table

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    My parents never arranged a separate kid’s table and a grown-ups table during holiday meals. The youngsters ate what the adults ate and participated in the same rituals of passing the biscuits, hoarding the gravy, and holding each others warm, eager hands in gratitude for another meal, another year in good health and humor.

    Such a simple act of inclusion, a seat at the table. An act of affirmation, really… You, yes you, young one, have a unique and important way of looking at the world.  There is so much to be grateful for during the holidays, but a seat at the table has been a gift I’ve probably undervalued until lately.

    Respect was a reciprocal value in my house growing up – give respect, receive respect. Our opinions and perspectives were encouraged but more importantly, my parents invited us to the table and then they listened. They had enough respect to sit with us and walk alongside us in our crazy ideas. I know better now, as I’ve aged, that some people never get a seat at the table, no matter how old they are. I get it now. I’ve been on the outside, I’ve seen and felt what it’s like for youth to be dismissed as naïveté. Even now when I don’t get “a seat at the table” (figuratively speaking) I remember this. I give thanks for this. What a gift it is to for people to take us seriously.

    Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the table is there at every moment of each day to sit, stand, walk beside someone and give them room and respect to speak their truth. Through the rest of the year who will you invite to a seat at the table? Invite them. Just sit there. Really look at them. Hear their story. Reach out to the younger folk in your clan too – see them, affirm them. They’ll remember.

    This turned out to be much more festive than I first anticipated while wandering the aisles at the market today. I imagine it would make a great holiday side, but an even better weeknight meal turned sack-lunch. If kale isn’t your idea of a party dish, try spinach instead.

    Pomegranate + Kale + Pearl Onion Orzo 

    • 1 large bunch of kale (or two, if you’re a go-getter)
    • 2 pomegranates
    • 2 cups pearl onions
    • 2 shallot bulbs
    • 2 1/2 cups orzo

    Olive Oil + Orange + Honey Dressing

    • 1/3 cup good olive oil
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • juice of 1/2 an orange
    • 1 tsp raw honey

    Bring 2 medium-large pots to a boil with a bit of salt. In the first pot, boil pearl onions for 7-10 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, then remove skins. Set aside. For the second pot, boil orzo with a splash of olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove, strain, but do not rinse.

    Break open pomegranates one at a time, massaging out the seeds into a large bowl. Pick out the little white fibrous bits as you go along. This  can be a bit messy for the first time pomegranate handler, wear an apron! Alternatively, you could purchase pom. seeds in the produce section of your grocery. Once finished, return to the onions. to remove skins, cut off the bottom stem portion and peel the rest with your fingers. Cut in half and toss with the seeds in the big bowl. Finely dice the shallots and stir with the seeds and onions.

    Rinse out the onion pot and bring another bit of water to heat. Remove kale leaves from the tough spine and chop until very small bits. Not quite a mince, but a good chop. When the water is almost to a boil, immerse the kale and blanch for no more than 1 minute. Remove, strain the water, and toss with the pomegranate, onions, and so forth.

    Slowly stir in cooked orzo, 1 cup at a time. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, salt, orange juice (a little pulp is great too), and the honey. Pour over the entire bowl and stir again to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.