Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A New Queen of Green

I have always considered myself a Swiss chard kind of gal. I love the buttery, soft texture of those delicious greens and "rainbow" chard is in a class of deliciousness all by itself. keeping with turning over some new leaves in 2010, there is a new Queen in town and it is kale. Oh my gosh..I ignored Her Majesty for so long! Ms. Kale looked rather unruly, curled up and stubborn...kind of like the my own head of hair that I have to deal with every morning. Who wants to deal with that in a food, too? Then, one day, I got a taste of a lemony kale and avocado salad and I was hooked, absolutely hooked...addicted, really and have been eating platefuls of it almost every day for two weeks. candy or even ice cream, which for me is like saying, kale is almost its own food group!

Since my kale discovery, it has been kind of like wearing red and noticing everyone else who is also wearing red because now I am seeing all sorts of wonderful sounding kale recipes...soups, frittatas, quiches, and more salads. Here is a new one I gobbled up last night.

Queen of Green Salad

2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped kale (select fresh, tender-looking leaves)
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese (no dye, please)
1/2 cup roasted, cubed butternut squash (any winter squash is good here or sweet potatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Grated pecorino or other hard cheese (optional and to taste)

Toss together kale, almonds, shredded cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Place on 2 plates (or 1) and garnish with grated pecorino cheese. Savor every bite! Can serve 2, but I am making no promises there.

Oh, and while we are on "new leaves" for the new year, there are a couple of changes to this blog. I will be offering vegetarian recipes only and so now it is a "less wheat, no meat" blog and I also hope to expand on the "green-ness" with other tips for healthier people, healthier communities and a healthier planet. Have you got any to share??

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are you booked?

No, I don't have any excuses at all. I have been at my green table plenty, but just not writing about what's gone on there. I have a couple of favorite blogs I read and one writer has been AWOL for months and I keep thinking, "Where is she?" Then, a couple of you asked me the same question! And so, here I go...

Over the holidays, one thing that I promised to do for myself was read more books. I often sit at the table and drool over cookbooks and scan magazines and newspapers, but it is also a pleasant place to read in general and I have missed a lot of great books. The first thing I set out to do in 2010 was get a library card. Funny...I am a card-carrying regular at my parents' library but not my own and so that was the first biggie for the new year and I got my official CALS library card today!! I just finished Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and it is a wonderful read about the struggles of providing "options for the poor" in Haiti and chronicles the work of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health. Visit his website to check out the work his team is doing.

Next, I read a book my son gave me and it was one of the toughest reads ever. The book is Eating Animals by Jonathan Sofran Foer and it is a bombshell read about how the animals we eat are raised and slaughtered. I thought I knew the gist, but boy...the devil really is in the details. As a result of reading Eating Animals, I have made some significant changes in the way I will shop, cook and eat from now on. Without giving away the heart of the book, he asks the reader a stunning question.
One recent night, while I was sitting around my green table, reading, I also cooked this soup. The aromas are very stimulating and the flavors lingering...qualities deliciously in keeping with a great book.

Book Lover's Garlic Soup

15 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and minced (no kidding!)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage or 3-4 fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups of water

Bring this to a gentle boil and then cover and simmer for about 40 minutes. The house will be quite fragrant!! After 40 minutes, remove bay leaves and pulse in a food processor if you want a smoother soup. I skip the pulsing part.

Next, whisk: 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg*. Add in a generous cup (about 1 1 /2 ounces, grated) of Parmesan Reggiano cheese or a mixture of parmesan and shredded gruyere. Whisk in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and some fresh black pepper. Then, add some hot garlic broth from the pot to the egg yolk mixture, stir well and then slowly add a little more hot liquid and then pour very slowly into the main soup pot. Whisk continually so that it doesn't curdle. This last part is a little tricky. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve: toast a thick slice of rustic bread and break it up into the bottom of your soup bowls. Ladle soup over bread and sprinkle with more cheese, if you like. Makes about 4 cups of soup.
* If you can, please get your eggs from a farmer you know so that you can see how the hens are cared for.