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recipe collector...civil engineer...cookbook devourer...looking to share cookbook & recipe reviews and my real-life kitchen dramas as I re-engineer recipes ...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Free Thursday Part II: Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins

Happy Three Free Thursday, Blog Readers!   To recap the process, on the first Thursday, I select three free recipes from sources on Twitter.  On the following Thursday, I report back via blog entry the full results of my adventures in the kitchen and let you know if you should try these recipes at home. Enjoy!

Recipe: Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins
Attack of the killer kale!
Source: @Sur_La_Table
Link: http://ht.ly/3Sxyp

People tend to have very strong opinions about kale.  They either shudder at the thought of this slightly bitter, nutrient-filled leafy green or delight in its chameleon-like ability to blend seamlessly into many dishes from savory soups to hearty side dishes.  I knew that some of my readers would skip this blog entry about healthy kale and move directly on to the double chocolate chips cookies - that's fair.  Still, I grew up on kale and it holds a special place in my heart as my Portuguese paternal grandmother's incredible cooking once featured a thick, flavorful kale soup.  The Portuguese are renowned for their kale soup recipes - a mix of kale, potatoes, beans and chourico (Portuguese sausage) - and a winter month never passes without my mother or I crafting a tasty Portuguese Kale Soup for the entire family.

Surprisingly, in my decades of experience with kale, I'd never tried Tuscan kale.  A flat-leafed kale that resembles collards, Tuscan kale is slightly more expensive than traditional curly green and red kale and more difficult to find in standard grocery stores.  I tried this recipe with both Tuscan kale and a mix of curly green/red kale.  The results were rather similar, however the mix of curly green/red kale was much more attractive when plated.  Feel free to substitute any type of kale available at your local grocery store or farmers market into this recipe.


Go easy on the garlic! My one complaint with this recipe was the three full cloves of garlic minced and incorporated into this side dish were a bit overwhelming.  To limit the intense garlicky flavor in this side dish, don't add minced garlic.  Instead, crush garlic cloves and toss them into the oil for 1-2 minutes to infuse the oil with garlic flavor.  Remove cloves prior to adding the kale and you'll enjoy the essence of garlic without  the intense after-taste of garlic and ensuing dragon breath.

Once you tone down the garlic, this is a delicious and healthy side dish.  The raisins add a surprising sweet note amidst the slightly bitter garlicky kale and the pine nuts add a nice crunch.  If you are allergic to or severely opposed to pine nuts, omit them or substitute other nuts (like toasted walnuts or pecans).  This side dish works well topped by a simple chicken or pork entree and is an excellent way to get your vitamins in the depths of a dark, cold winter. Enjoy!

  • Mix up varieties of kale - curly green and red kale mix is readily available, less expensive and more visually appealing than Tuscan kale.
  • Serve immediately - leafy green side dishes wilt and compact quickly as they cool down. 
  • Replace golden raisins with dried cranberries for a new twist on this side dish.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Thanks for reading Part II of this week's Three Free Thursday! Feel free to send in recipe suggestions for Three Free Thursday on Twitter to @RecipEngineer or by e-mail RecipEngineer@gmail.com

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