Recipe / Braised Kale + Roasted Chickpeas

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Rich, creamy braised greens and tahini meet their perfect partner with crunchy, smoky roasted chickpeas. I’ve been totally crushing on chickpeas this month. Some evenings i’ll casually leave a cup of dried garbanzos soaking. Some mornings I just wake up, open a can and see what happens next. It’s just me and you,  fiber-rich, protein-packed little legumes. What will this day bring us? (hint: better blood sugar regulation and lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol)

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It’s definitely been a good year for kale and at the brink of over-exposure, it still rules as one of the most versatile and reliable greens. It’s hearty enough to be the star of the entrée and healthy enough to play a supporting role. Keep greens interesting by switching up your cooking technique and finding inspiration from classic flavor pairings. Tahini and chickpeas (humus anyone?) are old friends, a great place to start a beautiful dish.

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Think about braising as a day at the spa for your favorite superfood. At the end of the day, your kale will still be vibrant green, relaxed, and ready to give you all it has to offer. Relying on heat and moisture, braising is the middle ground between sautéeing and steaming. Be careful not to overcook your greens, too much heat for too long and you’ll lose nutrients and end up a with lifeless mushy mess.

Ingredients / you might already have these on hand

2 bunches of kale – 1 lacinato and 1 tuscan

1 yellow onion

5 cloves of garlic

juice of 1 lemon (no more than 3 tbsp)

1/4 cup tahini

1 can or 2 cups cooked organic chickpeas

1 tbsp smoked paprika, pimenton la vera

1 tsp cumin

3 tbsp olive oil or high quality grapeseed oil

 

Directions : Easy as 1-2-3-4

Part One : Roasting the Chickpeas

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Drain and rinse one 16 oz can of organic chickpeas. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp pimenton de la vera (a smoky spanish paprika), 1 tsp cumin. Thoroughly coat the chickpeas adding more pimenton if necessary.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and roast chickpeas for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  They should be crunchy but not blackened.

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Part Two: Braising the Kale

1.  Wash and de-stem kale. Hold the base of the kale stem and run your fingers along the spine to easily remove leaves. Lay leaves flat and chop. I used a bunch of lacinato kale and a bunch of curly kale to create a more dynamic flavor and consistency.

2. Dice onions and thinly slice garlic.

3. In a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven, warm olive oil or high quality grapeseed oil. Add in onions and garlic. Sweat out until translucent, about one minute.

4. Add in kale. Sautée for a minute or two allowing all of the leaves to get contact with the heat momentarily. You might have to do this in increments if your pot is not very large. Season with salt, pepper or red chili flakes.

5. Add in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer immediately.  Cover and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Remove lid and let any remaining liquid steam off. About 3 minutes.

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Part 3 : Making the Dressing

1. Combine lemon juice and tahini. There should be slightly more tahini than lemon juice or else it taste too acidic. Experiment, taste, and trust your palate to create the perfect balance. 

2. Whisk together until creamy. You might need to add a little water or sesame oil to get it to your ideal consistency. Finish with a few turns of  a salt mill.

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Part 4 : Creating the Dish 

1. Toss braised kale with spoonfuls of dressing. Combine well and add in more until desired creaminess is reached.

3. Serve in individual bowls topped with crunchy chickpeas. Don’t toss the chickpeas with the kale too much, you want to keep their crunchiness. Creamy and crunchy together at last.

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From Scratch / Wild Rice + Mushroom Ricausso

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Ri·CAU·sso 

: A dish so good I had to make up a word to describe it.

: A deliciously creamy way to make a simple, dairy-free risotto using whole grain rice.

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of risotto? Cream, butter, cheese, a sore wrist (from stirring, c’mon)? With RiCAUsso, roasted and whipped CAUliflower mimics the rich texture of slow cooked starchy aroborio-based risotto. It’s a shortcut of sorts, but it allows you to use wild rice which is high in protein, calcium, vitamin A and iron. This means you get all the good-for-you without sacrificing the good-flavor-mmm.

RiCAUsso was inspired by an evening in the woods with only cauliflower, wild rice, mushrooms and a bottle of white wine at our disposal. Culinary inspiration often comes from limitations. A cold night upstate with good friends and only a few ingredients available had me craving rich, rustic and warm.

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Comfort food warms you in the moment with it’s fatty, creamy texture but often leaves you feeling a little uncomfortable in the morning.  By substituting difficult to digest dairy for fiber and antioxidant-rich cauliflower, RiCAUsso is a healthier way to feel warm and cozy from the inside out. 

Ingredients/You only need these

1 head of cauliflower

4 cloves garlic

3 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini)

3-4 sprigs of fresh or freshly dried thyme

1 cup uncooked wild rice, about 3 cups cooked

1 medium yellow onion

1 small shallot

fresh thyme

white wine (optional)

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Directions/Easier than it looks

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Prepare the wild rice by bringing 1 cup rice and 3 cups filtered water to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until rice is tender but not chewy. This will take anywhere from 40-50 minutes depending on how wild your rice gets.

3. Break cauliflower head down into florets. Wash and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp sea salt. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread florets out in one layer. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and browned. Stir occasionally so the cauliflower roasts evenly.

4. As the rice and cauliflower are cooking,  slice mushrooms, onions, shallot and garlic. Warm about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Sautée onions, shallots and garlic until translucent. Add in mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt, sautée until the mushrooms release their moisture (about 2 minutes). Cook for about 5-8 more minute stirring occasionally, or until all moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are reddish-brown. Add in thyme and white wine, stir for 30 seconds more.

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5. Once the cauliflower is finished roasting, let it cool slightly and transfer to a blender or food processor. Slowly add in 1/4 cup increments of filtered water or vegetable broth and pulse until creamy. I ended up using about 2 cups of water, but this could vary depending on the cauliflower. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

6. Once the rice is finished cooking, drain out any excess water. Add mushrooms and creamy cauliflower to the pot and mix until well incorporated. It should become a rich, thick pot of goodness in a matter of seconds. Add more thyme, salt, pepper or white wine to taste. I like to have my vegetable to grain ratio be about 50/5 0, although the more vegetables the merrier.

7. Serve with a fresh, green salad and some good friends. If you don’t have any good friends nearby, share this dish with a handsome stranger and you’ll be friends in no time.

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