Posts Tagged ‘baked’

Spring is here which means that bikini season is only 8 short weeks away. I know, that’s awful to say, but working in an industry filled with women, I here all kinds of things about the need for dieting or the need to “lose a few” before the summer. I myself will not be sporting a new bikini this year – the children would certainly be afraid – but I am always up for substituting the unhealthy with something equally tasty and 100X healthier.

Kale is a winter vegetable, but thanks to the age of modern farming, we have access to beautiful kale leaves year round. I mentioned in my braised kale post the vast health benefits fresh kale greens can have. Perhaps the idea of braising greens scared some people away because that post did not receive much attention. But ever the vigilant writer, I wanted to post a second way to use kale that I hope more people will try and embrace. Don’t let the name fool you, there is no frying involved in this recipe. Do take the gamble on this one and pick up a small bunch of kale the next time you are roaming through the grocery store. It’ll cost very little to experiment with and the results are simply unbelievable.

Ingredients (serves 4 happily)

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Rip the kale leaves off the stem and into chip size pieces. Some will be big, some will be smaller, but none should come close to being the size of your hand. Put the kale in a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil to it. Toss to coat the leaves in oil.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a silicone mat on two large baking sheets (alternatively, you can grease a baking sheet, but I haven’t tried this). Arrange the leaves on the may so no two are overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and other spices as you desire.

Note: You can change the flavor of the kale chips by sprinkling any other spice mix on. This is your chance to experiment, just remember to use spices sparingly.

3. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until the tips begin to turn brown. Your looking for baked through and no floppy. Check your biggest leaves first to see if they are done.

Note: Other recipes out there change the temperature and cooking times. This version dehydrates the entire leaf leaving a crispy, crumbling edges with an in fast center. If you prefer more chip like, increase the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 20 – 30 minutes.

4. Serve without any dipping sauce. These are great on their own.

 

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I love baked beans but I hate to wait for them. There’s the soaking, and the drying, and the mixing, and the baking for upward of 5 hours. A boy’s gotta eat and I can’t sit around all day waiting. Luckily, I have a pressure cooker that defies the rules of the kitchen and introduces intense amount of pressure that break the beans down quickly completing the meal from start to finish in around 30 minutes. This dish is sweet, sticky, and tangy and sure to become a family favorite.

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, I couldn’t recommend a piece of specialty kitchen equipment more. I bought mine to start canning my own preserves, but quickly found it had many more uses. It makes perfect risotto in under 10 minutes without ever needing to stand over the stove stirring, breaks down a pot roast to a perfect tenderness in around 40 minutes, and even makes chocolate cake. Cake, people! Cooked on the stove! If your in the market, I recommend the Fagor Duo. It’s made of high quality stainless steel, and has two pressure settings to maximize its uses.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 7 c cold water
  • 1 lb navy beans, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c (4 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp whole gain dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
1. Put the beans, water, bay leaves, and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pressure cooker. Secure the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to the lowest setting possible and cook for 15 minutes. Release the steam and drain the beans into a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid.
 
2. While the beans are cooking, saute the onion and garlic in a medium sauce pan over high heat. When the onion begins to brown, mix in the molasses, light brown sugar, tomato paste, mustard, and cinnamon. Turn the heat off and combine all ingredients.
 
3. Return the beans to the pressure cooker with the onion-molasses mixture and 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Secure the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Release the steam. If the beans are not tender, place the lid back on, but do not lock. Boil for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
 
4. The sauce will thicken as it sits, but if you prefer, mash 1/2 cup of beans with a fork, return to the pan, and stir. Serve with hot dog slices if you wish.