Rainbow Chard Atop Toasted Bread

I got this recipe from Concrete Magnolia’s blog, but instead put it on top of some deliciously toasted bread made here locally by Stone Mill Bread Company. I used local green onions in place of the leeks. The rainbow chard, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, bread, and egg were all grown or produced right here in NW Arkansas. Makes me happy.

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Rainbow Chard, Shiitake Mushroom, and Cheese Quiche

I’m walking around the Farmers’ Market a few weeks ago and run across this slightly intimidating, colorful bunch of leafy greens below.  I had never cooked with rainbow chard, but thought it would at least make for a pretty dish if its flavor didn’t hold up to its beauty.  Again, like kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, rainbow chard is extremely nutrient dense, carrying robust amounts of vitamins A, K, E, C, and many other vital nutrients such as maganese, magnesium, iron, and potassium (WHFoods.com, 2001-2013). So, no one can argue against its nutritional benefits.

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I get it home and am just mesmerized by its poignant colors and couldn’t wait to decide how I wanted to use it in the kitchen.  I open the fridge, tap my foot in thought, and see some shiitake mushrooms, a half block of smoked gouda, half full container of fresh mozzarella, and a carton of eggs.  I immediately thought, quiche! Thus, the creation of Rainbow Chard, Shiitake Mushroom, and Cheese Quiche shortly followed.  I love quiche and its versatility.  You can throw so many different food combinations together and still strike gold. For this quiche, the eggs, rainbow chard, scallions, and shiitake mushrooms were all locally produced thanks to our wonderful NWA farmers!

First, I made a crust with few ingredients using this recipe . It was incredibly easy, even for first-time chefs. I was extra grateful because it was a weeknight and my cook time was limited.

Then, over medium heat, heat your olive oil, sauté scallions and rainbow chard stems until soft.  Then, add shiitake mushrooms and once cooked for 1-2 minutes, add the rainbow chard leaves. Continue to sauté until wilted. Take off heat, let cool, and then place in the bottom of quiche.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. For remaining quiche, mix eggs, heavy cream, spices, and salt and pepper together in mixing bowl. Spread cheeses on top of chard mix. Then, cover cheese with egg mixture. Gently cover quiche with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes, removing foil the last 10 minutes. Check center with fork to ensure that it’s cooked through.  I served this with some quick-roasted asparagus. I couldn’t believe how delicious this turned out. Huge hit with the hubby.

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Rainbow Chard, Shiitake Mushroom, and Cheese Quiche

Pie crust – pre/homemade (see above for crust recipe)

One bunch Rainbow Chard – thinly sliced leaves and upper parts of stems

1/2 cup Shiitake mushrooms – sliced

1 bunch scallions (5-6 scallions) – sliced

1 1/2 -2 cups shredded cheese (smoked gouda, gruyere, fontina, or mozzarella)

6 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Kale: Raw Style

We had this dish last week.  Dustin and I enjoyed it, but our palates have had a lot more time to refine themselves than our two sons’ have – haha! They were troopers and tried it, even took multiple bites. I would save this one for a lunch or a solo dinner.  Extremely nutritious and healthy, but wouldn’t say it’s kid-friendly. I found this recipe on Leaf Parade.

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Kale Pesto Pizza

I remember making this scrumptious pizza last year around this time, and my husband and son both loved it. Again, another great way to introduce kale to those who would otherwise steer clear. I got the recipe from this blog. I made my own pizza dough using a different recipe and you could obviously cut your cooking time by using pre-made dough. I am crazy and cheap and still haven’t broken down to buy a food processor, but using one of these would have also helped me out in decreasing prep time. However, you can still make your pesto with a blender or food chopper, although a little grueling after repeated trials.  I would just recommend putting some of the ingredients such as the nuts and garlic in separately to ensure even chopping if you don’t have a processor. To sum it up, you might want to have a little more time on your hands for this one, but it’s so worth it especially if you’re into culinary therapy and want to try a new and flavorful topping on your pizza! Just about any green will do when making pesto, so get adventurous and try out kale in your pesto next time. 🙂

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Lasagna: Kale Style

As a mother of two now, boy am I finding a humbling moment everywhere I turn. I used to be slightly OCDish about household cleanliness, but am struggling to keep up among the many other beautiful responsibilities that come along with motherhood. Now, my kitchen isn’t “dirty”, I’m just “desensitizing” myself to a messy kitchen. Oh, can I also rescind my earlier statements about having time to read? Time and I have been battling it up these last few weeks. I could literally stay busy just feeding my two boys and unloading/reloading the dishwasher.  Adding just one more little dude to our family has led to the subsequent doubling of our grocery bill, number of dishwashing cycles and piles of laundry. So strange how that happens? Furthermore, as a result of the continuous processing of language darting at me from two, child-sized mouths – I think I’m developing a new form of motherhood-induced ADD. Do the docs have an official diagnosis for this?  This multiple kid thing is hard work!  With that said, I am all the more grateful for a nutritious recipe that I can throw together, pop in the oven, and make mouths water with little effort. Ahhhhh……yes…..lasagna.  Who doesn’t like lasagna?  And it’s also a great way to sneak your seasonal kale in without getting any complaints from the kiddos.  I used local kale from Dripping Springs Garden (one of my favs at the Farmers’ Market for greens) and local eggs from Little Portions Monastery (in Berryville, AR) along with a little oregano from my herb box. I kind of just threw this one together with what I had available in the kitchen at the time, but here’s what I did, and it turned out great!

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9 Lasagna Noodles

1 bunch kale

1 zucchini thinly sliced

1/2 onion chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 jar pasta sauce

8 oz. ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 tbsp italian seasoning

1 cup parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Dried or Fresh Basil and Oregano

First, rinse and remove kale from the spine and chop coarsely. Blanch for 2 minutes. Then rinse with cold water and let sit to dry in colander. Cook noodles according to package or use noodles that don’t require boiling.

You’re welcome to use whatever veggies you have in the fridge. In my case, I had zucchini and onion, but I’m not biased.  In a skillet at medium, heat your olive oil and add onion, cooking until translucent. Then, add zucchini and cook until tender. Pour pasta sauce (leaving some in jar for the top of lasagna) into pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in kale.

To mix cheese sauce, place ricotta cheese, egg, italian seasoning, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, and salt and pepper into mixing bowl. Stir ingredients thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour a small amount of pasta sauce into bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Place 3 pasta noodles on top of sauce, then layer with half of cheese sauce, 1/2 of veggies and kale sauce, and then repeat layer once more. Top third layer with noodles, remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan along with a sprinkling of oregano and basil. Cover baking dish with foil and put in oven for 25 minutes. Uncover lasagna and put back in for another 5-10 minutes or until slightly golden around edges. Enjoy another recipe without letting your kale go stale!

Don’t Let Yo’ Kale Go Stale

I gotta be real here and admit that I’m not sure I had ever eaten kale growing up nor did I know what the mysterious leafy green substance tasted like up until a few years ago. I remember I had baked kale chips for my co-workers around that time because I thought they were a good substitute for the wide array of greasy chips that I found myself attacking at the end of each workday. Crazy me, since I dug their crunchy texture and salty flavor, I thought my co-workers would too. Most everyone, with the exception of one or two people, gawked at the weird texture and thought they were strange. After that, I really didn’t expect to see kale chips in pre-packaged bags at the store just a few years later, but I guess they gained in popularity. They are incredibly easy to cook, so it seems so silly to me to waste money buying them, but I would understand when in a desperate, gotta-have-my-kale-fix-now situation, that one my break down and purchase a bag. There are far more shameful acts. If you’ve never made kale chips here is a super easy recipe for ya’.

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Kale Chips

1 bunch kale

 1 tblsp olive oil

  salt and pepper

Make sure you rinse your kale. I soak mine in a bowl of lukewarm salt water for a few minutes just in case there are any little critters on the leaves (they like kale too!). I rinse it, spin dry, and then tear the leaves off the spine into 3 inch pieces.  Place in a bowl, toss with olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Spread kale across a cookie sheet and put in oven at 350 for about 12 minutes, turning 2-3 times throughout.  Remove from oven and let cool. Then, throw it in a fancy bowl and watch it disappear within seconds!

Now, when seasonally abundant, we eat kale by the truckloads. Okay, okay, I might be exaggerating slightly there, but we do eat quite a bit of kale. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell your kids or husbands, but Kale is rich in many nutrients and is believed to have cancer-fighting properties. So, there you have it, just one more reason why you shouldn’t let your kale go stale.

Want PESTO? No Need for Basil!

I will be posting throughout the next few days different ways our family has cooked and enjoyed kale.  One of my favorites is Kale pesto………..yummmmmmmm!  I have a seriously strong addiction to, really, any kind of pesto, basil pesto being my absolute favorite, of course. However, until my basil plants come in and it’s more readily available locally, kale will suffice!  Here’s one kale pesto recipe I used (http://en.julskitchen.com/tuscany/black-kale-pesto), but I used pumpkin seeds instead of almonds and a slightly different pasta since that’s what I had available in my kitchen. This was delish, and my little boys loved it!!

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