Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cooking to Combat Cancer - Healthy Braised Kale

This is my entry for Chris's first Cooking to Combat Cancer event! Actually, this is my first entry to any food blog event, ever.

I picked a quick and easy kale recipe that I often make. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable (along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) that is high in calcium and other cancer-fighting ingredients. Kale is also loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, fiber, copper, vitamin B6 and potassium.
"As a member of the Brassica genus of foods, kale is a great food if you're looking to sustain your health and enjoy a delicious food at the same time. It's the organosulfur compounds in this food that have been main subject of phytonutrient research, and these include the glucosinolates and the methyl cysteine sulfoxides. Although there are over 100 different glucosinolates in plants, only 10-15 are present in kale and other Brassicas. Yet these 10-15 glucosinolates appear able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers." Source.
Choose kale with green unblemished leaves. You'll have an easier time prepping the vegetable if you find stalks with large leaves, but anything is fine as long as it is fresh and in good shape.
Healthy and Simple Braised Kale
2 pounds of kale, trimmed of stalks and coarsely chopped
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (I use the lesser amount)
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
2-4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 fresh tomato, diced
grated Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (I use about 2-3 Tablespoons)

Prepping the kale
Wash thoroughly - kale can be sandy. Do not dry, simply shake out the stalks. The water left on the leaves with help them braise. Tear the leaves off the stalks and set aside.
In a large pan with a lid (I use my wok), gently heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes on medium heat. When the oil starts to sizzle gently, add the garlic followed immediately by the kale. You don't want the garlic to burn! Using tongs or large spoons, toss the kale to coat it with the olive oil mixture. Add the red wine vinegar - the amount will depend on your personal tastes, the kale, etc. Start with two tablespoons, and at more near the end if you feel the kale needs it. Add salt and pepper.
Turn heat down to low and put lid on pot. Braise gently for about 15-20 minutes, turning the kale gently now and then. If you are using young kale, it will braise more quickly than older, larger leaves.
Kale should be tender but not mushy. Shut the heat off. Mix in the parmigiano reggiano. Add the diced tomatoes, and put the lid back on for about 5 minutes. The residual heat will melt the cheese.
Enjoy, knowing you are eating a super vegetable!


Blogger Freya and Paul said...

I love kale just served plainly boiled with canellini beans that have been fried up with some chorizo for flavour. Delicious! Great veg!

April 05, 2007 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Thank you so much for participating in the event! I am honored you chose this one to be your first. This Kale looks tasty, and although I have not eaten Kale, I believe this recipe may be my stepping stone!

April 05, 2007 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

A wonderful entry!

April 05, 2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger Arfi Binsted said...

I've never used kale before. I've seen them sold at farmers' market. I think I have to give it a try.

April 11, 2007 4:21 AM  
Blogger Culinarily Curious said...

Thank's for sharing this recipe. I often get kale in the winter boxes from my CSA. As I've never been sure what to do with it -- my experience is it's bitter -- I've always passed it off to a friend. Now that I have a recipe to try, I'll keep it and expand my horizons. :)

April 13, 2007 6:26 PM  

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