Vegetables


This was the experimental part of our snowstorm dinner.  I honestly didn’t want to make it (after shoveling all that snow I was tired and, I’ll admit it, cranky).  But I’d bought a huge bag of kale, so we were going to eat it!  It’s actually very easy, and incredibly tasty.  It’s actually a revelation to me that cooked greens by themselves can be this yummy.  Growing up we didn’t eat greens like this.  My mom told horror stories of being forced to sit at the dinner table, watching a lump of spinach congeal, until she managed to eat it.  She never liked cooked greens, and such experiences didn’t exactly help.  So, growing up we never ate leafy greens unless they were raw, in salad.  As an adult my experiences with greens have been hit or miss…this one has converted me.  I want more greens!  It’s adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking (mostly I just added less pancetta and oil and more chile flakes). 

So, eat your greens, and enjoy! 

Braised Kale with Pancetta
adapted from Fine Cooking

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 1/2 lb kale, stemmed, leaves torn
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
splash of lemon juice, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta, onion, and chili flakes.  Cook until pancetta is golden and crispy, and onion is golden.  Add the kale, turning with tongs to coat with oil (you might have to do this a little at a time; my dutch oven is a 6 qt, and I couldn’t fit all the kale in and turn it to coat.  Waiting and turning between big handfuls of kale allowed it to wilt, making room for the rest.)  Once the leaves are coated, add the chicken broth, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes (the more tender the variety the shorter the cook time, I used the extra frilly kind, which is tougher, and it took about 13 minutes to fully cook).  Check the pan, tasting for doneness.  Add additional stock or water if necessary.

Uncover, add the minced garlic, and cook on high until all the liquid evaporates.  Add a splash of lemon juice if desired.

The Whole Snowstorm Meal:
Basic Roast Chicken
Roasted Potatoes with Garlic

I had never had a zucchini casserole before moving to Texas for college and meeting my (then boyfriend) husband.  I first had it in his mom’s kitchen (I remember nervously chopping the zucchini for her – I was so worried I would mess it up and make a bad impression).  I’ve played with the recipe a little, but it’s still very close to hers.  It’s not exactly healthy, although I try to keep the oil to a minimum, and I use reduced fat cheese and Bisquick.  Still, when the zucchini comes in in the summer, this is one of my favorite things to make.  You can add gourmet chicken or turkey sausage (or veggie sausage would be good) and make it a complete meal. 

Zucchini Casserole
6-8 cups zucchini, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 cup fresh Parmesan, grated
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
3 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning

To Prepare:  Mix all ingredients except eggs and oil in a large bowl.  Beat eggs and oil together and add to mixture.  Pour into large casserole or 13 x 9 pan.

Bake, uncovered for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.