The Kitchen Workshop: Glorious Kale with Catherine Walthers

Kitchen Workshop host Mary Reilly, editor and publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley is joined by Catherine Walthers. Cathy is a personal chef and food writer. She is the author of four cookbooks, the latest of which is Kale, Glorious Kale.

Join us in the Workshop as Mary and Cathy discuss varieties of kale, the perfect kale chip and kale cocktails! Cathy also shares her secret for making the perfect kale salad (hint: it involves massage therapy!).

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Recipes below the fold for Kale Granola and the Emerald Gimlet Cocktail

_DSC0693Kale Granola

Makes about 2 quarts

The combination of kale, oats, and nuts is crunchy and satisfying. Everyone likes to munch on this as a snack – it doesn’t even seem to last until breakfast to top yogurt, mix with fruit, or serve with milk.  It’s easy to vary the nuts and the dried fruit with your favorites.

5 cups curly kale (stripped from stalk, chopped or torn into large bite-size pieces, rinsed and dried well)
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup broken pecans, broken walnuts or sliced almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 °F.
2. Make sure the kale is well dried. Place the kale in a bowl with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Knead or massage with your hands until the coconut oil is rubbed on all the leaves. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons coconut oil, and the brown sugar, maple syrup, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.  In another larger bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and seeds.
4.  Take 2 tablespoons of the wet ingredients and combine with the kale. Rub it over the leaves. Pour the rest over the oats, seeds and nuts and mix very well until incorporated and oats are completely covered.
5. Line two 12- by 17-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the oats on one sheet, spreading them out evenly, and the kale on the other sheet. (The kale seems to crisp up better separately, but you can mix the kale and oats together and it will work.) Bake all for 25-30 minutes, mixing 2 or 3 times to prevent the outer edges from burning, and also rotating the trays. I sometimes switch the oven setting to convection bake if the mixture doesn’t seem to be crisping up. Remove the kale when it is crispy, but not browned. Remove the oats when they are crispy or nearly crispy and before the nuts are burned. Both with get crispier once they sit on the counter cooling.
6.  When cooled, combine the kale with the oats. Add the dried fruit. Pack into mason jars for storage.
Cook’s Note: I’ve switched to coconut oil instead of canola oil for making granola (though substitute canola or another vegetable oil if that is what you have.) I love the subtle flavor coconut adds, and nutritionists are recommending its healthier properties. In warmer weather, coconut oil looks like an oil; in cooler weather it tends to solidify. For this recipe, if solidified, I usually put the jar in a saucepan of hot water until it becomes liquid again. Also, if you mix it with cold maple syrup it tends to solidify again which makes it hard to coat the oats and kale, so I usually just have maple room temp or heat it up very slightly before mixing the liquid ingredients.

_DSC1932Emerald Gimlet

Serves 1

Juice a few kale leaves in a juicer and store  in the fridge until ready for your cocktails. If you don’t have a juicer, you can make kale juice in a blender by puréeing several kale leaves with just enough water to get the blender moving. Purée until as smooth as possible then strain for juice. You need a fine strainer to remove the fresh grated ginger for a smooth, chilled emerald green gimlet.

2 ounces gin (or vodka)
1/2 ounce fresh kale juice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated*
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
Lime wheel or small kale leaf for garnish

1.     In a mixing glass or shaker, add the gin, kale, ginger, lime and syrup. Fill halfway with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds until very well chilled. Double strain through a small fine mesh strainer to catch the fresh ginger into a martini or coupe glass.  Garnish with a lime wheel/and or a small piece of kale.

*  Add 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger if you love ginger.

Cook’s Note: To make simple syrup, add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Store in a mason jar; it keeps for weeks.

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