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Posts tagged with Kale

(Softly) Celebrating the return of the Lawrence Farmers’ Market

The kiddo and me at the Saturday Lawrence Farmers' Market last year.

The kiddo and me at the Saturday Lawrence Farmers' Market last year. by Sarah Henning

This weekend is the “soft” opening for the 2012 Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market. And by "soft opening," I mean, the market’s official grand opening isn’t until May. That’s when there’ll be a full slate of vendors and the weekday markets (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) will start up.

Even if this weekend’s opening isn’t "grand," you won’t be sorry if you try to make it out to the first market of the year. Because of the fabulous weather and the abundance of hoop houses (thanks to a government program), there should be a fine selection of yummy, early spring produce.

I’ve been looking forward to this moment since walking away from the last market in November, so to say I’m excited about this weekend is kind of an understatement. Thus, I’ve pulled together some info and serving suggestions for some of the spring’s tastiest seasonal choices.

You’ll probably see some, if not all, of these goodies at this week’s market and most definitely by May’s big one.

Baby greens: As ubiquitous as they are tasty, these little guys are a cinch to procure by the bagful at the early farmers’ markets. They are perfect for pretty much any salad, but especially ones with a very light (read: not overpowering) dressing and crispy veggies.

Kale: Such a nutritious, under-used green, the vitamin-packed powerhouse (rich in vitamins A and C, plus calcium and iron) is finally getting some mainstream foodie love, mostly in the form of kale chips and massaged kale salad. Those are two fine ways to enjoy it, especially when the leaves are young and tender as they are in the spring.

Tatsoi: This green is often referred to as “Asian spinach” and has tons of beta carotene, plus vitamins C and K. Tatsoi is not often found at the grocery store (which is a pity), but if you happen to see it at the market, snatch some up. You can steam it plain, use it in any recipe you would spinach or throw it in stir-fry. I also really like it in green smoothies, which I know is weird, but it’s an option!

Asparagus: As the king of spring veggies, you probably are quiet familiar with him. You also probably already have your favorite methods for preparing the precious little stalks. But by the end of the asparagus season, chances are you might grow tired of the same old, same old. If so, might I point you to this month’s Delcious/Nutritious, which happened to be about eggs, but both recipes featured asparagus, enjoyed in very different (eggy) ways.

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Easy winter salad — no lettuce or tomato in sight

We had a great conversation yesterday about being meatless in the Midwest. Please, keep it up! I'd love to hear more suggestions on where to eat as a vegetarian in Lawrence.

And, while you're munching on that, let's talk briefly about eating meatless at home, shall we?

Salad is a staple in our house, and that's no different in the winter. Though, I do know vegetarians and omnivores alike who have a hard time embracing salads when temperatures dip below freezing. Suddenly, lettuce seems a bit too, well, cold. And because tomatoes and many other basic salad ingredients aren't in season, it can be hard to keep a healthy salad habit going.

So, I encourage you to branch out. A salad is really just a random conglomeration of things, and it doesn't necessarily need to involve lettuce and tomato. It's no secret I'm a huge kale salad fan, and I've even written an entire story on winter salads. There really are a ton of options, including one I came up with on a whim last night.

Said salad (above) really is the perfect definition of "a random conglomeration of things." And it was soooo good.

I started with the last of my leftover squash and then took a look in the fridge to see what would go with it. I had a few wilty kale leaves, an about-to-turn avocado, a huge vat of kalamata olives from Costco and a jar of kimchi I'd bought this weekend in an effort to increase my intake of probiotics beyond just my (out-of-control) kombucha addiction.

The result was a healthy late-in-the-week dinner that I'm so glad I found.

Kimchi Squash Kale Salad

1/2 bunch green kale

1 to 2 cups chopped cooked squash (I used 1.5 roasted sweet dumpling squash)

1/2 cup kimchi (or more)

1/2 avocado, chopped

Kalamata olives

Tear the kale leaves into small pieces and discard the stems. Put the pieces in a bowl and top with avocado, massaging it gently into the kale pieces. Top with squash, kimchi and olives. Enjoy! Serves 1 as a dinner salad or 2 as a side salad.

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Weeknight dinner: Healthy, and worth the “work”

Monday nights usually are not my most shining moments in the kitchen. They tend to involve dishing out whatever we made Sunday night, or if one of us ate the remainder of Sunday's dinner for lunch on Monday ... rushing around trying to throw something suitable together.

Yes, I'm horrible at meal planning. When I shop, I know exactly what I want to eat that week, but it always seems that I misjudge how much each dish will make, and how long that dish will really stick around. Sometimes, I make things and realize that we ate the whole thing, leftovers be darned. Other times, we make something and it lurks in the fridge for days, uneaten in favor of something more exciting than leftovers ... until it dies a moldy death in the trashcan.

So, I'm trying to improve on this. And, thus, this Monday, I was determined to make something healthy and tasty from scratch — and have enough left over for lunch and dinner today. Complicating the fact, was that the kiddo and I went to play with a school friend after work while the hubby went running. We finally got home around 7, with the kiddo famished and the hubby on his way back, STARVING.

My solution? Doing two things at once. As soon as I got the kiddo settled with his requested dinner (baby carrots, provolone and a leftover smoothie), I decided make a double batch of my favorite kale salad recipe plus a roasted dumpling squash recipe I learned during my cooking class with Isa.

It ended up timing out perfectly so that the squash and the salad were done within seconds of each other. I started the squash first, then set to washing and chopping all my salad ingredients. By the time the squash needed to come out of the oven to be seasoned, the salad was combined, the kiddo was ready for bed and the hubby was home and ready to eat. I pulled the squash out to cool, put the kiddo to bed and then we chowed down.

Simple. On a Monday. Who knew?

You already have the salad recipe, so here's how to make the squash. Feel free to sub in acorn squash, though know you can't eat the skin on acorn like you can on dumpling squash.

Simple Roasted Dumpling Squash

4 sweet dumpling squash (similar in size)

Olive oil (in a mister, if you have one)

Cinnamon

Salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut squash in half, along the equator (don't try to cut through the stem!). Scoop out and discard the seeds.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray or rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the parchment paper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the oiled parchment. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.

When done, pull it out of the oven and use a hot pad or spatula to flip over the squash, so that they cool with the flesh "up." Once you have them facing upward, sprinkle with salt and dust with cinnamon. Let cool and enjoy.

P.S.: I had enough salad left over for a honkin' lunch today and saved the leftover squash for dinner tonight. Yay for planning (sort of).

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