CHEF JEFF: Crazy for kaleBy definition, fads are a desirable trend characterized with lots of enthusiasm and energy over a short period of time. I usually don’t give most of them much credence, especially health food fads, which are a dime dozen.
By definition, fads are a desirable trend characterized with lots of enthusiasm and energy over a short period of time.
I usually don’t give most of them much credence, especially health food fads, which are a dime dozen. Many of them are associated with diets and losing weight.
But there are some food fads that are all about nutrition, and those are the ones that generally pique my interest.
The one that most recently caught my eye — and that of a lot in the health community — revolves around kale, a leafy green vegetable that is a member of the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and collards.
The crucifer is a nutritional powerhouse, according to Jennifer Haugen, licensed registered dietitian with Altru Health System.
“Kale is rich in health promoting phytochemicals and contains twice the daily value for vitamin A, more than six times the daily amount for vitamin K and has a comparable amount of vitamin C to that of an orange, Haugen said. “It is a also a very good source of calcium, potassium, copper and manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, phosphorus and magnesium.”
She added that because of its high concentration of antioxidants and fiber, kale has been promoted for its anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering benefits. And kale has only 35 calories and 0.5 grams of fat per cup.
(Haugen cautioned that too much vitamin K may interfere with certain medication, so if you are taking anticoagulant medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), it would be wise to avoid kale.)
I was turned on to kale a couple of years ago by my friend, Darrel Koehler, who also is known and The Prairie Gardener by Herald readers. He pointed me in the direction of a vegetable sale at a local discount store in East Grand Forks. The vegetable he recommended was kale.
Darrel said that even though it was mid-June, there would be plenty of time for the plants to grow, adding that kale takes a hard frost and should continue to grow up until the first snow of fall or winter.
Ever since then, we’ve had kale in our garden and have been using it regularly in salads and the occasional stir-fry. We’ve also had it mixed with mashed potatoes and in a casserole that combines kale with potatoes, chicken broth and smoked sausage.
With a nice crop of kale this summer, I’m constantly on the lookout for new recipes. One that came to my attention this week was from a food column written by Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times. The chopped kale salad recipe, which one of Carter’s readers had sought, was from the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, Calif.
The salad — which contains chopped kale and romaine tossed with quinoa, almonds, raisins and Parmesan cheese, with bright lemon vinaigrette added just before serving — sounded mighty tasty and one that I hope to try.
Another recipe I’ve come across recently suggested adding a handful or two of kale to a smoothie.
I’m gonna pass on that one!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.