Balsamic Kale

Balsamic Kale

I love doing one pot meals.  They are generally easy to make and to store.

Last week I made a braised beef brisket which cooked in the oven with lots of juices and veggies.  I wanted more veggies with this though and I decided to add some kale on the side.  I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture before eating, so I took this picture after packing up our lunches for the next day.

The balsamic vinegar was a perfect complement to the brisket, which had dry red wine.  I cooked the kale for a short period so the color pretty much remained a bright green for dinner.  However, by the next day, the balsamic vinegar had time to really seep into the kale and give it even richer flavor.

This is recipe to play with and feel.  For those who aren’t used to playing with your food (mothers neglected to tell us that this type of play is good for us), this can be your gateway.  Just keep in mind to season and add things a little at time because you can always add more, but you can’t take away.

Balsamic Kale

Balsamic Kale, Beef Brisket, & Mashed Potatoes

Chopped kale

Grapeseed oil or your oil of preference

Salt

Pepper

Balsamic Vinegar

Heat a large pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the oil and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add several handfuls of kale and stir.  Add more kale as the kale in the pan wilts and makes room.  Once all the kale has a good wilt, season with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for a few minutes.  Add several dashes of balsamic vinegar and stir.  Cook for several more minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cook a few minutes longer.  Take it off the heat while the kale still has a bright green color to it.

Naked Pizza Review

 

Superbiotic pizza on a gluten-free crust

 

I have a confession to make.  All I want to do is sleep right now.  I’m on my third day off in a row.  A real rarity with my schedule.  I think my body is telling me that I need to stop and rest.

I spent Monday doing errands, laundry, and cooking.  Yesterday, I goofed off all day.  Spent a little time at my favorite local coffee shop, spent a few hours lazily shopping, saw a movie, then took Chaz out to dinner for his birthday.

Today, well…I woke up at almost 9:30am…a luxury since I’m fairly sleep deprived most of the time.  I lazed in bed until almost 10am.  Then I discovered Naked Pizza opens at 10:30am.  I’ve been wanting to try their gluten-free pizza crust since I found out they were opening in Cincinnati this Spring.  We live nowhere near them for delivery, so I had to get in the car and drive down.  But first, a stop at the library to turn in some DVDs and choose a few more.  No books?  I put some on hold to be delivered to my branch so I’m just waiting.

Inside Naked Pizza...love that green!

The woman who took my order happened to be at the door and held it open for me, warmly welcoming me.  The gluten-free pizza crust comes only in the 12″ size and you can order anything off their “favorites” menu on a gf crust.  I chose the Superbiotic.  It’s full of artichokes, spinach, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, garlic, and cilantro.  The 15 minute wait felt more like 10 minutes.  Although, playing Words With Friends on my phone tends to make time speed up.

Whether you are gluten-free or not, the true test of a pizza is that first bite while it’s still hot and the cheese is oozy.  I had to open up the box and take a bite as soon as I got in the car.  I did mention I was outside the delivery zone, right?  I didn’t think I’d make it home before it got cold.  Especially with a mix of freezing rain and snow falling from the sky.  The toppings were fresh.  The crust crispy, but not sweet (yay!) or too thin.  After 2 pieces when I got home, I felt satisfied.  I had to have just one more piece though.

Take some time to check out their website and learn about the history of Naked Pizza and their ingredients.  If you aren’t gf and live near a Naked Pizza, I’d love to hear your thoughts on their crust.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some gf bread dough to get into the oven.

 

Raw Pina Colada Pie

 

Raw Pina Colada Pie

 

Today is one of those days.  Sleep deprived from my crazy work schedule.  My body not allowing me to sleep for at least 2 hours arriving home from a closing shift and its insane need to make me wake up at the same time every morning that I don’t work an opening shift whether I get 8 hours of sleep or not.  Today, it allowed me 15 more minutes only to find there were 2 men outside talking rather loudly which prevented me from going back to sleep.

Now, before you start doling out helpful sleep advice.  I’ve tried it all.  Melatonin.  Passion Flower.  Valerian.  Everything short of prescription medication.  My doctor is thinks that once my body’s systems are back in balance that I’ll be able to sleep better.

So, here I am, wanting to write a blog post, needing to get dinner made before my closing shift tonight, and desperately wanting more sleep which will not come (every attempt to take a nap lately ends in frustration).

I wanted to share the balsamic kale I made yesterday, but as tired as I am, pulling out the camera to upload the pictures would take too much time.  I figured I’d share one of my raw recipes that I was working on for April In The Raw since people were asking for the recipe as soon as I posted the picture on Facebook.

The idea for this pie was conceived when I made this pie last year.  I came up with the crust because I knew a nut crust would throw Chaz off even if it would go well with the berries.  Chaz doesn’t like nuts in his food.  He’ll eat nuts alone, but he’s not really fond of them in food.  My next thought was coconut.  He loves coconut.  And I knew I could use coconut cream to give it the firmness to stick together.  He liked the crust so much he started thinking about a pina colada pie.  He wanted it thickened with agar agar, which he uses when he makes yokan.  Made from seaweed, it would boost the nutritional content of the pie.  However, when I was reading up on it to make this pie, I discovered I’d have to cook the pineapple in order for the enzymes to not mess up the thickening properties of the agar agar.

I was mulling over what to use to thicken the pie so it would set.  Chia seeds?  I have black ones and it would change the look of the pie.  Flax seeds?  I have golden flax so it could have worked.  I just wanted it easy and not have to let seeds sit in water to get gelatinous.  Coconut cream.

Bingo!

Easy.  Less ingredients.  No fuss.  With the difficulty of having the raw berry pie set, I let this one set overnight just to be sure.  Beautiful results in firmness, texture, and taste.  For me, at least.  Chaz didn’t think it was sweet enough.  I didn’t add anything in it to sweeten it more.

Raw Pina Colada Pie

1 coconut pie crust

5 cups diced fresh ripe pineapple, not overripe – if there isn’t a lot of green on the skin and you can smell it before you pick it up, it’s too ripe.

1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut cream concentrate (I used Tropical Traditions)

Splash of water

Process pineapple, coconut cream, and water in a food processor until the texture is creamy.  Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate until set.  I like to let it sit for at least 24 hours.  Serve with fresh sliced pineapple.

The pineapple garnish will enhance the pineapple flavor.  Test the filling before pouring into the crust.  Since I did not add any type of sweetener, you might not find it sweet enough and decide to add a little sugar, honey, stevia, etc.  If you do decide to sweeten it, I highly recommend being conservative with it so you can maintain a good pineapple coconut balance.

 

Raw Pina Colada Mac Nut Cream Cake

 

The raw cake attempt I made would also work as a good pie filling.  My problem with the cake was the macadamia nut cream was too runny and I didn’t strain the excess water out of it so it was more pudding-like than cake-like.  I have no doubt that is all that needs to happen for this to set, so if if you want to try it, be my guest!  It had really great flavor though. The added macadamia nut cream gave a slight hint of sweetness to enhance the pineapple.

Macadamia Nut Cream

2 cups macadamia nuts covered in water

6 dates covered in 2 cups of water

Soak the nuts and dates in separate bowls for 20 minutes.  Drain water from the nuts and place in a blender.  Add dates with the water to the blender.  Blend on high until smooth, thick, and creamy.  If it is a little runny, let it strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.  This should yield about 3 cups of macadamia nut cream.

Raw Pina Colada Mac Nut Cream filling

4 cups pineapple

2 cups macadamia nut cream

1 cup coconut cream concentrate

Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into a coconut pie crust for a raw pie or into an 8 x 8 baking dish for cake and sprinkle with shredded coconut.  Chill overnight.  Serve with fresh pineapple and a dollop of macadamia nut cream.