Produce of the Month: Kale!

Throughout the summer, my farm share has been stuffed full of kale. Good news, because kale is delicious and ridiculously healthy. All of these recipes require that you destem the kale. The stems take much longer to cook than the leaves, and can be tough. But if you roast them long enough or sauté them like an onion in a stir fry, they are yummy and need not go to waste. Roasted Kale with Rigatoni and Caramelized Onions Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 large sweet onion thinly sliced 1 large bunch of kale 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 1 pound rigatoni Fresh basil Parmesan cheese Directions: Preheat the oven to 375. Sauté on low (without oil) with a lid for ten minutes. Add a tablespoon or two or olive oil, and continue sautéing (lid on) and stirring occasionally for another twenty-five minutes or so, until the onions are brown and melty. Meanwhile, carefully wash and destem the kale (you can slice up the stems and stick them in with the onions), and rip it up into small pieces (say, two inch squares). Toss with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until edges start to brown. Cook your pasta per package instructions. Toss pasta, kale, and onions. Garnish with fresh basil and a grating of parmesan cheese. Serving suggestion: This dish goes nicely with a caprese salad. Kale and Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables Serves 3 Ingredients: 1 large bunch of kale (rinsed and destemmed) 1 cup quinoa Vegetables to roast (zucchini, peppers, radishes, carrots, garlic, shallots, whatever else you’ve got!) Two tablespoons olive oil. Salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Directions: Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare your vegetables to roast by slicing them, tossing them with oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until done (lightly browned and soft), about a thirty-five minutes. Put the quinoa in a sauce pan with two cups of water. Cover and cook on medium until all the water is absorbed. About fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, rip up the kale. When the quinoa is almost done, add the kale and put the lid back on. Let sit for a few minutes after you turn the heat off. Stir the quinoa and kale together. Serve roasted veggies on top of a bed of the quinoa and kale. Raw Tuscan Kale Salad This recipe from 101 Cookbooks is seriously delicious. And you can skip the cheese if you want to make it a bit healthier. Kale and Black Bean Quesadillas Serves 3 Ingredients: ½ red onion, finely chopped 1 large bunch of kale (rinsed and destemmed) 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained Juice from half a lemon ½ avocado A tablespoon olive oil Salt and pepper Sharp cheddar cheese, grated 3 large tortillas Directions: Heat up the oil in a sauce pan or skillet and toss in the red onion. Saute for a few minutes and add the kale (rinsed, chopped). Cook, stirring occasionally, for several minutes until the kale begins to wilt. Add the beans. Continue cooking until the beans are warm. Heat a skillet on medium. Put in a tortilla. Spread the kale/bean mix over half of it and sprinkle with grated cheese. Fold the tortilla in half. Cook for about three minutes per side until the cheese melts and the tortilla is starting to brown. Repeat with the other tortillas (you can do them all at once, if your skillet is big enough). While the quesadillas are cooking, mash up the avocado with the lemon juice and the salt and pepper. Serve a heaping scoop of avocado with each tortilla. And make sure to have hot sauce on the table! Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens Serves 4 This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is a bit more work, but it is absolutely worth it. File it away for that first chilly day in fall when you won’t mind standing over a hot stove for an hour or so.