Baked Kale

An old Nichols recipe  recently requested. Here goes

One of my favorite winter vegetables is nutrient packed kale. This ancient vegetable comes in many forms, curled green Scotch, juicy Red Russian Kale, purple-red Redboor Kale that¹s almost too pretty to eat, upright black Tuscan kale, traditional in Italian soups.

Baked Kale

2 1/2 pounds kale, washed, stripped from ribs, and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

11/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (hot)

1/2 cup grated Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 – 6 drops hot pepper sauce3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs. p

Using a large nonstick skillet sauté kale with oil. The wet leaves will quickly cook down as you stir it around, cooking for 7 to 10 minutes. Add a little water to kale if it becomes dry. It should be slightly moist when cooked. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan set on low heat. Stir in flour and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Vigorously whisk in the hot broth and cook until well thickened. Stir in pepper, nutmeg and hot pepper sauce and add to kale. Place mixture in a buttered shallow baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over kale and then top with cheese. Bake until mixture is bubbly and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Fresh Refrigerator Pickles – Keane’s Favorite

We often double or triple this recipe and enjoy it for several days. You can never make too much. Use long cucumbers, short ones or even the round lemon types, adjusting for size. If firm seeds have developed, scoop out the centers with a spoon before slicing.

3 long cucumbers or 5 medium, peeled
1 sweet green pepper
1 sweet red pepper
1 medium onion
1 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons celery seeds
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar

Cut cucumbers into 1/8” thick slices. Cut pepper in half, remove seeds and thinly slice pepper. Peel onion, cut in half and thinly slice. Mix cucumber, pepper and onion slices with salt and celery seed. Let stand for one hour. Combine sugar and vinegar, pour over vegetables, mix well, cover and refrigerate. Pickles are ready to eat in about a day. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. This makes about 5 cups of delicious bread and butter type pickles. Sometimes, Keane reduces the sugar, uses fresh dill instead of celery seed or adds a spicy pepper to the mixture. It’s wonderful to have a jar of these to pull out of the refrigerator on a summer day. It’s good enough for lunch, especially with a scoop of cottage cheese on the side.

Arugula & Rigatoni “Old Website”

Arugula with Rigatoni with tomato sauce was a standby on the old Nichols Garden Nursery website. I’m starting to catalog these for easy reference on this blog.

When you have arugula or “garden rocket” growing, try this delicious pasta recipe. The arugula flavor mellows when combined with the hot pasta and rich sauce. If arugula is starting to bolt and becoming strongly flavored try this dish.

Arugula & Rigatoni with Tomato Sauce
4 cups arugula leaves washed, drained and trimmed
1 pound uncooked rigatoni pasta
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
3 garlic cloves pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
salt & pepper to taste

Tear washed and trimmed arugula into generous bite-sized pieces and toss into a large, shallow, heat resistant serving dish. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until barely tender. Remove and drain. While the pasta is cooking prepare this easy tomato sauce: Heat olive oil and stir garlic around until softened and fragrant. Add tomatoes and seasonings and heat to a simmer. Remove bay leaf. Combine the hot, drained pasta with the tomato sauce and pour over the bed of arugula. Lightly toss all together and quickly serve with grated parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.

Growing arugula: a small packet of seed will provide many harvests of arugula. Start sowing every two to three weeks beginning in spring. When summer heats up make your plantings in semi-shade or just move your container from full sun. Arugula will keep growing until frost and the flowers are also good for garnishing and salads.

Violet Jelly

The elusive sweet fragrance of violets tells us spring is really here to stay. I love the way they naturalize in a garden with clumps spreading here and there. Not only are violets charming they are edible. I recently made a single layer cake, dusted it with powdered sugar and sprinkled it with violets.
Our old website had a number of archived recipes that I will gradually add to this one.
Violets are beginning to appear in our garden. When we first saw our present home, the garden was awash in violet blossoms. Our daughter, who was then barely three, knelt down in the purple carpet to smell their perfume, forever creating a picture in our minds. In spring, we like to make violet jelly. This recipe is adapted from Stalking The Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons. If you are interested in additional violet recipes, look for his book which contains six more.
2 cups fresh violets
2 cups boiling water
juice of one lemon (4 tablespoons)
1 package of powdered pectin
4 cups sugar

Make an infusion with violets and water by placing your blossoms in a glass jar and covering them with boiling water. Put a lid on the jar, and set aside for 24 hours. The infusion will turn a murky bluish green. Strain and discard the violets. Add the lemon juice to the violet infusion, and it transforms to a clear lavender pink. Stir in powdered pectin, and bring to a boil. Add 4 cups sugar, bring to a boil again, and boil vigorously for one minute. Skim if necessary. Pour into sterile jars and seal. Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups jelly.

Unsweetened Pumpkin Tart – The Citrouillat

Unsweetened Pumpkin Tart – The Citrouillat
It was in the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook that we first encountered an unsweetened pumpkin pie. While this tart contains a bit of butter it’s far less rich than Alice’s with a cup of heavy cream and rich crust.
This recipe is from our old website and I will begin adding these to this blog.

Pastry
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add yeast to lukewarm water with 1/4 cup flour. Stir and let sit in a mixing bowl until bubbly, about ten minutes. Mix 2 tablespoons butter and egg into yeast mixture. Gently add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. It should have the consistency of a soft dough. Do not knead because you do not want to develop the gluten. Form into two balls one slightly smaller than the other. Roll out the larger piece and place in an oiled 10” springform pan or ceramic tart dish. Brush with some of remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover loosely with a damp kitchen towel. Set dough for top crust aside until you are ready to fill the tart.

Pumpkin Filling

2 pounds pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and diced in 3/4inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons instant rice or 1/4 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese

Sprinkle pumpkin or squash with salt and cook in a steamer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain steamed pumpkin in a colander while onion is cooking. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet set on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is tender and translucent about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, thyme, sage, and pepper. Adjust heat to medium high and staute, stirring occasionally until pumpkin dice barely begin to break apart. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir in rice and cheese and place filling in shell. Lightly roll out the top crust and cover, pinching the edges well together, brush with remaining butter. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes on the medium rack until golden brown. Let sit on a cooling rack for ten minutes before serving. Serve warm or cooled as a picnic dish.

Usually I substitute winter squash for pumpkins since most have a richer flavor and are drier than pumpkins. Nevertheless, there’s always room in the garden for a few pumpkins. Create a nice mound of loose soil. Scoop out the center and plant your seeds. The depression in the center makes water just a little easier since it doesn’t run off the slope.