Visit our archive

I travel, to Europe mostly, as I have family living over there. And I love it, well, most of it. Every time I go to Europe, I have to load up on vitamins before I go, so they last me while I’m there.

Somehow, Europeans have forgotten a bunch of vegetables, and only eat roots and starches, and some salad in the winter. The summer isn’t much better. Yes, there’s salad (some, not all we’re used to in the States), and there’s broccoli, and spinach. Both are real boring and not really packed with vitamins.

So, this time, before I left for Europe, I loaded up on vitamins and lots and lots of collard greens (yeah, this doesn’t even exist in Europe, but I did finally see it in Michigan this year, yay Michigan!), in every possible way, as well as lots of kale.

I took my flight to Europe resigned to the fact that my nutrition is going to go kablooey while I’m here, and I packed a bunch of micronutrients, naturally chelated ultra minerals & probiotics to take with me. Anyway, I wanted to make sure I don’t go all anemic and pass out, like I did last time I went to Europe.

Imagine my surprise when I go shopping at Migros (a grocery chain kinda like Kroger/Publix – sorry, my references are mostly East Coast) and see KALE. I stopped and POINTED to it, reverted to the LOUD AMERICAN in me in excitement, hehe. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was there, before me, untouched by any other shopper, a fresh box of packed kale. I went all end-of-the-world on it, and bought it all, all 3 huge bags of it. Went home, ecstatic, got my Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad recipe out and made a healthy, nutritious, and vibrant green salad to bring to the New Year’s party the next day.

I showed up with my Kale Caesar salad and dressing, and there wasn’t one person there that knew what to do with it (house party in Geneva, Switzerland), what it was, how to eat it, etc. So, I showed them :-) AND they ate… and came back for seconds. They ate all of it.

Nobody knew what it was. And like Huffington Post says (and I am paraphrasing): Americans are crazy about kale, and we are. Well, the health nuts like me, the ones that care about nutrition are. You hear dairy-free, or Whole30, or #Paleo, you’ll hear of kale. If you care at all about your health, you’ll hear of kale.

Here’s a bit about kale:

It is an incredibly nutritions leafy-green vegetable, related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts. There are multiple varietals of  kale, like Red Russian Kale, Lacinato Kale, Red Monarch Kale, Blue Scotch Kale, shown in the picture below. It packed with cancer fighting compounds, and a vitamines like: glucosinolate isothiocyanate (helps combat Helicobacter pylori bacteria), flavonoids & carotenoids (fights oxidative stress caused by free radicals), omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflamatory), vitamin K (fortifies bones and aids in coagulation), dietary fiber (reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels), vitamin A (improves immunity and vision), vitamin C (improves immunity, helps recharge beta-carotene and vit E).
*This is NOT a medical opinion, or a nutritionist’s opinion.

 
Here’s what the Huffington Post (the French one) is saying about it in this article from August 2013 (in #french):

Kale, le chou qui a rendu fous les Américains

Plus de vitamine C qu’une orange et plus de calcium qu’un verre de lait

60g de kale représentent 134% de la quantité de vitamine C recommandée pour chaque jour. En comparaison, dans une orange (131g) il n’y a “que” 113% de vitamine C. Le kale est aussi une excellente source de vitamine A. Quant au calcium, c’est bien simple, dans 100g de kale, il y a 150mg de calcium, contre 125mg dans un verre de lait. Difficile de faire mieux, au niveau nutritionnel, ce petit chou vert a tout bon.

Des chips au chou

Pour ce qui est du goût, le kale n’en manque pas non plus. Pour les amateurs de chou, pas vraiment de surprise, pour ceux qui font la grimace devant ce type de légumes, les Américains ont déjà trouvé tout un tas de recettes pour l’accommoder. Les chips de Kale font un tabac par exemple. A en croire Gwyneth Paltrow, rien de plus simple, il suffit d’enlever les côtes, de déchirer les feuilles en morceaux et de les assaisonner avec de l’huile d’olive et du sel et de la passer au four pendant 10 minutes.

… “

Kudoos to Kristen Beddard of TheKaleProject.com (an American living in France, in-love with kale even more so than I) for working so hard to bring kale to France, mainly Paris. I hope that because of her work, and the work of all others here in Europe that know kale by now, we can bring back this forgotten leafy-green vegetable to the tables of more Europeans, as a staple, not a fad.

TUSCAN KALE CAESAR SALAD

Kale Caesar Sala Here’s my favorite recipe, and the one that will get you started too (if you have a bit of a calling as a cook, try this recipe and adapt it for your needs): Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad. Feel free to adapt it to whatever you’re most partial to. Add more eggs. It can take it. Add more anchovies. It can take it. Add more garlic. It wants more.
Also, massage your kale. Especially in a salad. It’s a hardy vegetable, and it needs a bit of TLC (tender loving care, aka, a good massage) to be fully enjoyed. Massage your kale (go ahead, laugh, get it out of your system, lol) when you’re washing it. Crunch it a few times in your hands, and it’s all good. Here we go:

 

recipe: Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled
  • 14 ounces Tuscan kale or other kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)

preparation

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Separate egg white from yolk. Place egg white in a coarse-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press egg white through strainer with the back of a spoon; scrape egg white from bottom of strainer. Repeat with egg yolk, using a clean strainer and bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover bowls separately and chill.

Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and sieved eggs.

—–

 

Suggestions for serving and prepping:

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Protein heavy:
– Make it dairy free by removing the parmesan and adding an extra hard boiled egg to the dressing (instead of using it for decoration), to thicken the sauce.
– It is gluten free, so you’re good there. You could add croutons, but why spoil such a beautiful thing?
– Also, you can add protein, like with any Caesar Salad, you can add grilled chicken breast. Some people add seared salmon, but I think that anchovies are enough of a fishy taste for this dish. The grilled chicken breast is just perfect, if you don’t feel like you are getting enough protein from the eggs alone.

This recipe was my go-to recipe during the #Whole30 month. It is divine, full of flavor, packed with nutrients, and you’re not craving anything after this meal.

So Switzerland, welcome to the world of Kale. Try it any way you want, but try it. Here’s some more recipes:

from Martha Stewart: Winter Produce/ Kale
from Epicurious: Kale Recipes
from Food Network: Kale Recipes

and for you FRENCH speaking friends, here are a bunch of recipes in French from AllRecipes

 

written by: Monica Antohi
*This is NOT a medical opinion, or a nutritionist’s opinion. This is a blog post about kale, my view, from my own experience.