Cooking kale in the cold

My husband is a carpenter, and every year around Christmas he gets 1-2 weeks off (depending on where in the week Christmas day falls). It’s such a nice break for him! We don’t go away during this time off, but spend some family time together, cross things off our “to do” list and spend some time being lazy. This year, his time off has meant getting to spend extra time with A.J., time he usually doesn’t get with the exception of weekends (never long enough) or evenings (i.e. the cranky hours…). With him around, I get to spend more time in the kitchen cooking leisurely rather than keeping one eye on the stove and one eye on the kid.

Before Christmas, my mom received a huge garbage bag full of kale. Knowing she wouldn’t use it all, she gave most of it to me. The extent of my cooking with kale is using it for boerenkool or stamppot. A delicious Dutch potato meal accompanied by a variety of vegetables (I usually use kale and carrots) and sausage. My husband, whose primary ethnicity is British, loves stamppot. The other day we bought “bangers” sausage and I joked that we were blending our ethnicities: bangers and mash meets stamppot. Beyond boerenkool/stamppot, I haven’t really cooked with a lot of kale… I don’t like it raw, and I tend to default to spinach when cooking. But with a huge garbage bag full of kale, there’s only so much stamppot one can make! image1

I first cut the leaves off the stems and washed it all. I ended up with 3+ large zip bags full. This way I could freeze it and use it as needed.

image3Disclaimer before we continue… I am no food blogger. My recipes are usually “make it up as I go” and my pictures are far from beautiful. You’ve been warned.

I tried my hand at making kale chips. They were actually tastier than I thought they were going to be! I burned a couple… But I could see myself making them again. Mark came home, tried one and said “they’re all yours…”

One of my favourite meals to make is quiche. I love how versatile it is! I tend to make it different every time I make it depending on what veggies and cheese I have in the house. After A.J. was born and friends/family were kind enough to bring us meals, a friend even brought us a shrimp quiche – something I never would have thought of making!

Admittedly, I don’t make my own crust… I usually just don’t think to make my own from scratch. I’ll want to make a dessert, buy store-made pie crusts with two in the box, and usually make a quiche with the second. I typically put spinach in my quiche when I have it in the house. When I posted a question on an online parenting group I’m part of asking for recipe suggestions that use kale, someone suggested trying to substitute spinach with kale in my cooking. Quiche seemed like the obvious experiment for me. image4One of the things I love best about cooking with kale (and spinach) is the vibrant green colour it turns while it’s cooking. In this case, it’s cooking with mushroom and onion. I love cooked onions… *drool* I usually like to use feta in my quiche recipes, but as long as the recipe incorporates some sort of cheese, I’m not too picky about which kind! In this case, I was stuck with mozzarella (the only kind I had in the house). image5Keeping in mind that I often make it up as I go along while cooking (or “fake it till I make it…”), here is a basic quiche recipe that I’ve developed (mixing elements of a variety of recipes I’ve used over the years).

Fake it till you make it basic quiche recipe“Fake it till ya make it” Basic Quiche

Ingredients

  • Pie shell (I typically use frozen… My next mission: make my own pie shell…)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Veggies of your choosing!
    I like to use a mixture of a couple of handfuls of kale or spinach, a small onion, a cup of mushrooms, etc. The more veggies you use, the more filling you’ll have, so measure as you wish! I told you I make it up as I go… Start with my suggested measurements if you want. Mark really loves brocolli and onion.
  • 1/2 cup of cheese (or more! I love cheese…).  A sharp cheddar is a good choice, so is feta.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • 4 eggs (though last time I made it, I only used 2 jumbo eggs that had double yolks in them each, and it turned out great. The grocery store had run out of large eggs a couple of days before Christmas…).
  • 1 cup of dairy.   One recipe I used said to use 1/2 cup of milk and cream each. This last batch of quiche I used a full cup of A.J.’s whole milk. If you’re counting calories, you may want to use just milk, otherwise splurge and add some cream!

Directions

  1. In a frying pan/skillet, heat the olive oil. Add your veggies starting with those that may need extra time to cook (I usually start with onions). If you’re using kale or spinach, wait till the last minute or two and just cook until it begins to wilt.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and your dairy and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste (at this point, if you want to add any extra seasoning – onion powder? – feel free to do so!)
  3. Pour the veggie mixture onto the pie crust.
  4. Top the veggies with your cheese.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool and serve.

I really like to freeze quiche for quick meals and find it best to cook and then freeze. After defrosting, you can reheat in oven or microwave.

Tomorrow it’s back to the grind for me and Mark… It is bound to be a busy couple of months for us!

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