Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kale, Glorious Kale

I had heard of kale chips but actually never tried them till at a friend's house last week. Ooh, very delish and addicting. What a great way to use a vege that sometimes confounds me in our csa share. Following is a very easy recipe for this fun and healthy snack. Followed by another for Zuppa Toscana, a hearty soup using fabulous Vitamin C & A rich kale. Buon appetito!

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and thoroughly dry the kale (salad spinning followed by air-drying on a towel works great), remove large stems, toss with olive oil in a bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool and enjoy.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb turkey sausage
sliced red potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups kale, chopped
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 quart water
1 cup milk
ground pepper to taste.

Cook sausage and set aside. Place potatoes, chicken broth, water, onions & garlic in pot, and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage & pepper to taste and simmer another 10 min. Lower heat and add kale & milk. Heat thoroughly & serve.

Some Zuppa Toscana recipes call for cream, but 2% milk worked well here. Also, Jeff, who can't have onions & garlic (such a bummer), found his onion & garlic free soup very tasty and even better the next day. Kale is flavorful, wonderful stuff!

Note: both recipes adapted from a variety of sources.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've been catching up on hee-larious 30 Rock of late. That's right, already hitting New Year's goals hard. Thank you, Netflix. I love the episode when Jack and Frank bond over their absentee dad history (“Goodbye, My Friend”). Their connection is juxtaposed by the friendship Liz forms with a pregnant young woman and her understandably super-freaked-out boyfriend.

The episode was timely. I have a recent FB status that goes like this: “While dropping Carter off at preschool this am, he told me that he was going to play in the 'house' center today. And be a dad. A good dad like his dad.” I'm so exceedingly grateful that Carter & Jessica have an attentive, loving dad. Even as a single dad to Jess, Jeff made great effort to “be there.” It seems, no matter what the family dynamics might be, it's the being there, or “showing up” piece that often means the most.

I received some “return to sender / no longer at this address” mail recently. It was a Christmas card that I had sent to my biological dad. Our shared history is that he was absent from my life till a phone call when I was 15, then absent again till 26, then around for a little while (unfortunately with what felt like unrealistic, presumptive expectations of me, but that's another story), then kind of gone again but leaving me with a PO box address to stay in touch. Thus the holiday cards sent over the past decade. To get one back is like a re-rejection. I'm good, though—at 40, I can honestly say that much of that is processed and I wish him happiness. And I've been blessed anyway with a great family and a lot of love. But what another juxtaposition, to receive such mail, and the sweet moment when my 4 year old son wanted to emulate his “Papa.”

If you relate, maybe watch the 30 Rock episode I'm referring to, and have a good laugh-cry. And if you're a parent wondering about your role in your kid's life, here's my best 2 cents: just be there.