Kale, Glorious Kale

A new book, with a little help from her friends.

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Photo by Alison Shaw Photography

Excerpted from “Kale, Glorious Kale” by Catherine Walthers and photographs by Alison Shaw.

I thoroughly enjoy being a cookbook author in a local community. People are so supportive. Both Rusty Gordon from Ghost Island Farm and Debby Farber from Blackwater Farm let me roam their fields and use their kale to test in many dishes. Debby introduced me to baby kale — which is something everyone should try -— it’s so tender and delicious. A lot of the local farmers sell baby kale now at the stands and farmers market and I have a whole chapter of recipes. Early fall is a perfect time to plant baby kale in your garden.

A number of local people contributed recipes as well — Tamara Weiss loves kale and gave me Kale Revolution in a bowl -— a massaged kale salad with lemon, garlic, hazelnuts and goji berries that people love. Chris Fischer has his Kale Caesar Salad in there; and Jim Feiner created a kale-slaw. [There’s also] photographer Randi Baird’s kale farro salad — a favorite of mine, private chef Nicole Cabot’s kale veggie burgers, Jessica Roddy’s kale and feta pizza and cheesemaker Jackee Foster’s kale, cranberry and apple salad. I got some great ideas — such as the kale latkes from my friend Sarah Vail, and a tortilla kale soup idea from Laura Roosevelt. People are so supportive on the Island — I run into people all the time who make recipes from previous books and send books to their friends. Of course, this is the third book I’ve done with Alison and I feel very lucky to have her translating my recipes into photos…  And of course, my husband Dave and son, who ate kale with me each and everyday during a six month kale testing period (140 days straight).

Kale, Bean and Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

This is a quick-cooking soup ready in less than 45 minutes to make use of fall garden or farmer’s market vegetables, including your kale.  I enjoy the bright green hue of kale cooked separately in this soup. To skip that extra step, add kale directly to soup after it’s simmered for 10 minutes.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 whole leek, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced

2 cups butternut squash, cut into 3/4 inch dice

4 carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 celery stalks, diced

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

6 cups water

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices, or 1 cup freshly roasted home tomatoes

5 cups kale, (about 1 small bunch), stalks removed, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed well with hot water

Salt and pepper

1. In a soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the leek, butternut squash, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until leek is wilted, 8 – 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chili powder and oregano and stir 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

2. Add the water, a few pinches of salt and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are cooked, but not falling apart.

3. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan and cook the kale, covered, in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, and add to soup, along with beans. Season with additional salt, until the flavors pop, and pepper.

Butternut Squash, Kale and Corn

Serves 4

This is an attractive combo of three fall favorites, especially in that period when squash comes to markets, but fresh local Morning Glory Farm corn is still available. If you can’t find fresh corn – which does add a nice light crunch – try the Cascadian Farms frozen corn. We love this side dish with seared scallops and a basil or lemon sauce.

1/2 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stalks, chopped into bite-sized pieces ( 4 to 5 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 -3/4-inch dice (3 -4 cups)

2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper

1 lime, quartered

1. In a large skillet with a lid, bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the kale. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until tender, 4 – 6 minutes, depending on the kale. Drain in a colander, shaking a few times, to release steam and stop the cooking.

2. Dry the skillet and add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the butternut squash and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked without falling apart, about 15 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt while cooking. (The pan should be large enough to fit squash in a single layer). Add the corn, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper and cook 4 to 5 additional minutes, until corn is cooked. When ready to serve, add the kale back into the pan and stir gently to warm. Add another pinch of salt for the kale. Squeeze a little lime into the dish or pass lime wedges around for people to squeeze their own.

Event

Alison Shaw and Catherine Walthers will be signing copies of their new book on Sunday, September 7, 4-6 PM at the Alison Shaw Gallery, Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs. www.alisonshaw.com. In addition to books, and Alison’s “Best of” new work from the 2014 season, Cathy will be providing taste samples of kale recipes from the book.