October 29, 2015
Sharon Watts Makes It Up As She Goes
Like nearly every other vegetarian, I had jumped on the kale bandwagon (“Hail, Kale!”) a
few years ago. I wondered if I could grow it myself in my tiny garden plot, before the
caterpillars, beetles, slugs, and ground hogs beat me to the lunch. I bought a little 4-pack
last spring, and I’m still chopping!
Normally I am insecure about my paltry instinctive cooking talents. Recipe cards have
followed me all the way from childhood. My original Moosewood Cookbook is still
hanging in there, by a few binding threads. However, improvisation is now a key
ingredient of my kitchen repertoire: I have discovered the magical pairing of kale
This dynamic duo can be added to with whatever is available, or left on its own--tarted up
to perfection with a healthy splash of olive oil and an even healthier splash of vinegar.
After that you can add other cooked veggies, dried fruits, seeds and/or nuts, chopped
tomatoes, herbs and spices, etc. according to your whim, or what’s in season.
Basic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Sweet Red Peppers (serves 4-6).
· Olive oil
· 2 garlic cloves
· 1/2 onion
· Sea salt
· Peppers if you have them
· 1 cup quinoa
· 2 cups veggie broth
· Vinegar (the good stuff--not what you clean windows with)
1. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil in a pan or pot on low-to-medium heat. Add garlic, onion,
and chopped kale--as much as you want. (Make sure the base of the stem is
removed first or you will be chewing for a while. I just slice the tough part out
and save the leaves).
2. Shake sea salt in to taste.
3. Add chopped peppers.
4. Add fresh oregano and/or thyme if you have it. Herbs help this dish to twinkle.
Bring the heat up a bit but watch and stir so nothing scorches. Add a little bit of
broth or water if it seems too dry. Meanwhile, you can make the quinoa.
5. Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring to a boil. Add veggie broth or water, then
lower to a slow simmer with lid cracked. This should take about 20 minutes until
liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.
6. Add the sauté kale-veggie mix to the quinoa. Stir.
7. Add 1/4 cup each of olive oil and vinegar (more or less, depending how juicy you
want it). Salt and pepper to taste.
8. I always splash more vinegar every time I dish it out. It brightens the taste. You
can serve on mesclun, as a side dish or a full meal. For an Indian slant, add curry,
golden raisins, and a bit of coconut milk.
I’ve come a long way from my childhood staple of iceberg lettuce, Russian dressing, and
Bac~Os. And I have kale and quinoa to thank!
Sharon Watts is a seasoned contributing artist and writer to YogaCityNYC. See her work at Sharon Watts Creative and www.sharonwattswrites.com.