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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Kale, how do I love thee?

One, you start with the letter K. Not many vegetables can make that claim (kohlrabi?).

When I was anemic (severely), you called to me, for you are full of iron. Fe on the periodic table, from the Latin, ferrum, meaning, well, iron.

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world? Lack of iron.

The most abundant element on earth? Iron.

Why do you need iron in your body? So your red blood cells can carry oxygen (O). You need 4 Fe molecules per erythrocyte in order to carry one molecule of O2. This is why anemic folks get out of breath (at least I did).

Wait a minute, twinkly, is this the same iron that we see rusting on playground fences and garden tools?

HELL YES! Would I lie to you?

What do you need to absorb iron so your red blood cells can carry oxygen? Something acidic (lemon or orange juice work well). What can interfere with Fe absorption? Among other things, calcium (Ca). The particulars of this get pretty tricky so if you are interested, you should do some of your own research.

What form of iron do humans most successfully absorb? Heme iron, found in red meat, especially liver, also oysters. You can eat a lot of kale and it will help, but it won’t get you out of a severe anemia.

Kale is in the brassica family. It is a cabbage or cruciferous vegetable, named for the shape of the leaves at its base. You can therefore feel virtuous for eating cabbages, getting to the crux of the matter, as it were.

Here’s my basic kale recipe and how I cook my kale almost always, though I do put it in soups and frittatas and egg-and-cheese strata. Me and the mister just love it this way and I think you will, too:

Get yourself a bunch of lacinito kale (aka dinosaur, Tuscan, or black kale)

But twinkly, can’t I use another kind of kale?

NO. This is my blog and you will do as I say and cook as I do.

Here’s why–

the lacinito kale is beautiful and dark, dark green. Its leaves are firmer than the other varieties of kale. It is darker green, so, even though I’m making this up, it stands to reason that it’s higher in vitamin A and all of the B-complex vitamins. It cooks up crunchier than other kale because it’s leaves are so dang firm. No soggy crap!

That tough stem that all kale recipes tell you to remove? You can leave it. You can leave it in all varieties of kale, but especially with the lacinito kale. Yes, you can trim it at the bottom if it is a 1/4 inch or more wide, but leave the rest.

Okay, back to the recipe:

Ingredients:

appx 1 lb fresh lacinito kale, trimmed at the bottom

appx 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (you already know your fats should be organic)

garlic, at least 3 cloves (I like the hard-necked garlic when it’s available) ready for a garlic press

half a lemon

some toasted sesame oil and don’t use the Trader Joe’s stuff because it doesn’t have a shaker-top and it’s not too flavorful to boot

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

good set of metal cooking-tongs (you won’t be using a non-stick pan, right me maties?)

Method:

Grab your big bunch o’ kale

Rinse the leaves. Usually kale is pretty clean of dirt, but sometimes does have some little bugs

After rinsing, leave the leaves full of those beautiful, silvery dew drops of water

Cut your kale into a chiffonade. Use a really good, sharp knife–not serrated,’kay?

(chiffonade is French, but your knife should probably be German)

You don’t have to cut it super-fancy thin, but about 1/8″ is good. You’ll need to cut narrow across, not length-wise

Heat about a TBSP of evoo in a large pan on medium heat, or if your stove gets really hot (I have electric, sorry purists), turn that down a notch. Don’t use a non-stick pan because a. Teflon will kill you (the fumes can kill a bird) and leach icky endocrine-disruptors and hormone mimicers into everything and into everyone’s gonads, even fish and especially amphibians and b. your kale will not sear properly and have a tiny crunch to it.

If you are anemic (menstruating ladies, take heed), you can use a cast-iron pan for extra iron

When your oil has a bit of a sheen on it, throw in the kale. It will sizzle and pop. Take a step back and let the dew do its magic.

While the kale steams a bit in the pan, take your garlic cloves and crush them in a garlic press (I DO sometimes slice my garlic, but I prefer the crushed in this recipe). Throw the garlic onto the kale.

Grab up a tong-full of kale and turn it in the pan a few times. Do this until all of the kale gets a turn: fair is fair. The garlic needs to be distributed evenly.

Grab your half-a-lemon and squeeze some of that baby into your pan. Sizzle, sizzle. Do your guests like a lot of lemon? Use more juice. Keep grabbing up the kale and turning it in the pan.

Take the toasted sesame oil and shake shake shake it onto the kale. Now you can also shake your booty. Put on some James Brown. Now you’re cookin’! Maybe five shakes should do the trick. It’s really a matter of preference.

You can put a pinch or so of sea salt (appx 1/4 tsp) onto the kale and grind some pepper on there, too. Salt seems to go pretty far on kale, not sure why, so don’t overdo it; you can always add more after a taste-test.

That’s about all. I like the kale to have a lot of crunchiness and some signs of searing, but I don’t like it to lose its bright hue. You can cook it so it has no searing or you can cook the living hell out of it like our parents’ generation seemed to do to all green veggies.

HIT IT AND QUIT IT!

Would I lie to you?

photo: ©kgfarthing2011

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I like when my inbox has fewer than 400 emails. I achieved this about 2 weeks ago–was almost down below 384, but it’s slowly inching up. When I first had an email account, I could keep my inbox to 20 and less.

I love acupuncture. I now have a low tolerance for an aggressive needle-technique. I wonder why I was able to deal with painful-er needles for a number of years. My current practitioner is so, so gentle with the needles. Almost as soon as a couple of needles are in, I feel my system re-balance; often I relax and doze. My long-time toyohari practitioner (a Japanese interpretation of acupuncture in which needles are NOT inserted) said that I take treatment well; my body soaks it up and responds easily. It is good medicine for me. I love acupuncture.

The way eggs feel when gathered right out of a nesting box. I like the way the eggs are warm and the way they are smooth. I like the rosy-colored ones and the chalky green ones especially.

I’m struggling today to find things for which I am grateful. Could you tell?

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Twinkly’s Glorious Granola

6 C rolled oats (I get them in bulk, filling up my huge, glass pickle-jar with the tare weight deducted)
1/2 C chopped, toasted almonds (I use the sliced-variety from Trader Joe’s, though I hate the wasteful packaging)
1/2 C flaked coconut (not shredded, but use what is most texturally pleasant to you)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients, taking special care to get the very dry cinnamon all over everything else. I also like to crunch up the almonds into smaller bits (it’s a very satisfying sensory experience to do this with bare hands). In a small saucepan, add coconut oil and honey and heat on medium- low until well-blended. Add coconut oil, honey, and vanilla to dry ingredients. Mix until dry ingredients are coated. Grease a 13″x9″ pan with coconut oil. Spread granola evenly in pan. Bake the whole schmear for appx 30 minutes. Midway through baking, stir granola and turn pan for even cooking. Check frequently in the last 15 minutes so granola doesn’t burn.

Remove from oven, cool, and ENJOY! I eat mine with vanilla yogurt every morning for health and happiness.

NOTES:

Granola burns easily. Either check frequently or lower baking temp to 300 or 325 and increase cooking time.

This is a basic and versatile recipe and you can add almost any yummy addition your heart desires, such as 1/2 C sesame seeds, 1/2 C roasted sunflower seeds, 1/2 C dried fruit. The original recipe called for 1/2 C of toasted wheat germ and 1/2 C of wheat bran, but when I experimented with giving up wheat a few years back, I dropped these ingredients and grew to love it even more without them.
This recipe came to me by way of George Hart (I believe it was his mother’s), with a few tweakings by me. I’ve been making this for over 25 years and have never strayed from its path of righteousness. So much better than that over-priced, store-bought crap. Except for a few kinds of locally-made granola I’ve found–Anatola Granola from Hawaii, something from the little grocery in Germany, and a recent discovery down in Southwest F-L-A.

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