Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Orange Blaster & Working with Curly Kale
I tried a new green smoothie...and loved it!!
I have been stuck on Sour Mango + Spinach smoothie and slight variations of it.
My kids even like this green smoothie. And I hope that you do, too.
Because the foundation of this Orange Blaster green smoothie is Curly Kale, and because I keep talking about chopped kale salads in June Salad-a-day challenge month, I thought I would do an informational post on working with kale.
Enjoying kale in green smoothies, like this Orange Blaster, is a great way to get started and get hooked.
It seems that there are really only two types of people when it comes to kale. Those who love it and use it every day, and those who know nothing about it at all. A year ago I was in the previous camp: I knew absolutely NOTHING about kale -- in fact, I didn't even know it existed. I wished that somebody out there would have written about how to work with it, because this stuff isn't second nature for most people.
After learning about it, eating it, and loving it, my new motto is: "Kale -- when Spinach isn't green enough."
But really, after eating greens for so long, you start wanting just a tad stronger of a green kick than before. Is that the definition of addiction? You keep needing a stronger hit??? Eeek. ANYWAY!
Step 1: Choose the right kale.
I show you this sticker because you can make sure the produce you are buying is organic by checking it's number code. If it begins with the number 9, it is organic.
If you are going to love kale, you have GOT TO BUY IT ORGANIC AND FRESH! So no discolored brown or yellow leaves. The only place I am happy with buying my kale is at Whole Foods Market, or at a local organic farmer's market.
I tried other kale from Sunflower, etc, that was not organic, and it was pretty rubbery and just downright yucky. Trust me on this one.
Step 2: Wash your kale.
Unless you like eating bugs and dirt.
There are always little tiny bugs in the bath water left behind from washing my kale in the kitchen sink. Yes, you are eating foods from the earth. Wash it. I let it soak, and then rub two kale leaves together to create the friction to get it clean. Then I plunge and shake the kale under water. Rinse and let dry in my colander. Gets'em pretty clean.
Step 3: Remove the kale leaves from the inedible, thick stalk.
Aaah I love this step. Happy sigh. It's pretty fun. Yes, I love my kale.
Start at the base of the kale. Using your right hand, grip the base of the stalk firmly.
With your left hand, pinch the stalk and in a quick motion, pull downward while keeping your forefinger and thumb pinched tightly around the stalk.
You should have a bunch of kale leaves, and a bunch of useless stalks. They've served their purpose... your leaves will have a tiny bit of stalk attached at the top but that is okay because they are small and edible.
At this point you can throw your kale leaves into the blender, or put it on a cutting board and chop it up for a salad. I chop mine up pretty well and find that it is easier to chew that way. You can also keep it whole and steam it in water on the stove-top. Steamed kale can be used in sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and other main dishes. You could even put it in your Mac N' Cheese.
1 bunch kale
1 cup water
1 clove of garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon bragg's liquid aminos
Prepare kale as mentioned above, then bring to a boil on the stove and then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
I crave this green smoothie quite often, and find that it is energizing and refreshing.
Orange Blaster Green Smoothie
From Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan!
1 to 1 1/2 cups of kale leaves, washed and stalks removed (If you can handle more greens, go ahead, I actually add 4 cups of tightly packed kale to my smoothies. As a beginner, I recommend you stick with the 1 cup, smashed down tight)
1 cup peach, nectarine, or mango chunks (I used frozen, pre-cut from Trader Joe's)
Two oranges, peeled, or run through your citrus juicer (I add the pulp, too)
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1/2 to 3/4 cup of frozen banana
1/2 cup of vanilla, non-dairy yogurt (OPTIONAL; I find it tastes good either way)
1-2 cups of ice
Plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.
Starting with your greens, throw all of the measured ingredients into your blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Enjoy cold and share with everyone!
[8/14/2012 UPDATE]: Lacinato Kale tastes even better in this smoothie - it is slightly less bitter than Curly Kale. I recommend Lacinato (also called Dino Kale) especially to those transitioning or just starting to eat more leafy greens.