(Becky the Mama)
As Kermit the Frog would say, “It’s not easy being green.” Only around here, the saying goes, “It is not easy to get my family to eat green things.” If, God forbid, a stray piece of “green stuff” – from chopped basil to green onions or kale – should land on my husband’s plate, he looks at me as though I’ve betrayed him…. with malice and forethought.
Thankfully children are more easily tricked… er… uh… persuaded. I told my grandson George that, together, we were going to make Green Popcorn. He was all in, as he loves to participate in any kind of “cooking with Nonny.” I had him tear the leaves off a bunch of kale into bite-sized pieces, then we rinsed them lightly and I let him spin the salad spinner, which one of his favorite kitchen tools. We then tossed the leaves in a bowl of olive oil and melted butter (butter helps give it the popcorn-taste) spread them on cookie sheets, sprinklee them with just a tiny bit of sea salt and baked until they were light as a feather. In fact, kale will almost fly off the cookie sheet after baking.
For extra fun I put them in popcorn bags, and sure enough, George LOVED them and asked for more. He ate almost a whole bunch of kale in one sitting. With this success behind me, I went after my husband in Sam-I-Am style. “You know that a lie I cannot tell, you will SO love green popcorn kale… “ He was willing to sample them and before he knew it he’d eaten the whole bowl.
“What do you think?”
“It really does taste like popcorn. I could eat this as a snack now and again quite happily.”
Eureka! Dr. Furhman, author of many books and PBS health guru, lists kale as the #1 food to help boost immunity and fight cancer. It’s got more iron than beef, lots of Vitamin C and K, is high in fiber and full of antioxidants. I’m posting this blog on St. Patty’s day, so you could tell you children that you are going to make some Leprechaun treats! Hey, whatever it takes to get your family to eat their greens and come back to report that they were “magically delicious”.
P.S. As long as we are nourishing our body with green things, here’s another lovely green thing you can acquire to nourish your heart, mind and soul!
1 bunch fresh kale, leaves torn off of stem into chip-sized pieces
1 T. olive oil
1 t. butter, melted
Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
Rinse the torn up kale leaves then dry them very well in a salad spinner or blotting them on with clean tea towel. Toss them with clean hands in a bowl with the olive oil and butter. Spread the leaves out on a big flat cookie sheet, so they are just barely touching. Use two cookie sheets if needed.
Sprinkle VERY LIGHTLY with sea salt. (Just a pinch for the whole pan. Because the kale shrinks up it is easy to over-salt them.) Bake about 8 -10 minutes. Stay near the oven and check them often. When they are light as a feather and starting to brown and get crispy, remove them and let them cool to the touch. We like them still warm and fragrant, served in popcorn bowls or bags as a snack. They also make nice crispy toppings for soups or pasta dishes.
(Becky, the Mama.)
So, this is the story of how I ended up eating an ENTIRE CAN of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in one sitting yesterday.
My daughter’s slow and steady vegan influence upon me seems to have caught fire of late. Either that or I had some really awful meat-based meals last week. We went away to a hotel for fives days so that I could finish up my part of some detailed edits on our upcoming memoir, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook.
During my self-imposed confinement I ordered an “Asian Salad” from the hotel café –which turned out to be tasteless squares of chicken tossed in wilty Iceberg lettuce with a thick flavorless mayo-based dressing. Later, hope still afloat, I ordered a gyro, which was made from salt-less pre-cooked dry roast beef chips smothered a sauce that tasted of thickened water. I arrived home a few days later with a sudden and strange aversion to anything cut from cow or fowl. I almost kissed my fridge and pantry, so happy was I not to be at the mercy of restaurant cooks who are lacking in taste buds.
Searching for a quick meatless meal, I remembered that Rachel roasts chick peas in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoning. They are yummy and easy. “I’ll make some roasted chickpeas!” I said to myself. “I’ll get loads of protein and fiber and I won’t have to eat meat today.” (There are 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in ½ cup of garbanzos, and a scant 125 calories.)
Well, one idea led to another and by the time I finished, I created a snack that I could not stop eating until every single bean (or pea) was gone. It began when I decided to try sautéing the garbanzos in olive oil in my trusty iron skillet. Then I threw in some sliced fresh garlic near the end of the cooking time so they could turn a golden brown (but not burn) and add extra flavor and crunch. After draining them on a paper towel, I squiggled a touch of agave nectar over them to give the beans and garlic a light sweet, sticky surface then sprinkled them with sea salt and Parmesan cheese.
These little snacks have it all going on: some crunch, some chewiness, some garlic, some salty and savory, and just a hint of sweet. They can be eaten out of hand or tossed on a salad or atop a pasta for a quick vegan or vegetarian treat.
They would go fantastic with an ice cold beer at a Super Bowl party this weekend for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. (Although vegans will need to use Vegan Parmesan Cheese, found at most health food stores. I keep this on hand for Rachel and Jared and it’s quite tasty.)
Golden Parmesan Chickpeas & Garlic Slices
1 16 oz can chick peas (or garbanzo beans), drained (I do this on a paper towel to get them as dry as possible)
¼ cup olive oil
3 to 5 garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you like your food) peeled and sliced thin
2 t. agave nectar
Sea Salt to taste
Parmesan Cheese to taste (start with 1 Tablespoon and add more if you like)
Pour oil into a skillet and heat until very hot. Put chickpeas in skillet and let them get brown on most sides. Just before the chickpeas are ready to take out of the skillet, add the garlic slices and sauté until brown. (If the pain is dry, you can add more oil at any time.)
Drain the chick peas and garlic on a paper towel. Put into a bowl and gently toss with agave nectar. Add sea salt and Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Excellent source of protein and fiber atop salads, sandwiches or pasta.
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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook