Saturday, January 15, 2011

Green Means Go

I have been absent from blogging for too long.  Life in general and, especially, a book project, had left me pressed for time.  My apologies but when you hear more about the book, I hope you will think it was worth the blogging break.  Intrigued?  Click the link above and learn more now.

Today I had two great green food experiences.  One was cooking an old favorite - kale - a new way.  The second was my introduction to an entirely new food for me - sea beans.

First the kale.  Kale is  one of my favorite foods, sauteed, raw, in green drinks.  I just love it.  And Henry really likes it too, which is great because kale's nutritional profile is a strong one - it is a veggie superstar.  A few days ago, an email from Elana Amsterdam's blog dropped in my inbox with an enticing recipe for sea salt and vinegar kale chips. As an aside, if you are not familiar with Elana's blog, Elana's Pantry, or her cookbook, especially if you are gluten-free, they are definitely worth checking out.  The kale chips took only minutes to make and are delish!  You toss a small bit of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt with the kale in a bowl and bake in the oven (details are in the link).  I have to confess that I was eating pieces of it right out of the bowl (I told you that I love kale!)  I haven't been able to get H to try one, but hopefully soon.  And if he doesn't want them, more for me! The photo above are a few of my sea salt and vinegar kale chips.

These are sea beans, or salicornia:

Apparently they have been showing up in farmers' markets and gourmet shops the past few years and I have missed them... lost, sea bean-free years I shall never get back.  Very sad.  But now I know them and will definitely pick some up when I see them.  These are wonderfully crisp little gems that taste of the sea (read: salty) but also with a clean vegetable taste.  I just looked through a bunch of my vegetable and raw foods cookbooks and nary a mention of sea beans, so I may not be the only one missing out.  Gothamist pointed me to Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini as a source of information.  This out of print book looks really amazing - a combination of vegetable encyclopedia and recipe book - I might use of one of my gift cards to get this.  Given there saltiness, I would think that those on a salt-restricted regimen might have to be careful with these.

I have been eating handfuls of them all afternoon since returning from the Whole Foods in Darien, CT with a bag full of them.  This is a stop we frequently make on our way home from visits to Darin Ingels, ND, who is helping both H and me with allergy/immune system issues.  Today we found not only the sea beans but also emu eggs (alongside the more familiar quail and duck eggs).  The emu eggs were huge and colored a deep blue-green - not unlike a really huge avocado.  And not inexpensive ($29+ each!).  I am not sure what one does with them - my googling suggests what you do with other eggs but that one is like a dozen+ chicken eggs.  Yikes! Nonetheless, they were lovely to look at, just not practical for our family.