I am always on the lookout for new preparations which include leafy greens full of Lutein. Lutein and its close relative zeaxanthin are carotenoid nutrients only made by plants to protect them from over exposure to light. In humans, dietary lutein is absorbed from the bloodstream specifically into the macula which has the highest metabolic demand in the body. It makes sense and indeed, studies have shown that people who have high lutein blood levels are 25% less likely to develop advanced MD.
Here are a couple of “treasures “ using lightly cooked kale. Kale has the highest rating for lutein I know; 1.1mg/cup. 2x the amount recommended! There are several types of kale the most delicious are Russian kale, small oak leaf shaped leaves and Lacinato, dark green long and crinkly and of the common Curley variety found in most food stores., My best way to prepare kale is to wash it and spin dry. Cut the tough center stem out and stack the cut leaves in a pile. Roll the stack cigar style and cut across the width to get thin strips 1/8” wide. For a 2 cup amount of cut strips, place in a large mixing bowl and massage into it a generous teaspoon of olive oil and a large pinch of salt. It will wilt a little and be ready for any cooked or raw recipe. Do this in advance to avoid a last minute rush.
GARLIC BUTTER RICE WITH KALE
I found this recipe at “recipe tin” by Nagi, a terrific cooking blog into which you should look. I have changed it slightly;
1 cup rice. Basmati recommended but Carolina or Jasmine will do
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 teas salt
1 tbs butter or olive oil
4 cups KALE. Stemmed and finely shredded as above
In a tight fitting medium pot, saute the garlic in the butter and add the rice.
Raise the heat and gently stir the rice a minute or two until some grains turn opaque white. Add the salt and the chicken stock and let it come to a full boil. Turn the heat to simmer and cover closely. Check the rice after 15 minutes if done, add the kale, cover closely again and turn off the heat. Wait 10 minutes. The steam from the rice will wilt the kale. Stir the kale into the cooked rice gently with a fork taking care not to break up the rice grains and enjoy! This will feed 4 or 2 very hungry people!
CRISPY KALE EXCELSIOR, (a toping or healthy snack food)
This is my own recipe with a little help from my daughter-in-law. When it comes out of the oven, the grandchildren swoop down and the dish is empty before I turn around! How gratifying it is to know that they have had a healthy snack!
Note, for this recipe, a convection oven is necessary. Nutritional yeast flakes are available in most food stores today. It adds a wonderful nutty/cheesy accent as well as many nutrients. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Take 2 cups of the kale as prepared above and spread it thinly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or lightly oiled). Scatter coarse salt over it and a generous teaspoon of nutritional yeast. The addition of pine nuts make it even more special Place in the preheated oven, turn on the convection and turn OFF the oven. Check for crispy dryness in about 10 -15 minutes. Scoop it up with a fork or sprinkle over plain yogurt.
KALE Salad. With Quinoa ,feta, Walnuts and Onion in Lemon vinaigrette
This is another offering from Nagy only slightly modified.
4 cups of kale as prepared above.
1/2 cup Quinoa cooked in
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
1/4 cup crumbled creamy feta
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 of very thinly sliced sautéed or raw onion
Fresh herbs to taste. Dill or Cilantro
A small handful of plumped raisons
Lemon vinaigrette shaken together
I tbs lemon juice
2 tbs virgin olive oil
1/2 teas dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
S&P to taste
Toss everything together and enjoy