About once a month, the Food Bloggers Los Angeles group gets together for a potluck meal and some chit-chat about the business of blogging. It’s a pretty close-knit group (though we’re always happy to have new members!), and one that I appreciate tremendously. Even if not all the bloggers in the room are health-focused, everyone is excited about cooking real food from scratch, which I think is the most important thing. Also, they really are damn good cooks.
Last weekend, our monthly meeting was affectionately titled Kale-a-palooza. We were asked to bring a kale-based dish for the potluck, and were then treated to a kale demonstration from the folks at San Miguel Produce. They farm 1,200 acres of land near Oxnard, CA – growing mostly dark leafy greens, like kale. They got us liquored up with Kale Margaritas, made us a massaged-kale salad, and then gave us bags of fresh kale to take home. As you can imagine, I was a happy boy.
Fun Kale Facts Sidebar #1: We learned that all of the potassium in kale is found in the stem – so don’t toss those ribs!
Fun Kale Facts Sidebar #2: Because of the recent spike in popularity of Kale (yay!), San Miguel has started growing much more of it, and much less of other crops. I asked Jan Berk, their Vice President, how they deal with soil health and crop rotation. Her answer pleasantly surprised me: They swap land with other farmers. Gotta love such a simple, cooperative solution!
For my part in the potluck, I brought a bowl of kale garlic hummus. Nothing too fancy, but hey, that’s my style. I made it the same morning, though ideally I wish I had made it the night before; it’s better once it has a chance to sit overnight in the fridge. The flavors become better friends with a little bit of time… perfect on our “mini” whole wheat bagels the next morning for breakfast.
- 2-3 cups fresh kale
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed or 1½ cups cooked beans
- ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for drizzling
- 2-4 cloves fresh garlic, coarsely chopped (or use roasted garlic for a deeper, but less spicy, flavor)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- plain or smoked ground paprika, for sprinkling (optional)
- Chop the kale into large pieces, and steam them in a double-boiler or steam basket until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a food processor with a multipurpose "S" blade, add the beans and kale first, then the remaining ingredients except the optional water (add that later if you want the hummus to be a bit creamier). For the tahini, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, be sure to start with the lower amount and add more later.
- Process the ingredients for about 20-30 seconds, until the mixture starts becoming smooth. Scrape any beans stuck to the side, so it will mix evenly.
- Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to your liking. Process until you reach the desired consistency.
- Before serving, drizzle a little olive oil on top, then sprinkle with some paprika. Enjoy with whole wheat pita, on your crackers or bagel, or with veggie sticks!
2. Because I was in a hurry, I used canned beans, drained and well-rinsed – of course you could use dried beans and prepare them the night before. In a pinch, you could also adapt this to use garbanzo bean flour.
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