Kale Chips, Roasted Tomatoes and More! Community Food Advisors are awesome!

Here are the recipes I shared with the group of Community Food Advisors this week at their graduation meeting. It was so great to share these recipes and information with them. They had great questions and  I hope a wonderful evening! They enjoyed tasting everything and I was happy to make it for them to try. You can give them a try and get ready for the busy season that will hopefully come upon us shortly! Let the local harvest commence...soon...

Kale Chips

Crispy, flavourful, low calorie and full of great nutrition, these chips are an easy way to increase your intake of important micronutrients.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

1 small bunch large kale leaves (about 8 large leaves)
1-½ tsp (7 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt

Remove stems from kale by folding the leaf in half and cutting between the stem and the leaf. Discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces.

In bowl, mix chopped kale with oil. Add sea salt; toss to coat.

Arrange the kale in a single layer on 2 to 3 baking sheets and bake in 275 F (125 C) oven for 20 minutes or until leaves are crispy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes . 

Makes 4 cups (1 L).

Variation: Consider adding spices like cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin, or sesame seeds, according to your tastes.

Roasted Tomatoes

Sweet, dark roasted tomatoes retain a slight juiciness to them and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Keep them refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and add them to soups, stews or pasta dishes. On their own, sit them atop sliced baguette spread with Ontario ricotta or goat cheese for an easy appetizer.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 lbs (1 kg) Ontario plum tomatoes
1/4 cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) each chopped fresh Ontario basil and oregano

Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and trim stem end off. Place cut side up on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

In small bowl, stir together oil, thyme, basil and oregano. Brush tomatoes with oil mixture. Roast in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until very soft and dark golden. Let cool completely.

Makes about 24 tomato halves. 

Tip: Place tomatoes in airtight container lining each layer with parchment or waxed paper. Close lid and freeze for up to 3 months.

Balsamic Variation: Reduce oil to 2 tbsp (25 mL) and add 2 tbsp (25 mL) balsamic vinegar. (These tomatoes will be very dark)

Dried Peach Slices

A real “fruit leather” easy to pack for snacks or chopped up and added to cookies and cakes.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Drying Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

2 lbs (1 kg) fresh Ontario peaches
3 cups (750 mL) water
1/3 cup (75 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) salt

In large bowl combine water, lemon juice and salt.

Pit peaches and cut them into thin slices. Add peaches to water mixture and let soak for 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer peaches to paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry. Arrange peach slices in a single layer on cheesecloth lined cooling racks.

Place racks in 170 F (85 C) oven and let peaches dry for about 4 hours or until no water comes out when peaches are pinched (leathery and pliable). Let cool completely. Place peach slices in glass jars or parchment or waxed paper lined cookie tins.

Makes about 2 cups (500 mL) peach slices.

Apple or Pear Variation: Use Ontario apples or pears for the peaches.

Spice Variation: If you would like a little bit more flavour in your dried fruit, Add 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon, ground cardamom or nutmeg or Chinese 5 spice powder to the lemon water when soaking fruit.

Dried Herbs

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Drying Time: about 2 weeks

1 bunch fresh Ontario thyme, rosemary or oregano

Lightly rinse herbs and completely pat dry. Remove any brown or spotted leaves. 

Tie 4 or 5 sprigs together at ends. Hang upside down in a warm room or near a furnace. Let air dry for 2 weeks and check to see if herbs are dry. Let dry for another 2 weeks or until completely dry and crumbly.
Remove string and rub dried leaves off stems into paper bag or onto plate. Rub herbs between your fingers to remove any small stems.

Makes 1 bunch dried herbs. 

Tip: Pack in small airtight jars for up to 6 months. Store in dark, cool place.

Pasta Verdure

Verdure is Italian for greens and there are tons in this pasta dish. It is rustic and delicious and has a kick of heat from the hot pepper flakes. That heat can be reduced if your family doesn’t enjoy the spice. Try other greens like rapini or the tamer spinach for a change in flavour.

2 bunches fresh greens, such as Swiss chard, dandelion or kale
1 pkg (350 g) fresh fettuccine pasta
1/3 cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) anchovy paste
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Cut tough stems from greens and trim ends. Wash well and chop to make 12 cups (3 L) lightly packed greens.

In large pot of boiling water, cook greens for about 8 minutes or until tender. Using slotted spoon, remove greens to colander and set aside. Bring water back to boil and salt water. Cook fettuccine for about 5 minutes or until al dente (tender but firm). Reserving some of the cooking water, drain and set both aside.

Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic, anchovy paste and hot pepper flakes for about 2 minutes, stirring to combine anchovy paste into oil. Add greens and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until very tender. Add fettuccine and toss well to coat. Add some of the reserved cooking water to moisten if necessary. Sprinkle with cheese if desired before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Rapini Frittata

I love rapini cooked any way. But in a frittata they are spectacular to fit into a crusty bun for dinner or to enjoy with a little pasta sauce on top. Enjoy it hot or cold or serve it up in little squares as an appetizer idea.

1 bunch rapini, trimmed
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) red pepper flakes
6 eggs
1/4 cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

In pot of boiling water cook rapini for 10 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain well and using wooden spatula gently push out some of the water. Place on cutting board and chop coarsely.

In large non-stick skillet heat oil over medium heat and cook garlic and pepper flakes for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add rapini and toss to coat; cook stirring for about 8 minutes or until beginning to turn golden.

Meanwhile in bowl whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into skillet stirring to combine with rapini. Let cook lifting edge until bottom is golden and top is set. Place large plate over top of frittata and invert onto plate. Slide frittata back into skillet and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden.

Makes 4 servings.

Tips for Freezing Vegetables:
  • blanching and chilling before freezing helps retain the texture and flavour better for vegetables

  • blanching is simply a “short boil” in boiling water, typically 2 to 3 minutes for most vegetables and then chilling them immediately in ice cold or running cold water

  • let them drain well and pat dry before packing them into resealable or vacuum seal bags or airtight containers to store in the freezer

  • after freezing some vegetables are best added to soups or sauces as freezing tends to break down their texture and shape, some examples are mushrooms, zucchini and peppers

Tips for Freezing Fruit:
  • blanching isn’t required for most fruit, due to the natural sugar that helps retain its flavour and texture

  • pitting is recommended before freezing to make it easier to use from frozen if desired, some fruit is also best sliced or chopped to make it easier to measure out when needed

  • for smaller fruit such as berries you can lay washed and dry fruit in a single layer onto a baking sheet and freeze until frozen solid, scrape off from pan and place in resealable or vacuum seal bag or airtight containers to store in the freezer

Tips for Drying:
  • vegetables and fruits that are naturally lower in water content or that are starchy will take less time to dry, when using a dehydrator follow their instructions in the manual

  • drying in the oven adds heat so the flavour of the fruits or vegetables will change slightly but still retain it’s overall natural flavour

  • they will need to cool before you store them and if you are worried that they are not dry enough you can store the dried fruit or vegetables in the refrigerator

Overall for storing fruits and vegetables when frozen or dried, 6 months is generally recommended as over time the texture, flavour and nutrients start to decrease 


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