Recipe: Wine’d Up Kale Pesto

I have a college friend who has a Paleo-focused blog that I just love.  If this sounds like something interesting to you, I would encourage you to check out her blog (MomUncorked) as she has lots of recipes, helpful hints, and thoughts on how and why to follow this lifestyle.  While this plan is not for me, I really enjoy looking through her recipes and playing with them until they become something that would better fit my family’s eating habits.

Kale Pesto

This recipe is a mash-up of a pesto recipe that my niece posted on her blog (Peanut Butter Fingers) and one that my Paleo-friend has created on her blog.  It’s a Kale Pesto that incorporates wine… James River Cellars’ Hanover White Wine to be exact.  If you don’t have access to this lovely sweet white wine, I would suggest trying a Vidal Blanc or even a Sauvignon Blanc that has a bit of residual sugar.  You don’t want to use something as sweet or bubbly as a Moscato, but a little sugar isn’t a bad thing against the bitter taste of the raw kale in this recipe.

Enough of the lead in…. let me tell you how I made this fun recipe, using actual measurements, no less!.  Using my small food processor, I popped a large handful of chopped kale into the bowl, along with a few crushed garlic cloves1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup walnuts, and 1/8 cup pine nuts and began processing everything to a fine crush.  When it began whirling around, there didn’t look to be enough kale, so I added another small handful and continued to process the pesto.   I alternated between using the pulse setting and the continual setting until all the kale and the nuts seemed uniformly crushed.

Once the pesto started looking like… well… pesto, I turned the machine to the “on” position and slowly drizzled equal amounts of olive oil and Hanover White wine until the pesto was smooth and sauce-like.  I started with the olive oil, added wine, then went back to olive oil and finished with some wine.  It was definitely a “Using the Force” sort of situation and I stopped to taste-test before deciding it was finished.  I also added some freshly ground salt and pepper, seasoning the pesto to my preferred taste.

This recipe is definitely one that I will continue to keep in my fridge. It’s just sooo versatile!  I’ve used it as a sandwich condiment (fabulous on a BLT or even a simple tomato sandwich), I’ve added it to pasta (with a little warm cooking liquid, it softens and adds so much to a side dish), and even added some cream instead of cooking liquid for a creamier pesto dish with chicken or shrimp that is really yummy.   While kale is not my first choice for a green vegetable, it has some amazingly great dietary stats that make it something worth adding to your diet if you are willing.

Want an added bit of knowledge?  If you massage your kale leaves before using them, you can remove some of the bitterness of this hearty green.  Don’t believe me?  Read this great article from the Huffington Post that explains the why, what, how, and “really??” of this cool trick.

I hope you’ll consider trying this pesto recipe… with all the benefits out there about kale, it’s worth a whirl!

“Whirl”… get it?

Have a great and healthy day!

Recipe: Wine’d Up German Pancake

I was making breakfast this morning and thought I’d play around a bit with one of my favorite recipes.  The recipe is called “Jan’s German Pancake” but since it’s originally from my Aunt Jody, I honestly am not entirely sure who “Jan” is.  Jan is not one of my aunts… not one of the people that I remember meeting when I would visit her… not a close relative, that I know of… so the name simply lives on in the recipe.

That being said, I’ve been using this recipe for decades.   It’s a simple recipe that is easy to decrease or increase, depending on the size crowd you may be feeding.  I typically use a half recipe when feeding 2-3 people, unless those three are my husband and sons… then I make a full recipe just for them.  Given my preference for using The Force, you’ll be surprised to see that this post is in “recipe” form… enjoy it, as it doesn’t happen often!

Ingredients:

2 cups milk (I use skim, since that’s what we always have in our house)

4 eggs (you can use FF egg substitute if you prefer)

2 cups flour (I like white flour – wheat flour doesn’t “poof”)

1 teaspoon salt

*2 teaspoons dried egg whites

*1/4 cup James River Cellars’ Hanover White

4 Tablespoons of butter or margarine (to melt in the pan – I use 2 T of butter and 2 T of margarine)

Directions:

WinedUpGermanPancake

I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and slide a 9×13 pan with butter/margarine inside to melt.  While the pan is in the oven, mix eggs and milk together with a whisk until very frothy.  Add dried egg whites and wine and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

Once all the “wet” ingredients are combined, add the salt and then begin to whisk in the flour, half cup by half cup.  Make sure that your batter is thoroughly combined and smooth… lumpy pancake doesn’t tend to rise nicely.

Once the batter is made (the fat is melted) you’re going to pour the batter into the “smokin’ hot” pan.   Do this quickly so your pan doesn’t have a chance to cool at all.  Bake your German Pancake for 30 minutes and hope to see a “poof” in the middle (see large photo).  This will deflate when you pull it out, but the resulting dish will be lighter than if it doesn’t poof.

In my opinion, this is a breakfast that needs some sort of topping… my guys like to simply use pancake syrup, but I’ve been known to use jam, fresh fruit, or even a combination of cream cheese with some jelly.  A sweetened cream cheese would work nicely as well.   It would be tasty to add some sort of breakfast meat along side, if you’re feeding a crowd that wants “more”.  Bacon or sausage, links or patties, anything that sounds delicious to you works well.  This is a “tame” breakfast that can easily handle those savory additions.

Note: The ingredients that have an asterisk (*) are ones that I added to this morning’s recipe.  You can absolutely delete them if you’d prefer and the dish will come out beautifully.  It’s entirely up to you…. and isn’t that the point of being the chef?

Enjoy!