Friday, October 24, 2008

Vitamin K for Kale ala Bechamel

I always crave Kale this time of year. I have several recipes some more noteworthy than others. Feeling adventurous, I decided to open up my French cookbooks and make a creamy bechamel sauce for my really healthy, crispy and fresh kale. I picked up a few bunches this morning on Deerfield Road in Water Mill at Halsey's Farmstand. Today, that had a large variety of fall vegetables, unfortunately, I have a fridge full of stuff and just needed some kale. During peach season, Halsey's has some of the best peaches -- good for pies or eating whole. 

Halsey Farm and Nursery
513 Deerfield Rd.
Water Mill, NY
Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
June 15 to Dec. 1.
(although off season I've put money in a lock-box and taken what few items they have left in Dec. )

In the Spring, I buy my organic seedlings at Halsey Nursery. They have a huge green house facility right on the farm just south of the farm stand. In my experience, they have the best selection of organic and heirloom veggies. This year I planted two types of tomato, zucchini, peppers, arugula, three lettuces, and some thyme, sage, rosemary, dill and tons of green and purple basil. We also got the corn from Halsey's which was perfectly good corn most likely except because I didn't plant very much of it, I don't think it ever was properly pollinated. 

The prize surprise of the season were the green tomatoes that I wrote about last month and the deer decimated. Speaking of the deer, I caught two of them eating the leaves off the trees outside the kitchen window this afternoon-- I wondered if these were the tomato eaters that I cursed out a few Fridays ago for eating my Halsey heirlooms! 

2 bunches kale 
1 onion, diced
2 tbls. butter
2 tbls. flour
1 1/4 cup milk, scalded
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Remove leaves from the stalk of the kale and rinse clean. Be sure to clean well as kale can be gritty. Chop kale into small pieces and set aside. Chop an onion and set aside. Kale pieces should be small, bite size pieces approximately one to two inches across. 

In a sauce pan, on a medium-low flame melt the butter and stir in the flour and stir constantly being careful not to let the mixture brown as you want to maintain a white color. Cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. In a separate pan, bring the milk to a boil and as it begins to come to a rolling boil turn off the heat so it doesn't spill over. Add the milk to the flour mixture and whisk to remove any lumps. Cook until sauce begins to thicken. 

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, add onions and cook until transparent. Add kale and water to pan, lower the heat and cover. Stir several times until kale is almost completely cooked. Remove vegetable from the pan and using a fine mesh strainer and the back of a wooden spoon, press excess water out of the kale mixture. When cooled, chop cooked kale and onions and add to the bechamel sauce. When ready to eat, heat and serve. 

One cup of kale has over 1000% of the daily requirement for vitamin K as well as over 300% for Vitamin A and nearly 100% of the daily value for Vitamin C -- and with only 36 calories. Vitamin K is necessary for normal blood clotting and synthesis of proteins found in plasma, bone, and kidneys and found not only in kale but also cabbage,collard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, and brussel sprouts. A powerhouse of Vitamin A, kale is great for eye health, as are most dark leafy greens and, of course, carrots. 

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