I know…more Kale. Kale, kale, kale. It’s everywhere in the blogosphere and it’s everywhere to the point that my reaction was…enough already! I’m funny in that if it’s trendy; I’m not interested. It gets boring hearing everyone exalt the same thing. Kale chips, kale smoothies, I missed it but bet there is a kale cake somewhere. So…what the heck am I doing with something made with Kale? No one is more surprised than ME!
I was recently invited to a cooking demonstration at Whole Foods that was a combined effort of Whole Foods Market – Tamarac and Cancer Treatment Centers of America®. Staff from CTCA were in town prior to Denver’s Susan G. Komen annual Race for the Cure and they designed a pre-race nutrition event called Food Run Denver; sharing with us some of the nutritional foods that they prepare for their patients.
Guests included Komen Denver Race for the Cure participants as well as health and food enthusiasts. The event featured Sharon Day, RD, CSO, CNSC, Director of Nutrition at CTCA’s Western Regional Medical Center and Traci Carpenter, healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market – Tamarac. Our group enjoyed a cooking demonstration, samples and a special Race for the Cure “Food Run Denver” shopping tour accompanied by both Sharon and Traci. Among the samples that our hosts prepared? Kale Pesto.
I know this. I’m certain I rolled my eyes. I’m sure I was thinking, ”Seriously? Kale? I’m so over kale and I’ve not even tried it!’ Our hosts discussed the health benefits of the ingredients they were using for the dishes they were putting together; the next two dishes included a combination of grains and fruits and similar to the kale pesto were filled with ingredients especially beneficial to those dealing with the issues they see in their patients. (Look for the Red Quinoa Chipotle Lime Salad with Roasted Corn and Avocado soon!)
Nutrition is such an important part of our daily lives, and especially so for those who are battling cancer or are cancer survivors. In fact, many cancer patients show signs and symptoms of malnutrition. According to Sharon, as little as a 5 percent weight loss in one month can decrease someone’s tolerance to treatment, or can alter their treatment plan altogether. I was impressed with Sharon’s passion for developing not just ‘good for you’ but also ‘good tasting’ foods for their patients.
We were each served a plate with samples to taste. What can I say? I was humbled by the pesto! Now to be fair the other ingredients were toasted walnuts which I recently professed I would marry, garlic and olive oil…not too shabby partners for sure but the kale was there in abundance and it was seriously fabulous! I’ve enjoyed it the same way we were served it at the event, on small toast crackers but I also loved it as a topping for pasta with some additional toasted nuts and Parmesan cheese. I’m still not dying to make kale chips any time soon but this will make a steady appearance at our home; I love having a pesto with such great flavor to fill in for basil pesto which I only make during the summer when basil is abundant in my garden. See…you really can teach an old dog new tricks!
Just for fun…I wanted to show you how I remove the skin from whole garlic cloves. I recently saw a video that required water and soaking…trust me this is easy and quick and it REALLY works. Garlic in bowl; cover with another bowl; hold them together and shake hard. That’s it. Any not done? Shake a bit more. Garlic skin is sort of vacuum packed onto the clove…break that seal and it doesn’t hold…now how is that for a scientific explanation?!!
Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been using a Blendtec Blender lately? They are an amazing machine! Like you I figured if it could blend a cell phone, a football and magnets that kale, walnuts and garlic would be a cinch right? Wrong…but wait, there is a story of course but first check out this video; this guy is a hoot!!
Let’s hope you don’t really try blending your phone but after my first experience I admit, I was a bit uncertain. I had to tamp that kale down several times to get it to blend into the final mix that you see so I can’t deny, maybe a bit wary? I know they are revered far and wide for ‘smoothies’ and these units have been used commercially for just that purpose so I wasn’t going to give up! I tried again the other day when I made apple cider for a Caramel Apple Cider Cocktail for my @FridayCocktail series and things did not start well. I decided to use the button for smoothies thinking apple into apple cider would qualify. Things started with a slow speed I could never imagine working so I hit the button to speed it up…which made it stop. I tried again, same thing. But then…a miracle happened. I READ THE DIRECTIONS!!!
Yes, I’m bad…I never do that. I just jump right in. Computer, camera, video…you name it, I just do it. (Nike says so right?).
Well, I discovered a very important feature. Those buttons are pre-programmed for the function on them. So, yes, the juice one started show. Then sped up. Slow again. Faster still. And lo and behold…I had my cider and I didn’t have to stop and tamp and fiddle at all. Didn’t I tell you? It’s a MIRACLE!
I should have read this huh?
The Total Blender Classic Series comes with our exclusive Smart-Touch Tec-nology© which means when a cycle button is pushed, the Total Blender Classic Series automatically speeds up and slows down, then shuts off when the cycle is complete, so recipes turn out perfect every time.
In addition to the blender itself I received their Twister Jar. Made especially for some of those smaller jobs it’s perfect for pesto, hummus, baby food, grinding nuts and more. I’ve used what I now call my ‘baby Blendtec’ every day. I’ve used a blender more in the past week than I have in 2 years…it really can do more than you can imagine.
Kale and Walnut Pesto
A great option to the standard basil and pine nut pesto.
- 2 oz toasted walnuts
- 6 garlic cloves (I used big cloves; we could have cut that back a bit)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups Kale leaves (I just used all of one medium size bunch with the ends trimmed off)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (I would have liked a bit less salt than the 1 tsp in the recipe so taste yours and correct as necessary)
- Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Keep refrigerated.
- Serve as an appetizer with chips or cracker, as a sandwich spread, in a salad dressing or over warm pasta. I've done them all!
I was provided with a Blendtec for the purpose of this post however all commentary is my own.