I know what you’re going to say. Enough with the kale trend already people, no one likes kale. And well, it’s true. Kale can be a pretty rough vegetable to eat. It’s very tough, it’s kind of bitter, and lord knows if I see another ‘kale chip’ or someone convincing me to put it into a smoothie… it’s become so cliche it’s gone way past the point of being trendy.
But here’s another thing about kale that I’ve come to accept- it’s cheap. And as we are in the midst of January, kale is also seasonal, which is something though hard to do at times (especially in the winter when you’re just plain over root vegetables and desperate for blueberries) I try to follow as much as possible.
At home we make as much as we can ourselves. Firstly I’ve got an almost one-year-old daughter with some food allergies, so I feel better knowing exactly what I’m giving her. Plus after watching the documentary ‘Fed Up’ and various others we have become all too aware of the numerous ways additional sugars can show up in foods you buy weekly (jarred sauces, breads, cereals etc.). Not that we have cut sugar out of our lives by any means, but we wanted to save our substantial sugar consumption for when it is an acknowledged splurge or special occasion. We want what we eat, no matter what it is, it to be a decision we make consciously, rather than just a profitable choice made by someone else us.
Because of all of these reasons and more when it comes to pizza, rather than phoning up our local Dominoes we do a mostly-homemade version. Since discovering a pre-made frozen wholemeal pizza dough, it has sparked the weekly ‘pizza night’ tradition. Nell drags her stool around to the counter, dons her apron and assumes the role of ‘flour fairy’, preparing the counter (and floor) for the rolling of the dough. I chop up the toppings and prepare the sauce, and then with her assistance, roll out our two beautifully thin crusted pizzas and place them on the trays. We paint the dough with sauce, scatter our various toppings, then pop them in the oven, eating any stray toppings that went unused while the pizzas bubble and bake. Nick cuts the pizzas and they are wolfed down with enthusiasm. By making them ourselves not only has it become a lovely tradition with each person taking part (Isla well, at the moment she just sits on the floor and claps- soon baby girl, soon), but it means the girls are interested in trying the new foods they’ve scattered on the pies. Roasted cherry tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, and most recently; kale pesto are amongst new favourites.
Kale Pesto- inspired from this Food 52 recipe
2 bunches (about two cups) kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup olive oil
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onion, salt, and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until your onions are soft. Then add your garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes so as not to burn it. Next, add the kale and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Cover and let steam and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the kale is soft.
- In a food processor (or blender in a pinch as I did- my processor is too small), pulse together the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, white vinegar, kale mixture, and a dash of salt and pepper about 8 times. Blend everything together as you pour 3/4 cup olive oil into the food processor in a slow, steady stream. If using a blender you may also need a few small splashes of water to get things going. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
- Making this amount of pesto in one go is great. I had plenty for our pizza, plus a nice jar of it for the week, and two small zip lock bags for the freezer. I’ve cut out the need to buy the pre-made stuff for convenience AND added an extra veggie to whatever we’re using the pesto with. Totally worth the effort in my opinion