Red Chile Fettucine with Tomatoes and Kale

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Red chili pasta with tomatoes and kale

This is a fast, easy, meal. Simple, but with complex flavors due to the combination of flavored pasta and seasonings. It’s also very colorful, lowfat, and nutritious. And did I mention it tastes good? I know some people aren’t crazy about kale, but if you season things right, the greens don’t overwhelm the other flavors. Greens. I added kale to this simply because I saw some nice looking bunches of lacinato kale at the store. You could do something like this with any type of greens that are in season, though, of course it would taste different depending on what you added and you would almost certainly have to adjust the seasonings to complement the alternative additions. Why throw in greens at all? It’s fast, easy, and nutritious. Greens of various types can be added to a lot of things pretty easily simply because they cook quickly. They’re leaves. It doesn’t take much to cook them. Most of these ingredients are staples that you may have on hand in the pantry anyway, so grab a handful of fresh kale and you’ve got bright delicious meal. The secret of this dish is in the pasta and the seasonings.

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Al Dente Red Chile Fettucine

I served this light sauce over Al Dente’s Red Chile Fettucine. It is spicy. If you use some other non-spicy pasta, you should probably add a little bit of hot pepper such as cayenne or Hungarian hot paprika to give it the missing spiciness.

Smoked Spanish Style Paprika (from Penzeys).

Smoked Spanish Style Paprika (from Penzeys).

Speaking of paprika…I recently discovered smoked paprika at Penzys and that’s the other secret ingredient in this dish. The first time I used it I went waaaaay overboard, so this time I used a more modest amount. If you want to really ramp up the smoky flavor use a bit more than I did. The smoky paprika when combined with the other seasonings and spicy fettuccine noodles is subtle in the amount I used.

I also kept the dish light using garlic powder instead of sauteing garlic in oil. The “sauce” is very thin and there’s not much of it. Mostly it’s pasta, tomatoes, kale, and griller strips. If you want more of a traditional red pasta sauce — or to increase the amount of servings — try adding a 15 oz can of tomato sauce in addition to the can of diced tomatoes. (You will need to increase the seasoning, if you increase the amount of sauce.) Alternately, when the weather warms up and there are tomatoes galore, you could make this with chopped fresh tomatoes.

This makes three generous (big bowl) servings or four more modest servings.

  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • Lacinato kale, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bag of Simple Truth griller strips
  • Al Dente’s Red Chile Fettucine

While water for pasta is coming to a boil (use a big pot), simmer the diced tomatoes and seasonings on low-ish heat, in a medium (or large) saucepan, covered. The saucepan needs to be significantly bigger than the amount of sauce because you’ll be adding kale and griller strips — and you need to be able to stir without slinging bits of kale all over the kitchen. (Been there, done that.)

You don’t need to simmer very long before you add the kale, stirring it in and then covering the pot again. When the kale has wilted a bit, add a half bag of griller strips, stirring in. Since these are frozen, it will bring the temp down, so stir it quite a bit and make sure the strips have sufficient time to thaw and cook. It doesn’t need much cooking time, but it does need to heat up first!

By now the pasta water should be boiling. Or not. The pasta only takes 3 minutes to cook, so don’t fidget over how long it takes the water to come to a boil. Just keep the pot of sauce covered and the heat under it low, stirring occasionally, so it doesn’t stick or cook completely away. Remember: there won’t be much actual sauce. It’s mostly going to be veg and griller strips.

When the pasta is done, drain, but do not rinse. Serve the tomato, kale, and griller strips over the hot spicy Red Chile Fettuccine pasta. Enjoy.

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Spicy, smokey, and delicious!

 

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Kohl und Pinkel

kohl und pinkel

I know a lot of you are experiencing a season unknown to me – spring.  As I look out my window it is snowing and the windchill is -28C.  Spring seems foreign to me at this point.  So, we are still in the comfort food zone; anything to take away the pain of this winter.  A German comfort food, often eaten in November when kale is at its finest, is Kohl und Pinkel (Kale and Sausage).  Boyfriend, who is German, cooked it one cold winter’s night and it was gorgeous!  I’m sure it brought many lovely memories to mind for him and it will now start some nice memories for me as well.

The ingredients can be found at any supermarket:

  • 1 lb. kale, cleaned and chopped into manageable, bite-sized pieces (for variation, you can add other greens such as collard, mustard, or turnip)
  • 3-4 rounds of vegan bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup oats (we used quick-cooking oats)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. vegan beef bouillon
  • 1 tbsp. mustard
  • caraway seed to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • various sausage, such as Tofurky Kielbasa or Beer Brats

Clean kale, remove the thick middle stem and chop.  Blanch for 1 minute in boiling water and drain.

Brown the bacon in a pan (don’t forget – vegan bacon does not take long to brown), sauté the onion with it and add the kale.  Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add water to cover.  Stir in vegan beef bouillon.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Brown the sausages in a separate pan.

Add the mustard and caraway seeds and stir.  Place the sausages on top of the kale and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add the oats until softened (about 10 minutes) – they should absorb as much of the remaining moisture as possible.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with various cold mustards.

Traditionally, Kohl und Pinkel is served with boiled potatoes and Aquavit.

Braised Greens

braised greensIsn’t this a gorgeous picture?  Mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale simmering in vegetable broth – you can even see the steam rising!  This was the first time I had tried braising greens and they were delicious!

If you are unfamiliar with braising, it is a method to cook leafy greens in a small amount of liquid for a longer period of time than you would usually cook greens.  The slower cooking makes the flavour of the greens come alive, as well as tenderising them.  And it is so easy to do:

Put greens of your choice in a skillet and add vegetable broth until the greens are almost covered.  Next, add your favourite spices or herbs (I used garlic, onion flakes, black pepper, and Herbamare).  Cover the skillet tightly and simmer for 10-20 minutes.  If you have put a lot of greens in the skillet, go for the full 20 minutes.  The greens should be tender.

I drain the broth from the greens, but you can be inventive and make a sauce from the leftover broth.

Over the weekend, I served this with mashed potatoes and Tofurky kielbasa sausages – quite a tasty side dish!  I  have also braised greens and mixed them with the Potatoes with Curry recipe posted earlier.  One more tasty way to eat your greens!

Creamy Onion and Kale Soup

What better way to fend off the winter chills than with a warm, creamy soup?  I use a food processor for this recipe, but a blender (or perhaps a good dicing technique) will work just as well.

creamy onion soup with kale

Ingredients:

4 onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 ml (1/2 tsp) cracked black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 whole allspice
1.25 L (5 cups) of vegetable broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
5 ml (1 tsp) paprika (dissolved in 25 ml (2 tbsp) of lemon juice)
1 L (4 cups) chopped kale

Slice onions and garlic.  Place saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic to saucepan and cook, stirring until softened.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Add peppercorns, bay leaf, and allspice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add broth and potatoes and stir well.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Discard bay leaf and allspice.  Stir in paprika/lemon juice and kale.  Cover and cook until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.  Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain soup.  Transfer solids to food processor and add 1 cup of the liquid.  Puree until smooth.  Return pureed solids to saucepan and stir in remaining liquid.  Reheat.  Creamy, yummy, and vegan!