Monday, 6 August 2012

Tuscan kale is so good for you it just jumps out and says so! Just look at the dark greenness of the leaves! When I first discovered it, other than juicing with it, I didn't really know how to get it and it's goodness into my daily diet. I found it a bit fibrous and chewy. Sometimes I added it to my pasta dishes and found myself comparing it to spinach, which is soft and delicate. Then I discovered
massaging it! Firstly I was cutting it a little too thick, so I learnt to shred it a more finely, then scrunching it or massaging it, helped to soften the fibrous nature of kale. Now I put it in everything.

Kale is a wonderful anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, anti cancer food, that also helps to lower cholesterol.  Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, belongs to the broccoli family and they (and other brassicas), contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. 

Cabbage, also part of the same family and is so underrated.  Another victim of bad cooking from the past. Again if it's cut too thickly for a coleslaw and drowned in cheap supermarket mayo or over cooked, it's pretty easy to see why most people don't eat it. Stir fries is where you'll see most people enjoying it, but why? Is it because it's flash wok-ed and semi raw? I think so. 
Using some of the finest winter goodies around, this salad is great to accompany a sticky warming risotto or stuffing a baked potato (or sweet potato). Heaven!  Nutritiously packed with a punch and dressed loosely with the Cashew, Lemon and Caper mayo it's superb!

Even if you don't like kale or cabbage, give this a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Makes enough = 4-6 people to share

6-8 leaves tuscan kale, finely shredded - see below
1/4 medium size white cabbage, finely shredded 
1/4 medium size purple cabbage, finely shredded 
1 medium carrot, large grated or julienne blade on your food processor
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely sliced
1 small purple onion (or spring onion), paper thin

The best way to shred the kale is to cut out the thick spine of the leaf and layer each leaf upon the next. Then roll up 3-4 leaves at a time into a cigar shape and shred as finely as you can. I shred them about 1mm thin. 
If you have a thin slicer blade on your food processor or mandolin, shred the cabbage that way otherwise you can cut it as paper thin as you can, again about 1mm thin. This is so important to the finished product. It's worth taking a little extra time to really get this right. By cutting all the ingredients paper thin you get this really delicate, restaurant quality dish. The mayo just lifts it to another level and makes it sing on your palate.

Lemon and Caper mayo
1 cup Cashews, soaked
2 tbs Capers
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 - 1 cup filtered water
1 level tsp salt (or to taste)
1 small clove garlic *optional

Soak the cashew for 1 hour (if possible) for a really creamy mayo - you could get away with 15 minutes but it won't be as creamy! Rinse and return to the blender with the filter water, and blitz. Scrape down the side and add the remaining ingredients and whizz again until thick and creamy like a mayo dressing.
When ready to eat and serve the kale coleslaw, pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.

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