Monday, November 5, 2012

4C's: cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and kale 11-4-12

OK, kale does not start with a C, but it ought to.  All of these are great Paleo Diet foods, with almost no calories, no fat, plenty of bulk, and lots of vitamins.
   Cabbage is a Southern favorite, fried with grease to a caramelized taste, with tons of butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Now let's get healthy. I still like fried cabbage, but I call it saute'ed now. I slice the cabbage into ribbons or wedges. I use just a little canola oil, olive oil, or olive oil-based margarine, some chicken stock or water, lots of pepper, a little salt, and maybe just a 1/2 tsp. of sugar. I cook it until tender, and just a bit beyond if I want that caramelized flavor. This really is as good as the original and goes with about anything, but I really like it with pork.
   Carrots come in big whole sizes, or baby carrots, or cut into slices, pennies, or sticks. My favorite is to buy a big bag of baby carrots on sale, then fix them a few different ways. Carrots are easy to roast when you are baking any other veggies, or in a foil pouch in a pan with roasting meat. I like to boil some, then add chopped parsley or Italian seasoning, and maybe a little margarine. My favorite carrots are braised with very little chicken stock, with a touch of honey or brown sugar, and some cinnamon. Carrots seem to be pretty flexible with other flavors, and cook very well with crock-pot dishes, too.
   Cauliflower is one of those foods. You know them, you either love them or hate them, but I encourage to try them even if you turned your nose up before (literally!) Besides boiling, braising, etc., I do like to boil then puree' them in a blender or food processor, with some margarine (olive oil-based, of course), salt, pepper, and sometimes a little forbidden shredded cheese. Believe it or not, if you are trying to stay strictly Paleo, these are an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes. Not too much stock, or you have runny whipped cauliflower , but that is better than lumpy cauliflower!
   My favorite in this group is kale. I first made kale chips last Christmas to give me something crunchy to eat at parties instead of the chips and dips and cheese spreads and crackers that were everywhere. My first batch was seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but I have tried all sorts of shaker-type seasonings, and steak seasoning is great. After washing the fresh kale (comes in a bunch, sometimes in a plastic bag), dry it, then use kitchen scissors or a knife and just cut out the stems. I stack a bunch of leaves and do them all at one time. For chips, chop the kale into small bite-size pieces, place on a big baking pan sprayed with Pam, and sprinkle on the seasoning. Toss, then bake for about 15 minutes at 350. Watch carefully--you want crunch pieces, not burnt.
   For sauteed kale, use a big frying pan with a little olive oil or canola oil, a little chicken stock, and seasoning. If you have some diced onions or garlic, that's good, too. Cook until very tender. Kale can be very chewy, so small pieces and bites are best. Kale looks like a lot of other greens like collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc., but have a distinct flavor. I hope you like it!
Meals for 11-5-12:
Breakfast:  Peach smoothie: peach drink from concentrate, banana, almond milk,1 tsp. peach jelly (mine was a gift--fresh peaches would be great, of course), and ice, in a blender.
Lunch: Baked chicken; pureed cauliflower; sauteed kale; broccoli, squash and zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.
Dinner: Cube steak strips, parslied carrots, cabbage, and "peanut butter" fried apples. (Apples: put sliced apples in a frying pan with a little olive oil-based margarine, some cinnamon sugar, and some caramel flavoring --just flavored water with no calories, and to be special, a couple of tbsp. of almond butter, which will not "melt" all the way. Seems really indulgent, but actually good for you.)
   Play with your vegetables--it's ok.

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