It’s an old story…

Deborah Madison's kale

Deborah Madison’s kale

Did you know that the ancient Greeks cultivated leafy greens and that by the Middle Ages kale had spread through Europe and Asia? Why, pray tell, are the French, those culinary kingpins, so late to get with the kale program? I mean if kale is on the menu at the Cheesecake Factory…Anyway, when I recently read about kale’s illustrious history I immediately thought about Deborah Madison’s newest book, Vegetable Literacy, which is not only filled with 300+ recipes, but also photos that are just as mouth-watering. Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.59.38 AMIf you are unfamiliar with Madison check out her website, deborahmadison.com. For starters, she is a Chez Panisse alum and founder of Greens restaurant in San Francisco, one of the first Bay Area eateries to feature a farm-driven menu – in 1979! It lives still and you’ll find kale in the Breakfast Tartine.

Speaking of oldies-but goodies, I was drawn to an ad in one of the cazillon “healthy eating” magazines I like to thumb through. Who knew about all these great grains?

The Grains of Discovery Collection at Bob's Red Mill

The Grains of Discovery Collection at Bob’s Red Mill

I’ve shied away from quinoa cause all my attempts at jazzing it up still were lackluster, until I sampled the pairing of – drumroll – quinoa and kale! I first sampled the Q&K salad with pine nuts and parmesan at my friend Cathy’s, no slouch in the kitchen. She creatively mixed white with red quinoa. Since my first tasting I’ve rolled this entry out at two dinners where it got raves. You can find it on epicurious.com or right here – for six to eight of your closest friends:

Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
2 cups white quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups chopped kale (about 12 ounces)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and sauté, stirring, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and kale, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool. Stir occasionally to bring the warmer part of the mixture up from the bottom.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard until smooth. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, whisking continuously to emulsify the dressing.

3. Drizzle the dressing over the cooled quinoa mixture. Stir in the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cover and chill completely, 2 to 3 hours. Stir just before serving to fluff the salad and break up any clumps.

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