Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gardein Picatta and Kale with Currants and Pine Nuts

Sometimes you need a meal that makes you feel healthy and revived. This was that kind of night. Thanks to buying too much kale yesterday, we had some leftover for one of my favorite sides: kale with currants and pine nuts. This pairs well with lemony flavors so I made a nice, creamy picatta and finished it off with a baked sweet potato.

Creamy sauces are quite tasty and add to almost any meal. Unfortunately creamy sauces look kind of disgusting and gloppy in photos, but thankfully we don't have to eat the pictures.

Our yummy salad substitute is modified from our go-to veggie book, Clean Food by Terry Walters.

Kale with Currants and Pine Nuts
Servings: 6
Time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
5 dashes of ume plum vinegar

Plump, Plump, Plump it up.

  1. Plump the currants in about 1/4 inch of boiling water for 3 minutes. This will make them a lot softer and juicier which will complement the firmer kale. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
  3. Stir in the kale and cook for 5 more minutes until it becomes more tender and a darker color. Add more olive oil if necessary.
  4. Remove from heat and add in the currants.
  5. Sprinkle with the vinegar and toss.
  6. Top with pine nuts.

This is a great and quick side dish. If you're in a pinch, you can substitute raisins (preferably golden raisins) for the currants.

You know it'll be fun because it's spelled funky and was on TV!
Vegetarian cooking has been made a lot easier and tastier by the substitute meats from Gardein. No longer are you forced to eat sponge-like blobs of tofu over and over again. They make a great variety of fake chicken and beef products that can be found in your freezer section. This recipe is revised from the Gardein website (

Gardein Picatta
Servings: 4
Time: 20 minutes

1 package chick'n scallopini (4 pieces)
Flour, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper for dredging
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup capers
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
4 artichoke hearts

Soon you will be pan-fried and delectable.
  1. Coat your frozen gardein pieces in the flour mixture.
  2. Cook in a mixture of the oil and half the butter until browned (about 3-4 minutes) then flip and repeat for the other side.
  3. Set the gardein on a plate coated with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients  and bring to a simmer.
  5. Return the gardein patties and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  6. Remove the patties again and add the remaining butter. Mix together well and let it thicken.
  7. Return and coat the patties in the sauce.

While creamy and delicious, the picatta came out a little too bitter for my taste. Typically this is made with shallots instead of artichoke (about 6, quartered), so that was likely the culprit. This can also be combatted by adding a pinch of sugar to the sauce.  All-in-all it was a delightful little meal that's fairly easy and quick to prepare.

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