Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Week 4: Lamb and Vegetable Stew

Now that I go to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays, I have a much wider selection than I'm used to. I even saw venison this week - I didn't think it was legal to sell that! (Jesse loves venison, but I didn't buy give him incentive to join me on next week's trip to the Greenmarket so that he can get it and I can have company). What I did end up getting was lamb from 3-Corner Field Farm in Shushan, NY (200 miles away, near Saratoga Springs but nestled in a valley on the border of New York and Vermont). I'm kind of obsessed with this farm now. Just look at how cute those sheep look in the photo on their website. I've already decided that next weekend I'm going to buy lamb shanks so I can make their recipe for lamb shanks with red wine, garlic, and rosemary. Maybe with mashed potatoes and turnips. Can you tell I plan my meals too far in advance?

This week, I've just started reading In Defense of Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planc, which champions "real food," such as meat, milk and vegetables, that humans have eaten for thousands of years, over the modern glut of industrialized foods. She makes the interesting point that it is nutritionally beneficial to eat meat, butter, and cheese, which in this age are all feared for the threat of cholesterol, as long as they come from pasture-raised animals. I know I've heard this before, but can't quite remember where (Omnivore's Dilemna or maybe Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?) and Planc provides scientific evidence to back up her theories, but as a psych major, I remain skeptical because I haven't done the research myself. Yet, it was great to see 3-Corner Field Farm's website reaffirm the claim that naturally raised, grass fed lamb contains more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamin E, which are all linked to lower risks of heart disease and cancer, than factory-farmed meat.

I know environmentalists are advocating vegetarianism to save the planet and humanity, but I think the better route is to eat humanely and naturally-raised meat from local farms and to eat it sparingly. Humans are omnivores and should continue to eat meat as they have since forever, but they should do it with a conscience. This argument is hot topic right now, which I recently read on Jen's inpiring food blog Last Night's Dinner and in the New York Times, thanks to Mark Bittman. And this is something that even I struggle with. I know I shouldn't always eat meat when I'm out at restaurants, when I know nothing about the path of that slaughtered animal to my table. I know I shouldn't cook so much meat at home. But I don't think that soy protein every day is healthy and I am surprised by so many vegetarians I know (including myself during college) who blindly eat processed foods up the wazoo in the form of veggie burgers and fake bacon without knowing what they're actually eating or its impact on their environment. I have a boyfriend who feels he must eat meat almost daily to feel healthy and satisfied. My personal choice then for our household is to only cook meats that are pasture-raised and procured from local farms, and to supplant meat-based meals with lots of vegetables and/or beans so that they can be stretched into multiple servings and leftovers. I'm also going to try to remember to eat fish at least once a week and to cook vegetarian meals (look forward to lots of beans) at least once a week. This choice makes me feel happy (to eat great food and support local farms) and healthy (to eat food that is better at providing nutrients than supermarket food).

Back to what I made today - I bought boneless pieces of lamb shoulder that are perfet for stewing, and combined them in my crock pot (which doesn't get nearly enough action to justify its existence) with one of every vegetable from my fridge. It was done in less than six hours while I was busy (or actually, lazy) doing other things this afternoon - easy and so delicious. It reminded me of the simple beef and vegetable stews that my mother frequently made in her crockpot when I was growing up. The long time in the crockpot really mellowed out the flavors of the lamb and vegetables, while intensifying the water into a sweet broth. Jesse paired his with quinoa, a grain that originated in the Andes and provides a balanced set of amino acids (pictured above), while I enjoyed mine with lightly toasted homemade wheat bread because I'm not overly fond of quinoa. This stew was the perfect ending to a cold afternoon walk with my boy and my dog in Prospect Park.

And I just couldn't resist posting this photo of my dog Spencer, who is too cute in his plaid winter jacket that is (suprise) made from recycled plastic fabric.

Lamb and Vegetable Stew

1 1/2 lb lamb meat (I used boneless shoulder meat)
1 onion
1 large clove garlic
1 parsnip
1 turnip
1 potatoee
1/2 bunch kale
3 cups water
2 tsp dried rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper

Chop lamb and vegetables into 1-inch cubes. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook, covered, on low heat about 5-7 hours.

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. All ingredients for this meal were found at Greenmakets from farms within approximately 250 miles away, except except for the spices and Jesse's quinoa bought in bulk at Fairway.

Dark Days Challenge Week 3: The Thanksgiving Experiment

After finding turkey breast at the Greenmarket, I thought what better to pair it with than stuffing. Considering that I want to make Thanksgiving dinner next year, I might as well start practicing now! To make the stuffing, I combined toasted whole wheat bread cubes with sauteed onion, garlic, apple, parsnip, and a few handfuls of torn-up kale, and enough chicken stock to moisten everything. I added the kale to compensate for the lack of celery, which is not in season now, but I didn't like the result. Kale's bitter flavor disrupted my enjoyment of what should have been a purely sweet combination of bread and apples. I'm not going to bother posting the recipe yet, since I am considering this part of an ongoing experiment over the next ten months to find my perfect stuffing recipe.

As for the turkey, I feel clueless about roasting turkey or chicken breast. They tend to come out on the dry side, lacking in flavor, and slightly pink on the edges. I covered the turkey breast in salt, pepper, and sage, then drizzled with melted butter and roasted them covered with aluminum foil. These were small breasts (about 1 lb each), so they were done in about 45 minutes (even though they don't look done in the picture above I promise they were!) and the skin didn't get crispy either. Maybe I'm too timid with the butter. Advice is welcome. Clearly, I've got a ways to go before next Thanksgiving.

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. All ingredients for this meal were found at Greenmakets from farms within 300 miles away, except for the bread (made at a bakery down the street), organic free range chicken stock from a box, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Brownies with Coconut Topping

I was very intrigued by these "brown-ka-roons" that I found on the Student Stomach blog, since I love chocolate and coconut, and this dessert combines them in one yummy-looking bar. But when I made them last week, they disappointingly came out 1/3 brownie and 2/3 ka-roon. I decided they would be perfect if only there was more brownie than ka-roon, so I made them a second time for my dinner party last night, this time switching up the recipe to make the coconut layer more of a light topping, and lo and behold they did come out perfect - a rich brownie layer to sink my sweet tooth into with an irresistable coconut crunch on top.

Brownies with Coconut Topping

For the brownie layer:
6 tbsp of butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder (for a lighter, fluffier, cake-like brownie layer)

For the coconut topping:
1 egg
1/3 heaping cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 heaping cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the brownie layer:
Melt butter in a small pot over low heat on the stove. Once melted, place butter in large bowl, and whisk in sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs and water, then cocoa powder, and then gently fold in the flour and optional baking powder and stir until smooth. Spread batter in a 9x9 inch baking pan (or 9-inch round pan if you're me and don't have a square pan). Bake approximately 10-12 minutes until center is firm. Be careful not to overbake it, as it is going back in the oven. Let it cool a little while you prepare the coconut topping.

For the coconut topping:
Rinse out your chocolate bowl, and then whisk egg, sugar, vanilla, and water in it. Gently fold in flour and coconut (except 1/4 cup reserved for sprinkling). With a butter knife, carefully spread dollops of the coconut topping until it evenly covers the brownie layer. Sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup coconut over top. Bake until golden brown on the edges and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares (or triangles) for serving.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Week 2: Fresh Clam Chowder, Sort Of

I saw Ina Garten prepare clam chowder on Barefoot Contessa a few weeks ago, and it suddenly ocurred to me that clam chowder is something I could easily make out of all local ingredients, even in the "dark days" of January. Growing up, I had always been scared of clam chowder, probably because of my parent's fear of bottom feeders, as well as its murky appearance. But now that I love to eat meaty dayboat clams from the Greenmarket, I figured I should give it a try.

My chowder actually ended up tasting more like a sage-spiced potato soup with a few clams in there to taste, because I only used a pound of clams. I also left out flour, which would have thickened up the broth and made it more like traditional New England Clam Chowder.

Interestingly, it was difficult to find a clam chowder recipe prepared from scratch using whole clams. Google mostly led me to recipes calling for canned clams and botled clam juice. I guess if you live in the midwest, then you have no choice but to use canned clams. But shouldn't those of us on the coast always indulge in the fresh taste of clams straight from the sea?

The chowder ended up being part of an impromptu dinner party that also involved making bread; homemade fries that gave Jesse a huge blister burn while baking them; flounder and kale steamed in a balsamic dijon sauce for someone who couldn't eat shellfish; and a chocolate and coconut dessert that will appear in a later post.

I made bread that was meant to be eaten with the chowder, but my dinner guests actually ate most of it before the food was done. Instead of spending all day slaving over bread, I made whole wheat beer bread, which was done in little more than an hour. It seemed to good to be true - the promise of a good loaf of bread without any kneading or rising time - but it came out as a funky-looking but good-tasting moist bread. To me, it wasn't as good quality as real kneaded bread, but Jesse surprisingly claimed he likes beer bread better than kneaded bread. (Maybe he just likes eating his beer as well as drinking it.)

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. Below is a summary of food mileage for this meal:

Flounder and Clams - Long Island dayboat stand at the Greenmarket, under 115 mi
Onion, garlic, kale, and potatoes - unknown NY farm at Greenmarket, under 300 mi
Sage - dried from unknown farm at the Greenmarket, Goshen, NY, 73 miles
Milk and butter - Ronnybrook Farm, Ancramdale, NY, 115 miles
salt and pepper - not local
For the bread:
Whole wheat flour - King Arthur, Norwich, VT, 266 mi (though the flour is probably coming from much farther away...)
Saratoga lager - Olde Saratoga Brewing Company, Saratoga Springs, NY, 194 mi
Honey - Twin Spruce Apiaries, Climax, NY, 141 mi
baking powder - not local

Dark Days Challenge Week 2: Flounder, Clams, and Roasted Beets over Jerusalem Artichoke Puree

I've really stockpiled on root vegetables this week - I think because I started to worry that the Greenmarkets will run out of vegetables, since my McCarren Park Greenmarket in Brooklyn has dwindled down to just one vegetable vendor. Then I made a stop at the mecca of all Greenmarkets, Union Square on a Saturday, and saw it was still full of farmers, action, and crowds. So I don't have anything to worry about - at least not yet.

I feel like I've been seeing and reading about Jerusalem Artichokes everywhere lately, so I decided that it was time to try some. They are not artichokes, but actually a knobby root vegetable that looks like ginger. Guess what - it turns out I don't really like them! I am willing to try them again in a different form, such as roasted, but this dish was kind or ruined for me by the flavor of the pureed Jerusalem artichokes at the bottom of the plate. I would have prefered to use mashed or pureed potatoes, or to have eaten simply the fish and beets, which went great together. Jesse, on the other hand, loved the Jerusalem artichoke puree, and happily scarfed it all down.

Now, originally I had envisioned topping flounder with a pickled beet and onion relish and plating it over a bed of Jerusalem artichoke puree. That was until I realized that pickling takes at least a day for the flavors to settle. So then I thought I would just sautee the beets and onions alongside the flounder. Then Jesse decided to add clams into the mix, so we ended up steaming it all in the same pot with a little bit of beer, creating a seafood dish swimming in a reddish broth, which is why it doesn't look so pretty.

So the recipe below is just a rough suggestion. I would recommend steaming the clams separately and adding them to the plate at the end, after the flounder has been sauteed with the beets and onions, or omitting clams altogether.

The first thing you'll want to do is start roasting the beets, because that takes about an hour. Scrub three small beets, drizzle them with olive oil, wrap them in a pouch of aluminum foil, and roast at 425 degrees for about one hour, until fork tender.

While the beets roast, chop the Jerusalem artichokes into 1- or 2-inch pieces (if they're organic, no need to peel them), add to a pot of salted water with 2 whole cloves garlic, bring to a boil, and then let simmer approximately 20 minutes or until very tender.

Drain the artichokes, return to the pot, and let cool for a few minutes. Then in a blender or food processor, blend them with 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp butter, salt, and pepper until smoothly pureed. Return to the pot and cover. You may need to warm the puree over low heat if it has cools before the rest of the meal is cooked.

When the beets are done, let them rest until they are cool enough to handle, and then remove the peel and chop into small dice. Slice one red onion thinly and mince 3 small or 2 large cloves of garlic.

If using clams, prepare about eight whole clams by rinsing them. You should also pop open a beer now if you haven't already. We were lucky to find this Saratoga lager on sale at Fairway. It has a sweet flavor, which I think complemented the beets and fish better than a bitter, hoppy beer such as an IPA or pale ale would have.

Season one pound of flounder with salt and pepper, and sear them in a pan with olive oil over high heat about one minute on each side. Immediately add the beets, onion, and garlic to the pan, as well as about eight whole clams and 1/2 cup beer. Cover the pan and let steam about 5 minutes until fish flakes when forked and clams have opened.

Spoon puree onto each plate, and then use a spatula with holes in it to add the flounder, clams, and beets to the plate without getting too much broth. Serves two.

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. Below is a summary of food mileage for this meal:

Flounder and Clams - Long Island dayboat stand at the Greenmarket, under 115 mi
Beets - Garden of Eve Farm, Riverhead, NY, 75 mi
Red Onion, garlic, jerusalem artichokes - unknown NY farm at Greenmarket, under 300 mi
Saratoga Lager - Olde Saratoga Brewing Company, Saratoga Springs, NY, 194 mi
Milk and butter - Ronnybrook Farm, Ancramdale, NY, 115 mi
olive oil, salt, pepper - not local

Diner: More Than Meets the Eye

I had always thought that Diner, at 85 Broadway near the Williamsburg Bridge, was just that, a diner, albeit with some grandiose tendencies. After all, it is set in a restored 1927 diner car. I've stopped in there occasionally for late night drinks and snacks and scoffed at the menu - Risotto, I have often wondered, why would you ever want to order risotto or other fancy stuff at a diner?

The guys who own Diner also run the fabulous shop/restaurant next door, Marlow & Sons, which I love for its oysters, cheese plates, and brick-pressed chicken. However, for some reason, I never really made the connection that Diner would be likewise high foodie-minded. Recently, though, I've discovered that the owners are committed to sustainability, and have even expanded their Diner Journal into a blog that explores "food sources, our food politics, our culture and our ideas on sustainability. This week, I also learned from an interesting article on Brooklyn Based that both restaurants serve only local, grass-fed meats, even going so far as to have their own in-house butcher. Well, why the heck are they not advertising this on their websites - if I had known, I would have been patronizing both Marlow & Sons and Diner more frequently.

So I took a second look at the Diner menu, and realized it's not a diner at all, but a restaurant serving a delicious menu of local, seasonal offerings. (I would recommend changing their name to get more customers, but they are already plenty busy on weekend nights.) Jesse and I went there for dinner on Friday night, and enjoyed a hearty roasted potato and garlic soup,as well as blackened fish, but the star of the meal was the kale salad - warm chiffonades of kale eaten in mouthfuls with the flavorful crunch of bacon and breadcrumbs, and even a poached egg to top it off. As a side note, I was surprised to find that bacon is the only part of a pig that Jesse is willing to eat (pork is so fatty, he often whines), while I was trained by my parents to avoid bacon at all costs.

The one thing that I find disappointing about Diner is the cost of the alcohol. The cheapest drink on the menu is Stella at $5, while all other glasses are $7 or more and wine bottles start at $32. Cheers to them for serving Brooklyn-made Sixpoint beer, which Jesse and I cherish everytime we can find it, but I'm not sure why it's so much more expensive here than at other bars.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lentil, Sausage, Kale, and Rice Stew

Usually I'm not bothered by dishes that take their time to cook (see risotto, chili, dishes involving dried beans, etc), but today I kept looking at this pot, tasting the crunchy lentils, and thinking Why isn't this done yet? Finally, Jesse distracted me by taking our dog fora walk, whilethe stew lightly bubbled away. When we returned, it was done, finally, kind of like how a watched pot never boils. I was afraid it would be bland, but it's not at all. Instead it's surpsingly yummy - a sweet and tangy way to scarf down the healthfulness of lentils, kale, and brown rice (that sausage is just in there for fun).

I would make this again, but do one of two things to ease the long cooking time:
1. Soak the lentils for an hour beforehand so that they cook faster than the rice, instead of more slowly than the rice. It's been so long since I've made lentils that I forgot that's what the box recommends.

2. Throw all the ingredients in my crock pot in the morning and let the crock pot do its magic at low heat all day while I'm at work. Had I done that today, we could have eaten this when we were hungry, instead of filling ourselves beforehand on a bag of chips as a snack.

Lentil, Sausage, Kale, and Rice Stew
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch kale
2/3 lb sausage
1 cup lentils
3/4 cup brown rice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
crushed red pepper

Dice onion and mince garlic. In a large pot, sautee onion and garlic in olive oil over medium low heat until they begin to soften.

Add sausage (broken into small pieces) and sautee over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage begins to brown. If you want, you could drain the pot at this point to remove sausage fat that has accumulated in the pot.

Meanwhile rinse kale and chop into small pieces. Add kale and 2 tbsp water, scrape bits off bottom of pot. Cover and let steam for a few minutes until kale begins to wilt.

Add lentils, rice, mustard, and balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine.

Then add water, chicken stock, and spices. Bring to a boil and let simmer about an hour until rice and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if you like a soupier consistency. Serve with hunks of crusty bread or toasted pita.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Week 1: Steak, Roasted Potatoes, and Kale

I was supposed to make falafel this weekend, but due to changes in plans I ended up letting the dried chickpeas soak so long that they got all foamy with a bad smell. After doing some research, I determined this was definitely not good, so I threw them out. Chickpeas really only need to soak 12 hours, but you can keep them soaking up to 36 hours. I think the key is to rinse them out and put them in fresh water every 12 hours to prevent bad smell.

To replace the falafel endeavor for dinner tonight, I pulled a steak out of the freezer. We finally tried out the new meat vendor Elysian Fields Farm at our greenmarket that offers organic, grass fed heritage beef, pork, and chicken - we took home a sirloin steak that we grilled and served with colorful roasted potatoes and sauteed kale tonight for a romantic, gourmet meal at home. The steak was disappointly tough, but wikipedia tells me that's because sirloin is typically tougher than other premium steaks.

As an appetizer, we enjoyed slices of fresh baked bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was my second attempt at baking a whole wheat loaf based on the Loaf for Learning in the Laurel's Kitchen Guide to Whole Grain Bread Baking, and it came out moister and more flavorful than last time. I had read that a longer rise creates a better flavor, but I didn't believe it until I tried it today - I let the bread rise slowly at room temperature throughout the day (7 hours start to finish!) and it worked out beautifully. Next time I'll make two loaves at a time so I can gobble it up fresh out of the oven and still have enough left for the rest of the week.

I tried to improve on my usual sauteed kale with onion and garlic by steaming it in a light sauce: 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. This sauce produced a subtly sweet and spicy flavor that made the kale go down easier (I still don't love kale, except in colcannon, but it's good for me and it's one of the few season vegetables still available).

These beautiful potatoes - Adirondack reds and Adirondack blues - were chopped into small pieces, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, and then roasted for 45 minutes. We've noticed that these potatoes actually cook up faster and softer than ordinary yukon golds.

To top things off, Jesse picked up a bottle of red wine at Uva, which was decidedly unlocal. We haven't officially gone local/organic with alcohol, but I chastised him nonetheless for not thinking to buy an organic bottle. Regardless, Diano d'Alba le Cecche 2004 from Italy's Piemonte region was a pleasant dry red wine that went well with our steak and vegetables. I've decided to start recording wines here too so that I'll actually be able to enjoy repeat wine experiences. I can never remember the names of wines I like. Who can? Everytime I go to a wine store I'm overwhelmed by the new names around me.

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. Below is a summary of food mileage for this meal:

Sirloin - Elysian Fields Farm, Sloansville, NY - 190 miles
Kale and Onion - Garden of Eve Farm, Riverhead, NY - 76 miles
Garlic and Potatoes - unknown farm at greenmarket - under 300 miles
Rosemary - dried from unknown farm at greenmarket, Goshen, NY - 73 miles
Fall Flower Honey - Natures Way Farm, Lowman, NY - 236 miles
Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour; Annie's organic mustard, salt, pepper - unknown
Whole Foods 365 Organic Olive Oil; balsamic vinegar - Italy

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Brilliant Idea for Green Heat

According to this article, a Swedish company is going to suck all the heat generated by bodies in a main subway station and use it to heat a nearby office building. Who woulda thunk it? Can we get this going with New York's MTA?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Years Resolutions

2008 is going to be the year that I take hold of my life. Here are some resolutions/hopes/ideas:

- Get involved in Transportation Alternatives
- Start going to Brooklyn Green Drinks instead of just thinking about it
- Go to Green Edge events
- Find local sources for grains and beans
- Participate in the Dark Days Local Challenge
- Starting in April, form a Once-a-Month Local Foods Potluck (comment if you want to join this!)
- Support restaurants on the Eat Well Guide, and similarly minded joints
- Plant a mini garden on my (likewise mini) deck with rosemary, basil, sage, licorice mint, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers - any other ideas?
- Learn canning so I can enjoy local summer's bounty into the winter, through pickles, jams, applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, and more
- Bake better bread
- Figure out a composting method that will work for my apartment
- Figure out how to green my cleaning
- Try riding my bike to work
- Write a new song
- Perform at open mics
- Play another show
- Join a choir
- Go to the opera
- Spend more time with friends
- Take my dog to Prospect Park
- See more of the city's sights
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Go out dancing!
- Visit DC
- Visit Maine
- Visit Montreal
- Visit Montauk, probably by bike
- Tour Southampton Publick House (restaurant and brewery)
- Camp for free at New York's only whiskey microdistillery, Tuthilltown

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Week 1: Kale and Bran Meatloaf and Colcannon

This is my first post as part of the Dark Days Challenge, a challenge to cook at least one meal per week comprised of 90% local ingredients throughout the winter until March. To read about what fellow bloggers are cooking up locally in their area, check out Urban Hennery every other Sunday.

It's wintertime. Even though the weather can't make up its mind, waffling between last week's bitter cold and today's balmy air, the vegetables have succumbed to winter. At last Friday's Greenmarket in Union Square, just about the only vegetables I could find were the hardy types - onions, potatoes, garlic, and the mighty kale, with not even a carrot in sight. I did find some new meat options, however, including grass-fed ground beef, and turkey sausage from Di Paolo Turkey Farm. I decided to put my purchases to use in a great American homemade classic, perfect for warming your bones on a winter day - meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

I was pleased to find that adding kale to mashed potatoes is a well established Irish dish, Colcannon, that involves mashing potatoes with cabbage or winter greens, butter, salt, and pepper. I further amped up the color of the Colcannon by including a couple Adirondack red potatoes, a beautiful variety with pinkish flesh that is native to New York. I think sauteeing the kale before adding it to the potatoes and the meatloaf really boosted the flavor. Moreover, by using just a half bunch of kale in each, the kale added great texture and taste without overwhelming the mashed potatoes and meatloaf. Even I enjoyed it all, even though I don't like sauteed kale on its own.

Having never made meatloaf before, it was surprisingly moist and flavorful, and tasted too good to be true. But packed with kale, bran, and sustainable meats, we feasted, knowing that we were powering our body with good, healthy food. I will definitely be making this again.

Sauteed Kale
1 bunch of kale
1 onion
3 cloves garlic

Dice onion and garlic and sautee in extra virgin olive oil over medium low heat. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop kale, discarding thick stems towards bottom of the bunch. Add kale, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp water and cover, stirring occasionally until kale is wilted.

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)
2 large or 4 small potatoes
1/2 cup milk or soy milk (to make it vegan)
1 tsp butter (or Smart Balance Light to make it vegan)
1/2 sauteed kale mixture

Chop potatoes into 1-inch pieces and place in pot of salted water. Bring to boil and then let simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander and return to pot. Mash coarsely with wooden spoon. Add half of the sauteed kale mixture, salt, and pepper, and mash again until combined. Add butter and half of the milk, and mash again, adding additional milk until desired creamy consistency is reached.

Spicy Meatloaf Sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp water
five dashes of hot sauce

Whisk sauce ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork until smooth and combined.

Kale and Bran Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1/3 lb turkey sausage
1 1/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 sauteed kale mixture
1 large egg
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Empy the meatloaf into the loaf pan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes (check at 40 minutes). Cut a chunk out of the middle to make sure meat is no longer pink and is fully cooked. Remove meatloaf from pan and scrape any fat off the top. Spread sauce over top. Cut into slices, and serve with mashed potatoes and additional sauce if desired.

Summary - all ingredients were locally sourced from farmers markets in Union Square and McCarren Park except Bob's Red Mill Wheat Bran, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Muir Glen organic ketchup, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and soy milk.