Food For Thought: Adventures In Cooking – Do This … Not That!


By Sandy McCall


Kale has never been one of my favorite veggies no matter how good it is for me! I have struggled for years when eating kale because I have found it pretty offensive because it is so tough and chewy and then there’s the flavor! Read on …


My friends told me for years that I just didn’t cook it right and as soon as I tried their kale recipe, I would love it! NOT! As a matter of fact, I have never found a kale recipe that I liked until now. This one transformed the texture of kale and the flavor is wonderful.


Ceviche is defined as “A South American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood, typically garnished and served as an appetizer.” The marinade typically contains either lime or lemon, which “cooks” the seafood.


NO fish in this recipe so perfect for the vegetarian as well!


FoodForThoughtKale Ceviche Salad


1 bunch of kale (I like organic)


Wash thoroughly, cut the stems out and slice it very thinly into ribbons (one way to do this is to pile up several leaves, roll them tightly and thinly slice them OR, you can try your food processor)


Put kale into a container with a tight lid that can be turned without leaking.


Whisk together equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil (the amount depends on the amount of kale—for a small bunch of kale, ¼ to ½ Cup each will work fine)


Pour over the kale and let it “cook” in the oil and juice for at least 12-16 hours or over night. I make it at dinnertime one night and it is ready for dinner the next night.


After the kale is “cooked,” add grated Parmesan cheese, dried cherries, chopped almonds and a bit of salt. If it tastes too sour, add about a teaspoon of agave nectar.


This is my favorite “greens” recipe! You can add any additional or different ingredients that suit you. I have used dried cranberries, pecans and different cheeses and I think that dried figs, or apricots would be nice. You can experiment according to your taste. I have also used lime juice to cook the kale, so it’s a matter of which flavors suit you.


On to what NOT to do at home!


I have been on a mission to find a pizza crust that I like that is not only gluten free but also yeast free. One idea is the recipe for Socca Pizza that appeared in the May 2013 issue.


I found a prepared mix made by Pamela’s called Pizza Crust Mix that can also be used for Focaccia and dinner rolls as well. It is gluten free but not yeast free so I thought I would try it with baking powder instead of yeast to make a yeast-free pizza crust! Well even though the end result was good in terms of flavor and texture, the process was pretty funny!


So, I added the oil and water as per the package instructions and then replaced the yeast packet with baking powder. The directions say to oil your hands and pat it into a pizza pan or cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Sounds easy!


Well it is good I have a sense of humor because it wasn’t easy at all … The mix turned into something akin to bubble gum mixed with glue! HA! It was pretty funny as I could not get it off my fingers and could not spread it in the pan … would have loved to have a picture to include here, but picking up my camera probably wouldn’t have been a good idea!


In an effort to not waste the ingredients, I took some of the dough and put it in the food processor with some extra water thinking that a thick liquid might work if I poured it into a pie pan and then baked it. It worked relatively well but changed the texture of the crust. It was still edible and I am grateful not to waste the food!


So no matter how you choose to make your crust, I think that precooking the crust is helpful before adding your toppings.


You might try these toppings on your favorite crust but don’t try my idea unless you are prepared to be “stuck” for a while!


I added chicken strips cooked in my homemade blueberry barbecue sauce, sautéed mushrooms with slivered sweet red peppers and banana peppers and the traditional red pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. I think goat or feta cheese might be a good substitution but I haven’t tried it yet, mostly because I am still trying to get the dough “glue” off my fingers and utensils!


Have fun, try something new … Some recipes work and some don’t but I can usually salvage something even from the recipes that I am challenged by!



Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not cooking or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys writing for WNC Woman and volunteering for Madison Habitat for Humanities and Manna Food Bank. 828-273-9755.

Sandy McCall
Written by Sandy McCall