Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kale "flowers" and Cashew Cream Alfredo Sauce

Searching for something green tonight among the meager supply of veggies in the 'fridge, I was most uninspired.
I looked wistfully out at my weed-choked, rain-soaked, moss covered garden space and wished for warm summer weather and fresh grown veggies.

But wait, what do I see? My Lacinato (or Dinosaur) kale is still around, but tall and straggly - what's left has started to flower and gone to seed. Sad. I went out and looked at it closely though - the 'flowers' looked a LOT like little broccoli heads. All sorta the same family, right? I tasted it, expecting that strong, over-grown bitterness you get with the old, tough leaves... Amazingly, these little kale "heads" were tender and SO SWEET!
I picked several large handfuls and steam-sauteed them with a few drops lemon juice and olive oil. Wow. They cooked super-quickly and wilted down quite a bit... but still... Insanely deLISH! I've discovered a new favorite green!

I paired the kale flowers with some caramelized onions and red-peppers, and whole wheat rigatoni with our family's absolute favorite pasta sauce - Cashew Garlic Alfredo (which I somehow got MUCH too thick tonight).

I threw some kalamata olives in the pasta sauce, maybe a bit too salty but they went well with the kale and peppers.

Cashew Garlic Alfredo Sauce:

1/2 cup raw cashews (not roasted)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (I don't measure, just a good squeeze)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 clove garlic (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp. extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tb. nutritional yeast (optional)

Pulverize raw cashews in the food processor until very fine. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water. (*The BEST way to do this, is to make the sauce while the pasta cooks - scoop out 1 1/2 cups of lightly salted pasta-cooking water and use it - the starch from the pasta-cooking water thickens the sauce PERFECTLY!) Add water to cashews and process until smooth... this will take several minutes.
Add nutritional yeast (optional - my kids prefer it without), garlic clove, olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice. Process again until smooth, another couple minutes, it'll start to thicken a bit too! Makes a decadently creamy sauce. Serve over cooked pasta.

This stuff is wonderfully simple and tastes SO very good. I often add sauteed mushrooms, chives, chopped olives or sundried tomatoes, depending on my mood.

NOTE: Recipe has been edited, I forgot to add the olive oil!


Thanks for all the kind thoughts while my Sprout is off traveling the world (or Ecuador). She e-mailed this AM and they all arrived safely and everyone was fine. So far, so good. Yay.


Twisted Cinderella said...

I am definitely going to try your alfredo sauce. Glad you mentioned that the nutritional yeast was optional as I don't have any and I would love to give this a shot!

How cool that you tried the Kale flowers and they turned out so good.

scottishvegan said...

I love that your kale flowers were delicious! The alfredo sauce looks and sounds yummy.

Hope your daughter is having fun on her trip :)

froggy said...

Wow.... I wonder how well kale will grow in New Mexico. I might have to steal some of yours. I've never had an oppurtunity to eat the flowers before and it sounds really good!

b36Kitchen said...

i MUST try the Cashew Garlic Alfredo Sauce! Cashews are my all time favorite! Plus it's got another favorite of mine, Nutritional yeast!

looks delicous!


bazu said...

Oh cool, a new green!! Maybe I'll use that as an incentive to grow some kale this year- sounds delicious! And the alfredo sauce sounds beyond good.

It's good to hear that your daughter arrived in Ecuador safe and sound. I know you're worried, but I bet she's having so much fun- I'd give anything for a chance to travel like that right about now... =)

veganmum said...

I just discovered your blog, and your alfredo sauce was just the thing for a baked pasta dish I was making up tonight. It was absolutely delicious (I used the nutritional yeast, btw), and I think it really "made" the recipe. Your sauce will be a standard around here now, I think! Simple, healthful, and delicious. Thanks so much!

aTxVegn said...

So glad you heard from your daughter and she has arrived safe and sound.

You were brave to taste those greens! How creative, and Lacinato Flowers sounds so beautiful.

The cream sauce sounds wonderful - over anything!

vko said...

The kale flowers look wonderful- how perfect for your 'green' craving. So nice that you have a garden with your own vegetables, I would love to have a garden.

That cashew cream sauce looks decadent and perfect- will have to give that a try.

Hope your daughter is having a great time- she will be home in no time at all to share all her stories with you. What a wonderful experience!

KleoPatra said...

A good cashew sauce is always a good thing! And the kale flowers are a nice touch, by the way. Very cool. I love nutritional yeast and its flavor... Still enjoying your blog!!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the visit.

The Alfredo sounds absolutely wonderful.

We don't get kale or nutritional yeast here unfortunately. I have a friend in the States at the moment and asked him to bring me a packet of the yeast if he remembers.

It's wonderful for your daughter to go to Ecuador. It is so important to travel and experience different cultures. I wish more schools did that.

Kate said...

I have decided I really need to try your alfredo sauce out on my brother. I love your blog, it is great to see that you successfully raised your kids veggie.

Melody said...

That is so incredibly cool that you found a new veggie in your garden this time of year!

I make a very similar cashew sauce and it sure is rich and delicious.

madeinalaska said...

Oh,, I saw your comments on Boo's a beg-a nut- blog about .. uhhhumm.. slightly older gals.. your a funny gal! (umm I am almost 37.. I don't feel old)
Your alfredo looks great but it's too bad we have a cashew allergy in our house..

Veg-a-Nut said...

Well, I just finished reading your entire blog and am so excited for the new recipes I need to fit into the menu. I am going to go start a batch of seitan and wait for hubby to get home for dinner. Wonderful blog and I have to try your alfredo sauce! yeepeeee

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've never tried any of the faux alfredo recipes but yours looks very tasty and easy.

Barbara said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm adding yours to my bookmarks. If you haven't come across it yet, try my soft crust wheat bread recipe. it's great.


Webly said...

I'll have to try your cashew sauce as soon as I get a food processor back in my life! Everything looks great - as always.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe ! I can't wait to try it :))

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