Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pasta e Fagiole

Don't be fooled by wiry look of this classic Italian soup. In real, it is a full of flavor, filling and satisfying meal. I was really impressed by this recipe from "50 Shades of Kale" cookbook. I know that I'll be cooking it again and again!

Blog's Category: Awesome Findings

Pasta e Fagiole



Translated from Italian, Pasta e Fagioli means Pasta with Beans. This is another recipe from 50 Shades of Kale cookbook. This particular recipe exceeded my expectations big time. I would never expect I will like this soup that much. So did my folks - everybody gave the highest scores to it. Try it - I bet you'll love it too.

Here is the funny moment - recipe calls for grated parmesan as a garnish for pasta e fagioli. I was so impressed by rich flavor of just prepared soup that I plain forgot to sprinkle parmesan on a top of all our soups. Nevertheless, we were so busy enjoying the soup that I figured out this mistake long after :)

What is it?

This is a soup with a lot of vegetables (carrots, onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes, kale) along with a more robust ingredients such as navy beans, pasta and ham. Chicken stock and wine are the base of the soup, in which all ingredients "brew" and develop soup's unique favor.

Taste Description

It's hard to describe the taste of a dish where abundance of mildly flavored earthy ingredients get together and create a single powerful taste and flavor which pulls you in and makes you want it more and more. Comforting and addicting; make a large pot - you won't regret!
Ha! That parmesan I forgot to garnish my soup with would bring even more fun... Well.. I've got another reason to cook it again.

How to Serve

Serve very warm. I don't think you need any satellite dish, although to make it a meal some cheesy garlic bread wouldn't hurt.

Pasta e Fagioli
(Fifty Shades of Kale cookbook)
For 8 servings:
  • 1 cup dry pasta (small, such as orzo, small rings or shells)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cups diced ham
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (or 6 chicken broth cubes per 8 cups of hot water)
  • 2 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio is my favorite for this)
  • 8 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans of navy beans (or butter beans), drained and rinsed
  • about 5 cups of kale, chopped into thin strings
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated

- Cook pasta for 3 minutes less than called for on the package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

- In a large soup pot, place the olive oil, ham and black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until ham is golden-brown.

- Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.

- Add chicken broth, wine, tomatoes, beans and pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables and pasta soft and tender.

- Add kale, bring to a boil, stir. Turn heat off, cover and let it stay for about 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with parmesan, sprinkled on a top. Enjoy!


- Original recipe calls for a bacon instead of ham. I like to use lightly smoked ham - it bring more flavor I think. Also I chop ham into pretty large chunks so "vegetarian" population of my family could easily omit them.

- I just cooked this soup again and used cannellini bean versus butter beans which I used when I cooked the soup first time. IMHO, butter beans win - large buttery (indeed!) beans looks better and tastes smoother. But after all it's not a huge difference, so use whichever you have on hands.


I guess it's a crime to rinse the pasta. But to prevent it from sticking up, I prefer to rinse it with a cold water. Then it can wait for its turn to dive into the soup.
That's a lot of vegetable chopping for this recipe but it all worth it!


Instead of cooking vegetables in a soup pot from the beginning and then adding chicken stock to it, I followed my native Ukrainian way - we cook some vegetables separately in a skillet and then add them into the pot with a stock and continue to cook in a pot then. Do whatever way you like. If you are inexperienced cook - just follow my instructions in a recipe.

Usually I add a splash of wine right from a bottle. This time, for the review of 50 Shades of Kale, I properly measured a wine by cups... 

This butter beans are such a large cute and buttery goodness.

Don't forget to garnish with parmesan as I did! Although taste soup first without it - I didn't miss parmesan in mine at all!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kale Chocolate Chip Cookie

Subdue that King of Guilty Pleasures - Chocolate Chip Cookie with a bunch of healthy kale. Undercover agent Kale is cleverly incorporated into a cookie dough and actually makes it better. Chocolate Chip Cookie is back as a healthy treat!

Blog's Category: Awesome Findings

Kale Chocolate Chip Cookie


This post continues the series of recipes from "50 Shades of Kale". Who could tell that chopped kale mixed in a cookie dough will work? It not just works, it actually makes dough lighter in texture and more chewy. I'm still not sure if it adds up to the taste of cookie overall. If not specks and tiny strands of green in a dough, nobody would ever tell there is a kale in it.

Want to get some vitamins to the food of your picky one? Chop or process kale even more fine and just forget about it when answering those pesky "what's in it?"

Whole wheat flour, dark chocolate chips, oats and some nuts thrown in will make these cookie even better for all of us, healthy food freaks.

What is it?

It's your pretty "normal" chocolate chip cookie, but with some healthier ingredients than usually: regular unsalted butter, eggs, whole wheat flour, some old-fashioned oat flakes, brown sugar, some molasses, dark chocolate chips and, of course, kale. What's an innocent list of ingredients, ha?!

Taste Description

It's that tasty (if not better!) as your favorite bakery's chocolate chip cookies. The difference only is: you don't know what thrown into your cookies from a bakery. Also I think that kale adds up a little bit of more chewiness, which I, personaly, just lo-o-o-ove in my cookies.

How to Serve

It's fantastic while still warm - maximum of chewiness, chocolate is still melted (keep a napkin around). It's awesome when cooled down too. Let me know how it is after a couple of days - mine never lived that long ;)

Kale Chocolate Chip Cookie
(Fifty Shades of Kale cookbook)

For about 40 small-ish cookies :
  • 1 firmly packed cup of torn kale leaves
  • 2.5 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet ones)
  • 1 cup walnut halves (optional)

- Preheat the oven to 350F. If not using silicon mats for baking, spray baking sheets with a little flavorless olive oil.

- In a food processor pulse kale 10-20 times until finely chopped. Set aside.

- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer, on a low speed, until thoroughly combined. Continuing running mixer on a low, add molasses and eggs, one by one, until just incorporated. Add vanila extract, mix it in.

- Combine butter-sugar-eggs mixture with your dry ingredients. Add kale and half of all chocolate chips. Mix all together until just incorporated.

- Using cookie dough spoon, drop the dough onto baking sheet (greesed or covered with a silicon mat), 2" apart. Distribute remaining chocolate chips onto each cookie and, if using walnuts, place walnut half on a top of each cookie.

- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are firm around the edges but still slightly soft in a middle.

- Cool your cookies down on a rack and enjoy!


- Throw all your chocolate chips in a dough if you don't feel like doing tidious job of planting half of them on a top of cookies as I suggested above.

IT has to be 1 cup of firmly packed kale...

This cookie dough spoon is such a convenience... It releases dough from a spoon perfectly...
Love my silicon mat - no greasing needed.

As you see, I'm adding chocolate chips on a top of each cookie...

told ya...2" apart..

I've made half of the batch without walnuts

let me tell you - it's a goooood stuff

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scrambled Egg and Kale

This is a simple but impressive recipe from a great cookbook I've being writing review for recently - 50 Shades of Kale (aha!). I can't wait to have these scrambled eggs for a breakfast again!

Blog's Category: Perfect Breakfast

Scrambled Egg and Kale


I was thrilled to write my first official review for a book. No joke - it's cookbook "50 Shades of Kale", no more no less. Stop smiling... Find the entire review here.

This post will open the series of recipes I cooked from this book. While I was sticking to all recipes 100%, there were some recipes that did not work for me, but no worries - I will post modified variation of those so you will end up with a decent dish ;)

BTW, IMHO and so on, this book is worthy of your ownership (nope - I don't have any financial advantage saying this)... Anyway, if you have no desire buying it, you'll find some recipes from there here - kale is such an underrated and so healthful and, used correctly, brilliant ingredient.

Kale is not new to me. You already can find several recipes on my site using kale. For example, kale chips I learnt to make from Jacques Pepin are awesome. By the way, the book, I mentioned above, also has kale chips recipe which, I believe, is worse than my (read - Pepin's). It feels like I own the secret that totally accessible to everyone but nobody wants to use. The secret is - bake chips at 250F, not higher (as a lot of sources suggest). Well...let's get back to this post's subject - yummy scrambled eggs with kale.

What is it?

Whole bunch of kale leaves, cooked and mixed up with scrambled eggs and cheese. All that is piled up on a toasted english muffin - how mouthwatering is that, ha? And sure thing - healthy :)

Taste Description

That's right - everything with a melted cheese just has to be delicious. But wait a minute, kale, cooked and softened, creates such an awesome texture for all these cheesy gooeyness that you'll be surprised what kale can do here. Eggs...please don't tell me you don't like them. It's like cheese - the more the better. Soft, chewy, gooey, juicy, tender - all that on a top of crunchy english muffin - you can't go wrong here. 

How to Serve

Serve right away when it's still hot/warm, cheese is melted, eggs are tender and kale is juicy.

Scrambled Egg and Kale
(Fifty Shades of Kale cookbook)
For the 4 perfect sized portions: 
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 cups of thinly sliced kale (it's about 1 medium bunch; don't use stalks - before slicing tear leaves off from a stalk)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella or other nice melting cheese such as mozzarella, colby, emmenthal, gouda, fontina, muenster or swiss
  • 4 english muffins, split in half with a fork (pierce muffin with o fork all around and then separate half with your fingers)

- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Set aside.

- Prepare your english muffins - split them in half with a fork: pierce muffin with o fork all around and then separate half with your fingers. Toast muffin halves to golden-brown. Set aside.

- Heat a large skillet, add olive oil and kale. Cook kale, turning it over and pressing down with a spatula, for about 5 minutes, until it's soft and juicy. Transfer kale to a plate and set aside.

- In the same skillet, add a tiny splash of olive oil and cook eggs, scrambling, for 2-3 minutes until soft curds form. Add kale and cheese. Take off the heat. Quickly stir everything well and cover with a lid. Let it stay for a minute and then serve it immediately on a muffins. Enjoy!


- Recipe does not call for a salt. Kale has enough minerals to omit salt, but if you are salt addict, add some salt to your eggs while whisking.

When you split muffins in half with a fork as I suggest above, you are getting this awesome uneven crust all around the edges after toasting them.

First, slice kale into thin 1/4" strands.

Then run your knife across the strands. Don't do that if you don't mind pulling some strands out later on while eating your breakfast.

Kale quickly cooks down quickly, becomes much smaller in volume, jucier.

Starting here, you have to do everything quickly.... :)


..I already miss you, my eggs and kale muffins...