Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kale: The Queen of Greens in the Queen City

Kale Caesar! 

Just as perplexing as the rising star of one actor over another who’s just as or even more talented - who knows how a food once in the back row of the chorus ends up on center stage? 
Such is the story of kale. 
If you’ve crunched on kale chips, one of the internet’s recent recipe darlings, you know what I mean.
Kale, once a humble hero, is a cruciferous vegetable and cousin to cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Described as a dark leafy green, kale comes in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties.  It’s known as a winter green, but is actually available pretty much year round. Look for more kale creations as restaurant menus morph from summer to fall.  It can be braised as a side dish or tossed raw into salads.  Those super popular kale chips are created by chopping the relatively tough leaves into bite sized pieces, drizzling with olive oil and baking until crunchy.
Kale Caesar!
The writing's on the wall at Butcher & Bee in Charleston
Thought to be originally from Asia, the ancient Romans ate kale and it was a staple of the peasant diet throughout the Middle Ages.  But, chances are the Romans didn’t dine on a salad called Kale Caesar.  A foodie play on the salutation “Hail Caesar!” this healthier version of the classic salad usually made with romaine lettuce is on the menu at Butcher & Bee in Charleston, SC.  

The logo for Butcher and Bee - Get it? 

Hip and healthy dining at Butcher & Bee, oh there are plenty of pork products too. 

A popular place for lunch and themed dinners such as “Geechee Supper” or “Israeli Dinner”, Butcher & Bee blends hip with homemade. 

cherry pick this chair for your lunch time perch
The chairs are unmatched on purpose, have an old school feel - well kind of rummage sale feel - and customers wear t-shirts that say “Make Cornbread, Not War.”  

The crunchy green Kale Caesar at Butcher & Bee sports large croutons made from home made bread and zingy grated Parmesan. 
Knockout Nutrition
It’s a side. It’s a salad. It’s super kale.  Noted for its antioxidant content, anti-inflammatory effects and cancer prevention power, this queen of greens reigns when it comes to nutritional content. With only 36 calories in one cup of kale, you get the benefit of 5 grams of fiber, 15% of the daily requirement of calcium, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important nutrients for eye-health.
Too much of a good thing.
Vitamin K, which is highly concentrated in kale, is important for normal blood clotting and promotes bone health. But too much vitamin K is a problem for anyone taking anticoagulants to treat blood clots, so they are advised to avoid or limit intake of kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs.
Another nutrition negative, kale is loaded with compounds called oxalates which can interfere with calcium absorption so if you’re a big kale consumer make sure to up the ante on calcium containing foods and beverages in your diet.
Kale Creations
Kale adds flavor and texture to soups such as minestrone.  Vegetarian restaurant, World Peace Café in Sandy Springs serves a kale based soup everyday. MetroFresh on Monroe mixes raw kale with jicama, sweet peppers and white balsamic dressing.  Chef Ian Winslade at Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland serves braised kale with grilled Georgia trout. Kale salad is the sidekick for flat iron steak at South City Kitchen.
Lunch at Butcher & Bee with Charleston cookbook author and foodie friend, Nathalie Dupree prolific terrific author of the brand spanking new 700+ recipes
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking knows a thing or two about kale. 

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