Think your kids won’t eat tofu and kale?

My children continue to amaze me with what the eat. Last night, it was sautéed dino kale with Italian white beans (the really big ones), both from Half Moon Bay’s Iacopi Farms and strips of tofu (Hodosoy‘s Yuba) topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I joked with one friend on Facebook “When did I become so crunchy?!”.

If you asked me 7 years ago, when my motherhood career began, I never would have thought any child would have eaten this. After having children, my perspective changed dramatically. It comes down to what I tell my clients, never assume what your children will and won’t eat. I feel my role in this equation is to make sure people know how to cook food properly and how to season dishes effectively. This can make all of the difference in the world.

I’m going to break down the recipe in parts for you first:

I soaked the beans in the crock pot. Yes, you can always use canned beans but what a difference. Beans soaked in the crock pot come out really creamy (thanks, Lisa, for that suggestion). If you are cooking in the crock pot, place rinsed beans with about 4-6x more water and cook on High for 2-3 hours. Change the setting to Low for another 2 hours. I had to do this manually but maybe your cooker has the ability to be programmed. Either way, the result was a cooked, tender and creamy bean that was good by itself. You could always soak for 8 hours but it may need to be cooked for another hour on the stove afterwards.
Family Tip: for the picky eater, keep the beans separate from the rest of the dish or serve them mashed with some olive oil and a pinch of salt. They are also really good with pasta.

Sauté chopped onion and ground pepper in a little olive oil but not salt. Cook on a medium heat, stirring only occasionally. Add some butter and cook a few minutes, then add the garlic and salt. Cook for one minute before adding the kale.
Family Tip: By adding the butter, it adds great flavor to the dish. You can always add more olive oil. If your children don’t like garlic, remove a portion of the kale for them and then add the garlic to the pan for your dish.

While the onion cooks, cut the kale into strips and place in a bowl of water. I normally take the stem out but I did not do that this time; it was fine. This kale is called dino or dinosaur kale. The other name you might see is Laciniato. It also makes great kale chips. Bake cut strips that have been drizzled with olive oil and sea salt in a 400F oven for 11-15 minutes or until crisp. Ok, another thing I didn’t expect my kids to love but they do.
Family Tip: Try serving raw kale with Caesar dressing and shredded carrots; it’s delicious. And extremely healthy.

When the onion is golden brown, remove the kale from the bowl by scooping it up with your hands. You want some water on it to help it cook. Don’t tilt the pan to drain the water. If there’s any dirt, it might end up in your dish. Place all of the kale on top of the onion, give it a quick stir and then place a cover on top. I use a cover that’s slightly smaller than the pan so it sits on top of the kale and presses it down. It cooks in a matter of minutes and does not burn. If it seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan.
Family Tip: You can also serve the kale prepared like this with rice, risotto or pasta. For the pasta, add some milk or cream and some grated cheese.

The company Hodosoy creates this interesting product called Yuba. It is the Japanese word for the tender “skin” that is formed on top of soymilk when it’s heated. It doesn’t have much of a taste but takes on the taste of the dish. I took the piece and cut strips (chiffonade-style) to create long pieces that almost looked like fettuccine. It’s fun and easy to work with.
Family Tip: The possibilities are endless with this product unless of course, you can’t have soy. I would give this to any picky eater. It’s fun to unroll it and you can dip it in anything!

Local Tip: For those of you in the bay area, make sure to try Iacopi farms for the dino kale and Italian butter beans. They are organic and delicious. You can find them at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.

Dino Kale with Beans and Yuba Strips (see above for details on how to do each step)

2-3 c cooked large white dry beans or 2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp olive oil
Few grinds of freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of dino kale, chopped into strips
8 oz plain yuba, cut into strips
1 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil for “finishing”
2-3 Tbl grated Parmesan or any hard Italian cheese

1. Heat pan to medium. Add oil, then onions and pepper. Cook for a few minutes only stirring occasionally. Add butter and cook until almost golden.
2. Add salt and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add kale, stir and then place a cover on top of the kale. Cook for 4-6 minutes.
4. Remove cover, add beans and yuba; stir. Cook for 2 minutes or until beans and yuba are warm. Add finishing oil.
5. Place in a bowl and serve with grated cheese.

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3 Responses to Think your kids won’t eat tofu and kale?

    Hinshelwood Family February 18, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Ok, I totally want to eat this; no kale, no yuba in Spain 🙁

    The Family Chef February 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Perhaps there is kale in Italy 😉

    The Family Chef February 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    By the way, the beans and kale are from Iacopi farms; local and organic!

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