Most helpful positive review
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Kale kale the gang's all here!
on July 4, 2012
Sharon Hanna's "The Book of Kale: The Easy-to-Grow Superfood 80+ Recipes" is filled with information on lots of different varieties of kale. Did you know that out of all foods, not just vegetables, that kale has a whopping 1000 out of 1000 in the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index scoring system? It's one of the healthiest foods on the planet when you consider nutrient density per calorie. Years ago, when I first read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's books on Foods for Health and realized that kale was way up at the top of the list, I started looking for more ways to get it into my family's meals. I really had no idea what to do with it other than sauteing it with garlic and onions as a nice "greens" dish or blending it into a smoothie. But Hanna's book opens up all kinds of new possibilities. There are recipes sections for Breakfast, (Can you believe it, kale at breakfast?) Starters & Light Meals, Salads, Soups & Stews, Vegetable Dishes & Sides, Pasta, Polenta & Risotto and Main Dishes. My favorites so far are: Kalekopita, Tabouli with Quinoa & Kale (good as a main course salad or to fill wraps), Pasta Puttanesca with Kale and Karefree Kale & Spud Soup with Italian Sausage (I made this with vegan Italian sausage and it turned out just delicious - and easy!) Each recipe is marked with symbols telling whether it's gluten free, vegetarian or vegan. Although we do occasionally eat meat I like to cook vegan at home. It was easy to find vegan substitutions for any meat or cheese products to make the recipes that weren't already vegan. There are 80+ recipes included.
But there is much more to this book than just the recipes. There's a whole section on the nutritional benefits of kale, listing all the different nutrients. There's also a section on it's history and how it's been used throughout history, around the world. One of my favorite sections was on how to grow your own. Hanna swears it is an easy vegetable to grow, hardy even in area with short growing seasons. She has photos of it growing in the Vancouver area in the snow! There is lots of information here about growing it from seed, from transplants and from purchased plants. There are more varieties than I would have imagined. She has me convinced; I think I'll plant some in the fall. A section on kids and kale presents ideas about how to get them interested in growing and caring for it (and eating it, once it's harvested!) It has an index at the end where you can cross reference by other ingredients. There's also a list of seed sources for Canada and the US, the UK and France.
The thing I like best about this book is that it has lots of beautiful color photographs, both of the plants and varieties as well as preparation methods and photos of some of the recipes. (I love the fonts used for the titles!) This is a beautiful book not only for your own cookbook library, but would also make a nice gift for anyone interested in exploring nutrient packed recipes. I received a complementary reviewer's copy of this book from the publisher and have found it entertaining as well as informative.