April 15th, 2019

Just last week before the snow hit the Carolinas, I harvested the last crop of kale from my garden. I normally add it to stews, casseroles, soups, smoothies or make delicious sides or healthy snacks for the boys. Then I thought, "Hey, no fresh basil in the house. Let's use kale to make some pesto." This time of year, you always have Brazil nuts lying around in the nut bowl that are perfect to use to recreate a new twist on an old favorite that is packed with nutrition and full of flavor.

Brazil nuts contain a fabulous amount of selenium, 544 micrograms per ounce. Selenium is a vital trace nutrient your body needs. Low intake of selenium is associated with increased incidence of skin, lung, colorectal, gastric, and prostate cancers. Selenium-rich soil is derived from volcanic deposits. Areas such as the Dakotas and Nebraska are the best places to grow plants that are full of selenium. If you're not eating your nuts or greens, you get selenium through the meat you eat, if it's been grass fed on selenium rich soil. Other sources include clams, oysters, and tuna, but, by far, the best source is a weekly Brazil nut or two.

Forget about the Gogi berries, Acai berries, or your daily drink of Pomegranate juice. Yes, they are superfoods, but they are so expensive. Eat your kale. Kale is truly the king of the superfoods. Part of the brassica family, it contains powerful phytochemicals that have been found to help prevent breast, cervical, and colon cancer. It's also loaded with vitamins A, C and K, zeaxanthin, lutein, four grams of protein, and three grams of fiber in every two cups. Kale is a true powerhouse of goodness. Plus, even the organic variety is cheap.

Winter Kale & Brazil Nut Pesto
Serves 4

3oz Brazil nuts
8oz kale, remove thick stalks for the kale
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3oz Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350'F

How to Make:
1. Place the Brazil nuts on a lined baking tray and pop in the oven to roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then pop into a food processor and chop until you have a coarse crumble, remove from the blender.
2.Take a large saucepan and half fill with water and bring to the boil, add the kale and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain, squeeze all the water out of the kale using a clean tea towel.
3.Put the kale and garlic in a food processor and chop until almost smooth (but still with a bit of texture), then add the nuts, oil and parmesan cheese, process for 30 seconds as you want the mixture to still retain some coarseness. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
4.Place into a container with a tight fitting lid, chill in the fridge for up to 3 days, this is delicious when cooked gnocchi or whole wheat pasta - enjoy!!!


Chef Mark .

Copyright © 2018, 2019 Mark Allison