Me So Happy Beef Roll

How do you get your ‘happy’ on?  For me it is quite simple, sharing a meal with my family.  My Dad was born in Shanghai so Northern Chinese food is what our family gravitates towards, much to the chagrin of my husband and my sister-in-law (not Kale) who are not used to the carb heavy foods that are characteristic of that part of China.  The first time my husband joined us for Shanghai food, he joked that it would take him a week to digest all the noodles and breads that made up most of the meal.

What can I say, I love carbs, and so do my family.  One of the dishes that we always order, and is snapped up as soon as it arrives at the table, is the beef roll.  Even my husband and sister-in-law love it too, which says a lot about how good it is!  It is a fairly basic dish, but it is the flatbread that makes it great and holds it together, literally.

Miso Beef Sandwich Kake2Kale 1

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Iced Teas to Please!

I have many guilty pleasures, but none more so than sitting on the deck with Kale, whiling away the time with a stack of magazines soaking up the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Since we live in Raincouver, sunshine is always welcome, as is a delicious iced tea to wet our whistles and to stay hydrated.  In fact I decided to make two different teas with you today: Pineapple Mojito Iced Iea and Hibiscus Ginger Iced Tea.

Ice Tea by Kake2Kale.com

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Taking Tofu Up a Notch

Tofu is the Meryl Streep of the food world.  I love Meryl Streep so this is not an insult at all.  Meryl’s brilliance is her ability to lose herself in any role.  I remember watching her as Julia Child in the movie Julie & Julia and there were moments when my mind would shift back and forth – “It’s Meryl on the screen as Julia Child, no it’s really Julia Child, no it’s Meryl…”  Tofu is just like Meryl in the way it can completely take on the flavours that are added to it.  I have grilled tofu and served it with a satay sauce, put it in a broccoli cheese dip, added it to lasagna, and all to great success.


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A 4-Carrot Soup

I once knew a couple who were very much in love.  They dated for 5 years and didn’t have much money, so he proposed to her with a 1-carrot diamond ring!  No, that is not a typo, he found the biggest carrot and carved it into a ring.  To her, that ring was more meaningful than a real diamond ring and she proudly wore it until it wasn’t fresh anymore. As demonstrated, you can do more with carrots than just eat them.

soup 2 Kake2Kale

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Good Things Come in Small Packages

People love eating me all around the world.  I am like a warm, cozy blanket for your taste buds and tummy.  You can fill me with all sorts of goodies, meat, and veggies.  What am I?  No, I am not a calzone.  Go smaller and Asian….you got it – Dumplings!  Kale and I can eat them every day if we could.  We aren’t sure if it’s in our blood, but there is just something in those small puffy pillows of savoury meat and veggies that calls to us.  A few years ago, Kale and I took a dumpling making class and loved it.  Ironically, it was taught by a very knowledgeable non-Asian guy.  Making dumplings at home is ideally a social activity; therefore, Kale and I took off to the Granville Island Public Market to shop for the ingredients, then headed back to her place to make them.

But before we dove into making the dumplings, we fortified ourselves with a late breakfast of tea and scones.   It felt like we had stepped back in time to when we were kids playing with our tea sets.  Although now, we drank fragrant lavender rooibos tea and nibbled on blueberry-lemon-oat scones using Kale’s sophisticated fine china.

Superfoods in our dumplings:
Turkey – This meat is lean, high in protein and has a good amount of iron, phosphorous, zinc , potassium and vitamin B’s. We selected the free-run and non-medicated turkey.
Prawns – Good protein with Omega-3’s, B vitamins, and is also high in iron, as well as zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous.
Shitake mushrooms – Has a particularly high amount of copper, which may be beneficial to heart health.  These mushrooms are also high in B vitamins and selenium.  It contains lentinan which has anti-fungal properties and can also protect against cancer.
Chives – A good source of vitamin K which is important for the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein.
Ginger – An anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants to support its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties.

Granville Island Kake2Kale

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I Want to Be a Spice Girl

I don’t really do resolutions anymore, because I realize something about myself (which is probably true of a lot of people) and that is – I have no trouble starting something, but sticking with it is a whole other matter.  This doesn’t stop me from trying something new!

“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want”  I want to be a Spcie Girl!  It’s because I want to use more spices in my cooking and which one to start experimenting with?  In the last few years, turmeric has been gaining popularity in the supplement world because of its powerful active compound curcumin, which is actually a golden orange hued pigment.  It has antioxidant,  anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties and may even be instrumental in slowing down the effects of Alzhiemer’s disease.  It has also supports the liver as a detoxifier.

tumeric drink 3 Kake2Kale

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The Ginger Bomb

Who knew cola could be a medicinal drink? When I had the sniffles or a sore throat as a child, I was given a hot drink of cola, boiled with ginger and lemon.  And, by gosh, after drinking this delicious concoction I seemed to feel better.  Once in a while, I order this drink, which is still served at Hong Kong style cafes, and let it transport me back to my childhood.

Now, instead of hot cola, my husband and I make a hot drink with ginger when we feel under the weather.  “Shall I make you the concoction?” offered by my wonderful husband is music to my ears when my nose is runny and my chest is congested.  After a cup or two of this drink, the congestion loosens up and I am able to expel the, ahem..mucous.  Since this drink does such a good job of chasing away those nasty symptoms I am calling it the Ginger Bomb!

Ginger Drink 2 Kake2kale

Ginger is a rock star in the superfood realm, it might not look very pretty with its knobby physique, but it is packed with medicinal and therapeautic properties.  You may think of it as a root, but in fact is the subterranean stem of the plant, called a rhizome, from which roots and shoots extend from.  It has been used in China for thousands of years, and spread to many other cultures via the Silk Road.

It is full of antioxidants like zingerones and gingerols, as well as having antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic properties.  Ginger may also be just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in helping with pain relief.  Studies have found a significant decrease in pain from muscle soreness in women athletes, and a reduction in migraine headaches and even in menstrual cramps.  It is also well known to be effective in reducing nausea and upset stomachs.  It is also great for coughs because it helps drain the lungs of mucuous, which is why it is in our concoction!

Ginger is usually sold in pretty large chunks, so when I can’t use it up fast enough, I put it in the freezer, and just grate what I need.

Naturally, you can enjoy my Ginger Bomb concoction even if you don’t have a cold or the sniffles!  It’s a cozy and healthy drink anytime of year.

Other Superfoods in the recipe:
Pineapple – Contains Vitamin C, bromelain which is a digestive enzyme.
Lemon – Contains Vitamin C and lots of phytochemicals.
Honey – May help in treating seasonal allergies if you take a daily dose of honey made from your local area.  It fights infections, in particular manuka honey, which is made from the tea tree plant.

Ginger Drink Kake2kale

The Ginger Bomb serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 5 slices ginger*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Put ginger slices into a pot of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add pineapple juice and heat through for about 2 minutes.
  • Then add honey and lemon juice. Serve immediately while hot.

*You may save the ginger slices to be used for another bomb.

Eat well and stay healthy!  {Kake}

No Grumble Blueberry Crumble

There is a delightful part in my favourite childhood book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when a naughty, gum chewing girl, Violet Beauregard gets her just desserts (pun intended).  While at the factory, she deliberately pops an experimental piece of gum into her mouth after being warned against it.  As she chews this piece of gum it takes her through a three-course meal ending with blueberry pie, then she turns  into one humongous blueberry and has to be juiced to bring her back down to size.  Not only was Roald Dahl a wildly imaginative storyteller, but his views on child rearing were tucked in there as well.  After that, I am sure Miss Beauregard never put anything in her mouth that she wasn’t supposed to have.

The only blueberry issue I came across is really a non-blueberry one.  I will explain.  Once, when I was eating a store bought blueberry muffin, I discovered while reading the list of ingredients that no blueberries were in it at all.  That was a big head-scratcher.  Later, I realized there were more examples of this in the frozen food aisle when you pulled out a box of ubiquitous frozen blueberry waffles processed by one of the big industrialized food companies.  There were no real blueberries.  So what are these impostor blueberries made of?  It turns out, some are simply artificial colouring chemicals, hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars, ewwww!!!  All the more reason to read labels when grocery shopping.

With blueberries in season (at least in our part of the world), I’m taking advantage of eating REAL, fresh blueberries and making a variety of dishes.  A blueberry crumble tops the list.  I call my version the No Grumble Blueberry Crumble because it is super easy….after all, no one wants to be slaving in the kitchen when it is gorgeous outside.  As a bonus, I’ve also included my Blueberry Waffle recipe at the bottom, so keep reading!

Blueberry Ginger Crumb Cake kake2kale

No Grumble Blueberry Crumble serves 8

Superfoods in the recipe are:
Blueberries – This little berry has a high amount of antioxidants.  They contain anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, and iron
Oats – Oats is a good source of fibre, and oat bran helps to lower cholesterol.
Ginger – Anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antiseptic.
Cinnamon – Diets rich in cinnamon can help counter the effects of a high-fat meal on your body.  This spice may also balance blood sugar levels and can also help fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Filling:

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ¼ cup gluten free flour
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Combine all of the above and place into greased 9” x 9” baking dish.

Topping:

  • ½ cup butter melted
  • ½ gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ cups gluten free oat flakes
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. grated ginger
  • ¼ t. salt

Combine the topping ingredients and spoon over the filling.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

My bonus recipe – Blueberry Waffle recipe makes 6-4″ waffles

They really aren’t complicated.  It takes me about 15 minutes from the time I start putting the ingredients together to eating the first waffle.  And if you don’t have a waffle iron, just make pancakes.  Here is a bonus recipe from my Fanny Farmer cookbook that has been engraved in my brain after probably making it hundreds of times over the years.

  • 1 cup flour (can be Gluten Free)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk (can be dairy free)
  • 1 egg
  • *1 T oil or melted butter

Directions:

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together.  Then in another bowl beat the egg with the milk, and then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir the oil into the wet ingredients.
  • Combine until ingredients are just mixed, lumps are fine.  Then cook waffles according to your waffle iron instructions.

*If making pancakes, then omit the oil.  Spoon batter into preheated non-stick pan, or griddle and flip once when you see bubbles.  Try not to flip more than once, otherwise they will not be fluffy.
Add whatever you like, of course blueberries, but consider sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and/or chocolate chips.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Ginger Kale Cake

Kathy and I have been friends for the longest time, since we were children playing with our Barbies.  Our families immigrated from Hong Kong to Canada when we were just kids.  There was a close knit group of Chinese families that met up regularly for parties, mah jong, generally just to be together because they wanted to create a mini Hong Kong.  Assimilation into Canadian society looked different in each of our families.  Kathy’s Mom worked at an office job during the day and taught Chinese Cooking to eager Canadians at night.  While my mom studied Radio and TV broadcasting, taught piano and in her spare time baked her heart out trying to be a good housewife in this new land.

To prepare for life in Canada my Mom took a baking course from a professional baker, I remember her bringing home cakes with clowns, elephants, a Barbie cake, it felt like Christmas every time she came home from her baking class.

To inaugurate our blog I thought it would be fitting to make a ginger kale cake and to lend some sophistication to the humble kale, a limoncello icing.  It is a little sinful, but it is offset by superfoods:

Kale – high in calcium, high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, anti-inflammatory

Ginger – helps with digestion, anti-inflammatory

I have baked a spice kale cake twice before with wonderful results, it didn’t taste much different from a carrot cake.  It seems intimidating to eat a cake with this pungent hardy veggie, but the taste of the kale fades into the background while giving the cake a bright verdant hue.

This cake is a moist dense cake, you can certainly add more grated ginger if you’d like, or add 1 tsp of lemon extract if you want more lemony flavor in the cake.  This recipe actually had enough to make one Bundt cake and 5 cupcakes.  Just check the cupcakes after 20 minutes.  – {Kake}

Ginger Kale Cake

Ginger Kale Cake Ingredients Serves 10-12

  • 2/3 c. grapeseed oil
  • 2 c. kale (4 big leaves with stem removed, blanched and shocked)
  • 2 3/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 T. grated fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 c. ginger ale
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest of two lemons

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.
  • Put oil and kale in a food processor or a good blender and puree, set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, crystallized ginger and lemon rind.
  • In a large bowl, mix honey, eggs, yogurt, grated ginger, beat until blended.  Mix in kale puree and ginger ale.
  • Next add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, don’t over mix.
  • Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.   Bake for 45 -50 minutes.  Do the toothpick test to see if it comes out clean.
  • Then cool in pan for ten minutes, then flip onto plate and let it continue cooling. Once cooled, ice the cake, then devour with your 10 friends!!

Limoncello Icing

  •  2 c. icing sugar
  • 2 T. Limoncello
  • Juice of one lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. cream cheese
  • pinch of salt.
  •  Put all the ingredients in bowl and mix until smooth.

Ginger Kale Cake