A pair of our most favorite people sealed the deal this weekend. They had a costume wedding on Halloween and it was one of the best weddings we've been to in a long time. In lieu of a traditional dinner, they opted for more of a pot luck. Everyone was asked to bring a dish that served 6-8 people, preferably finger foods and appetizers. Of course, I was thrilled! Sharing food with friends brings me much joy. I do my best to be present, or in the moment so to speak, when I'm creating food (despite kitchen mode, ahem) and try to actively put love into what I serve.
Boyfriend was an inspiration in the following foodie creation. He is a super fan of a cannellini bean and kale side dish that I make and his suggestion was that I bring it to the wedding. Since there would be no easy way to keep the dish warm (we didn't have access a stove, microwave, etc. at the reception) I didn't love the idea, but after giving it some thought I came up with one of my first original recipes... a kale and cannellini bean crostini! I did a practice run on Friday before the wedding and alas, it was a success. I actually ended up making this dish two ways, raw and cooked. The first time, I cooked the cannellini bean and kale mixture as I usually do and then pureed it. It was delish. The second time, I combined all ingredients and decided to serve it raw. Also delish! There were a few reasons I went with raw. First, kale is considered a "superfood." And green superfoods in particular have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, and vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. (If you aren't familiar with this term and are interested in what superfoods are and how they can impact your own health, click here to read more.) For those of you who don't eat loads of kale, it has a very earthy, strong flavor when served raw. Many people prefer to eat it similar to how they would collard greens. Of course when you cook it, as with any vegetables, you lose some of those essential nutrients. So, with the following recipe, feel free to try it based on your own preference. If you've never tried raw kale I encourage you to give it a shot. The kale in this recipe isn't overpowering due to the other ingredients which helps mask the kale to create a more subtle flavor. If it still tastes too strong, try adding more parm. I do top the crostini with chopped tomatoes and add a whole roasted garlic bulb into the puree for added sweetness.
Cannellini Bean & Kale Crostini with Roasted Garlic
1 bunch kale, rinsed thoroughly with tough stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (or more as needed)
1 lemon, juiced
1 roasted bulb of garlic
1/3 cup EVOO
1-2 baguettes, sliced on an angle
1 tomato, chopped and drizzled with EVOO, S&P
Preheat oven to 400F.
To roast garlic, cut in half horizontally, drizzle with EVOO, S&P and wrap in foil. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on bulb size. After garlic is done roasting, lower heat to 375F. Place baguette slices on cookie sheet, drizzle with EVOO, S&P and bake until toasted and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. For puree, combine kale, beans, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, parm, lemon juice and garlic cloves into food processor. Pulse until just smooth. Slowly, steam in EVOO until you reach desired thickness. Season to taste.
To assemble, scoop heaping tablespoon of puree onto each baguette slice and top with chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!