Recipes: Tomato cobbler, minted kale with peas, coconut kale cookies

Roasted Tomato Cobbler With Thyme is shown in this handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

TORONTO – Following on her award-winning The Book of Kale, author Sharon Hanna has teamed with avid gardener and writer Carol Pope for The Book of Kale and Friends.

The “friends” in the title refers to 13 other “superfoods” that are as easy to grow as kale – and also nutritious. On the menu are arugula, basil, chives, cilantro/coriander, fennel, garlic, lovage, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Here are three recipes to try from The Book of Kale and Friends.

Roasted Tomato Cobbler With Thyme

Inspiration for this vegetarian recipe came from the Smitten Kitchen blog’s rhubarb strawberry dish, Hanna said. What makes the cobbler different is that melted butter is used in the topping rather than cutting the butter into the flour.

“The tomato cobbler is so good,” Hanna said enthusiastically, adding that the sweetness of the tomatoes from roasting really contributes to the flavour.

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Try replacing the thyme with basil or use oregano with feta in the topping to give the dish a taste of Greece. A combination of cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano works well in this recipe, but any firm cheese will do. Since the oven will be on for a few hours, dry some kale or slow-roast whole garlic heads so as not to waste electricity.

  • About 1.5 kg (3 lb) tomatoes
  • A little salt
  • Thyme leaves, for the tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, sliced into little shards
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 250 ml (1 cup) flour
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) grated cheese
  • 75 to 125 ml (1/3 to 1/2 cup) melted butter
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) finely chopped thyme leaves, or more to taste

Heat oven to 120 C (250 F).

Halve tomatoes and arrange cut side up on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt and put a few thyme leaves in each half, as well as a small shard of garlic, pushing the garlic and thyme down into the tomato (this sounds like a lot of work but it’s not). Drizzle or spray a little olive oil on top. Slow roast tomatoes for 2 hours or so until they are quite a bit smaller but still moist.

Transfer tomatoes to an oiled ovenproof dish, laying them out rather evenly. Using a box grater, grate onion on top of tomatoes, spreading onion out as evenly as you can with your hands. Increase oven temperature to 190 C (375 F).

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Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix lightly with a fork. Add grated cheese and mix again. Pour in melted butter, add 10 ml (2 tsp) thyme and mix again with fork. Topping will be on the dry side in small and larger bits. Scatter topping as evenly as possible over tomatoes. It will even out as it bakes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Minted Kale With Peas and Blue Cheese

Elizabeth, a customer at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden where Hanna works on Saturdays, shared this recipe that she created after eating it day after day in a restaurant in San Francisco and craving it after she left.

“You can’t stop eating it,” said Hanna. “It’s unusual because it has a cooked dressing. Mmmm, it’s so good. You can use frozen peas and just don’t cook them. Or you can use sugar snap peas and cut them up small and it works just as well and it’s just as delicious. And if you use a really expensive Roquefort or one of those really neat blue cheeses you only need a bit of it. Oh, my God, that salad is just heaven.”

If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, substitute goat’s cheese. This salad is vegetarian and gluten-free.

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  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) finely minced shallots
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter (scant)
  • 50 ml (1/2 cup) rice wine vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) brown sugar
  • 1 l (4 cups) packed kale in chiffonade
  • 250 ml (1 cup) loosely packed mint leaves in fine chiffonade
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fresh peas or chopped snap peas (or frozen peas thawed just before using)
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) mild blue cheese or 125 ml (1/2 cup) goat’s cheese
  • Few grindings of pepper

Saute shallots in butter until softened. Add rice vinegar and cook down for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add oil while whisking, then add mustard and brown sugar. Cook until mixture is thick, remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, toss together kale, mint and onion. Add dressing and toss again. Top with peas and cheese, and add a few grindings of pepper. Toss just before serving.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Coconut Kale Cookies

A food processor will have these cookies ready to bake in five minutes or less. Instead of dried kale, you can make the cookies with minced fresh kale. (Typically, 500 ml/2 cups fresh chopped kale minced in the food processor equals 125 ml/1/2 cup.) Dried kale results in a subtle greenness and a crispier cookie, while the fresh-kale variation will be a gorgeous speckled green, moist and macaroon-like.

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This recipe is vegetarian and is also gluten-free if gluten-free flour, vanilla and baking powder are used.

  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) dried kale flakes or minced fresh kale
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil or butter cut into chunks
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) flour
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • Pine nuts or slivered pecans (optional)

Position rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 180 C (350 F).

In a food processor, mix coconut, kale, sugar and salt for about 20 seconds. Add coconut oil and vanilla and pulse a few times. Toss in whole egg plus yolk and pulse again until mixture is well blended. Add flour and baking powder all at once, then pulse just until combined (do not overmix). If the dough seems too dry to form into a ball, add a little water and pulse lightly.

Using your hands, roll heaping spoonfuls of the dough into balls and arrange on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. You can leave them round, flatten them slightly or use a fork dipped in water to press down lightly as for peanut butter cookies. Poke a few nuts, if using, into each cookie.

Bake for about 20 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

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Makes 2 dozen.

Source: “The Book of Kale and Friends: 14 Easy-to-Grow Superfoods” by Sharon Hanna and Carol Pope (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014).

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