Read, Listen, Eat.

It doesn’t really matter what your religious or political views are; and you might not necessarily agree with everything Joel Salatin says (or how he says it), but this book is worth reading, and you WILL get something positive out of it. Not all of us can (or desire to) live on a farm raising livestock like Salatin and his family do. But the whole point of this inspiring book is to encourage us to get in touch with our food supply (once again), think about, question, and learn where it all comes from and how it was raised and grown, and to do something in order to make for a healthier life for animals, people, and the environment. He also gives great ideas on how to do what you can where you live like composting (yes, you can compost right in your apartment), gardening (even the tiniest garden makes a difference and is very satisfying on many levels), and voting with your buying dollar (one of the biggest powers we have to change things).

These four guys from Nashville that make up the rock band, MONA, toured in the UK last year, have been featured in Rolling Stone magazine, were given a shout-out at last year’s MTV Music Awards as the band to watch, released their self-titled album here in the U.S. on February 28th (released May of last year in the UK – we had to wait!), played live last week on both Jay Leno and Conan, and their single, “Shooting the Moon” was featured this past week as the Single of the Week on iTunes. Whew! Check them out -they are now currently on tour in the U.S. (see cities and dates here). And don’t miss out –  their single on iTunes is available for FREE download until Monday, March 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm. Of course, the entire album is also available on iTunes, or you can look for it in record stores starting March 6th.

Photo from A Year From Oak Cottage

Mountains of braised kale!

My friend introduced me to braised kale couple of years ago. Since then, each time I get over to her place (which is not often enough, by the way), she makes it because we both love it so much. I cook a lot (and I’m a big vegetable eater), but oddly I never asked her how to make it and never looked it up (OR paid attention while she was preparing it because we’re too busy talking and catching up). I guess I never knew it was called “braised” either. But this past weekend I was at her house and I finally asked her how she makes it. She told me and it’s so easy!

I’m very familiar with kale. But to think I’ve been either steaming it, baking it (kale chips), or sticking it in stews all this time instead of braising it! I just never knew to do this braising thing. I am not a meat eater (apparently braising is a great way to cook tougher cuts of meat), nor am I from the south where braised greens are a lovely tradition (and historically seasoned with smoked pork and sugar – or so I’ve read), so “braised” was never a term I knew or paid attention to.

But now that I’ve learned and made it myself, I crave braised kale every day. The texture is chewy and wonderful, the flavor is savory and slightly bitter, and it’s easy and fast to prepare. I’ve made it three times this past week!

Here is my version of vegan braised kale:


2 T. extra virgin olive oil

4 pressed garlic cloves

1 cup hot water with about 1.5 tsp. Better Than Bouillon, Vegetarian, No Chicken Base

1 large bunch kale, stems removed and chopped

salt and pepper

In a large skillet, warm olive oil until glistening. Add pressed garlic and brown for about 30 seconds to a minute (until very fragrant). Add kale and coat with the oil and garlic. Let sit, stirring every so often until kale starts to get soft and wilted. In the meantime, prepare bouillon. Add bouillon to skillet. Stir once in a while, until wilted yet still bright green. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

If you read the book, listen to the album, and/or make braised kale, I’d love to know.

Be Well,



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