Braised Kale with Lime and Coconut


I have a new addiction. It’s called Good Eggs and it’s a relatively new online company where you can order fresh food from local farmers and producers and have it delivered at home. It’s only available in Brooklyn, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for now. I ordered for the first time last week and I was immediately hooked. This is basically the kind of stuff you’d find at Union Square Market, but ordered online and brought to your door.


Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the farmer’s market. Both the one at Union Square and the smaller one near us in Brooklyn. At the peak of the season, I’ve been known to get teary-eyed over the bounty of fruits and vegetables surrounding me (I can get pretty emotional about food). But getting to the market isn’t always possible, especially since it’s not available every day. And some of the producers don’t sell at the market. So Good Eggs comes in handy.



One of the things I ordered last week was sorrel, which I had read about but never tasted. Oh my goodness, it was a revelation! When Steve came home, I didn’t say a word and I just handed him a sorrel leaf and told him to eat it. His eyes opened wide. “What is that?” he exclaimed. Its sharp lemony flavor is such a surprise and lends itself to so many different uses.

But today is not about sorrel, whose season is pretty much over (next year, I’ll have a recipe with sorrel, when its season comes around again). Today is about kale. I know you’re probably sick of kale. It comes in salads, in smoothies, roasted until crispy or added to soups. Pretty soon it will be in desserts. But the other day, as I was trying to think of a different way of preparing it, I came up with this recipe that seemed different than any other way I had tasted kale before. It combines the sweetness of maple syrup with the zing of lime along with the nuttiness of toasted coconut flakes. Next year, maybe I’ll throw in some sorrel too.


Braised Kale with Lime and Coconut

Serves 2


1 tablespoon olive oil
12oz kale
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper
¾ tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted at 350º F until golden brown
juice of half a lime


In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderately high heat until softened and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, then add the kale in large handfuls, letting it wilt slightly before adding more. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over moderate heat until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook until much of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes longer. Add the maple syrup and lime juice and cook another 3 minutes.

Serve with toasted coconut flakes sprinkled on top.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I am very loyal to chocolate. My love for it is endless and my devotion to it is deep. When going over a dessert menu, I will always gravitate first to the choices that include chocolate. I love dark chocolate, mysterious and a little dangerous, but I also love milk chocolate, sharply sweet and creamy. On occasion, I’ll even enjoy white chocolate, the chocolate impostor.


There was only one time when my feelings for chocolate almost changed. I signed up for a 5-day, 30-hour course of chocolate making at the Institute of Culinary Education. It meant that every day for five consecutive days, from 9am to 4pm (with a 1-hour lunch break), I was in a kitchen making different kinds of chocolates. The first couple of days it was pure heaven. The third day it started to change. We all noticed that we avoided licking our fingers. By the fourth and fifth day, I started to feel an actual aversion to the smell and taste of chocolate. It was a little disturbing. Fortunately, after a couple of weeks of no chocolate in sight, my feelings for it returned.


But despite my undying loyalty to chocolate, there is one dessert for which I am always ready to change teams: key lime pie. If it’s on the menu, I don’t care what decadent chocolate concoctions are available, I will choose the pie. The sweet and tangy custard paired with the buttery graham cracker crust are a combination that is so perfect, so enticing, that I simply find it irresistible.


So the other day I saw some key limes at the grocery store and I had an idea: how about a key lime pie ice cream? I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to create the recipe, since the pie is already a custard. I just had to adjust the quantities and make it a little runnier than it is for the pie. So, I created a first draft of the recipe and I figured that it would need adjustments before I could post it.


But 24 hours after I churned the ice cream, I took the container out of the freezer and dug in with the ice cream scoop. I couldn’t believe it when the scoop just effortlessly slid through the ice cream. It was a perfect consistency, immediately scoopable (even days later, it was still the consistency of gelato). And the taste? Exactly what I was going for: key lime pie, pure and simple.

Let’s just say that the chocolate ice cream I’ve had in the freezer has been feeling a little ignored for a while.


Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

For crust:
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs (from 5 crackers; you can put them in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For ice cream:
1 can (14oz sweetened condensed milk)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (or regular lime juice)
4 large egg yolks

First make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix, using a fork, graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix with fork until well combined. Press mixture evenly on bottom only (not up to the sides) of 8 inch square glass pan or 9 inch glass pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break into small bite size pieces. Can be made the day before. Just store in airtight container until ready to use.

Make the ice cream:
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the key lime juice. Place a mesh strainer on top of a medium bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, add sweetened condensed milk, cream, sugar, and pinch of salt. Heat, stirring frequently, over medium heat until combined and bubbles start to form.

Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring about 1/3 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, while whisking constantly. Scrape the tempered egg yolk mixture into the saucepan, again whisking constantly. You’ll notice that the mixture will immediately become thicker. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.

Pour the mixture through the mesh strainer into the medium bowl. Let cool completely and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it’s finished churning, layer it in a container with the graham cracker crust bits. Start with about one fifth of the ice cream at the bottom of the container. Sprinkle about one fifth of the crust bits. Layer another fifth of the ice cream, followed by another fifth of the crust bits. Continue this way until you finish with the last crust bits on top.


Garlic Lime Vinaigrette


Sometimes people ask me “Do you cook every night?” When I tell them yes, I cook almost every night, some shake their heads or widen their eyes in amazement. But it’s really not that impressive because most of the time, what I make takes less than 30 minutes of work. It’s often a protein that’s cooked simply (fish sautéed in olive oil for 5-6 minutes; pork chops roasted in the oven) along with some kind of vegetable, raw or cooked. What really helps, though, is having a number of tasty, simple sauces and dressings in my arsenal. That way, the same protein or veggie (say, chicken and brussel sprouts) can become different meals depending on what you pour over them after they’re cooked.


This recipe is one of those invaluable dressings. It takes minutes to make, it’s simple and healthy, and it perks up just about every roasted vegetable you can imagine (we especially love it over roasted cauliflower or acorn squash). It’s also great drizzled over grilled chicken breasts.


Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

You can double or triple the recipe if you want. This makes enough for two people.

1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove pressed in garlic press or grated over microplane zester/grater
salt and pepper

Add lime juice, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl and use a whisk or a fork to mix them until they come together. Garlic is a natural emulsifier so it will help bind the lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Taste the vinaigrette and add more oil or lime juice if you prefer.