Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oat Bran Muffins and Raw Kale Salad

I'm feeling extra hippie lately. Especially today since I whipped up a batch of homemade yogurt then spent about three hours with Marney picking up trash around Lake Nokomis for the Minneapolis Earth Day Clean Up event.

My hippie tendencies are of course affecting my food choices. I didn't think I could even post these recipes because nobody will ever want to make them - they are almost too healthy. But then I remembered that I don't really care if anyone reads this blog or makes my recipes because I'm doing this to record the food I like and want to make again someday. So feel free to skip this if you aren't interested in some serious hippie food - and read these posts instead (they're more mainstream).

Bran muffins - sounds boring, right? So not! But it's hard to find a recipe that actually calls for bran and not some type of processed bran cereal. It's counter-intuitive to me to make a healthy from-scratch muffin using some overly processed boxed cereal. And I found this cool bag of oat bran in my little neighborhood grocery store and was determined to make some delicious bran muffins from it. Can you see that the oat bran is also local? It's from Cook, MN.

I used Ina Garten's (she's the Barefoot Contessa) recipe, and adapted it for what I had on hand, including adding dates for a little extra natural sweetness. The muffins turned out really super moist and not too sweet, perfect to grab each morning to go with some yogurt and hot coffee. They actually taste better the next day. I only baked up 6 muffins and kept the rest of the batter in the fridge and baked the rest a week later so I could have fresh muffins two weeks in a row.

Oat Bran Muffins with Bananas and Dates (adapted from Ina Garten)
1 cup oat bran (or wheat bran)
1 cup buttermilk, shaken (I made my own buttermilk with milk and adding a Tbsp of distilled vinegar - let sit for 10 minutes to thicken)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
6 Tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 - 3/4 cup dates, diced (or raisins or nuts - be creative!)

Combine bran and buttermilk and let rest for a few minutes. Cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes, add eggs, molasses, and vanilla. Mixture will look curdled. Add bran/buttermilk mixture and combine.

Add dry ingredients slowly and don't over mix. Fold in bananas and dates.

Bake in muffin tin for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.


You know how much I love kale. I eat it pretty consistently year-round. Usually in soups, or sauteed with eggs (poached or in frittata form). Today I was craving RAW kale, don't ask me why - it just fit with the hippie vibe. Plus I've noticed that the healthier you eat, the more you crave healthy food - not junk.

There are tricks to making raw kale tasty. First, you should always use Tuscan, or lacinato, or dinosaur kale. Second, it should be as fresh as possible. Finally, you need to give it a massage to soften it before eating or it will taste like plastic. This is a salad that you can make in advance even with dressing because the firm texture of the kale makes it get better the longer it sits.

Raw Kale Salad for Hippies
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed and sliced into thin ribbons
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 apple (I used a pink lady), diced finely
1/4 cup craisins
2 Tbsp raw red onion, diced finely
1/4 cup toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
A small hunk of blue or gorgonzola cheese (or feta or goat cheese), crumbed
grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Vinaigrette of your choice (homemade or store bought - I used homemade balsamic vinaigrette)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut your kale and put in a large bowl with salt. With your hands, massage the kale for 2 full minutes. It will start to wilt and get dark. Your hands will be stained green - get over it. Let it sit for 10 minutes to absorb the salt. Drain off any liquid that has gathered in the bowl.

Add your apple, craisins, onion, seeds, and cheese and toss it all together. Add your vinaigrette, enough to moisten it all and taste for seasoning - adding more salt or pepper if necessary. Serve with freshly grated parm and grilled bread. Also, a huge glass of pink wine on the side never hurts on a sunny Saturday afternoon.


  1. Hi! I just came across your blog and when I read this post I definitely was dubious of the raw kale salad. However, it does look pretty tasty and now I kind of want to try it. =) I definitely admire the desire to eat more local/seasonal/whole foods. I actually write a blog about reducing waste, and this is one area that I haven't looked much into yet. (I just recently started the blog) but it seems likely that eating fewer processes foods would also reduce the amount of garbage people make. If you have any tips or comments, please head over to my blog and let me know!

    Thanks! Keep up the good work. =)

  2. Hey Ali!!

    I don't know if you'll see this or not since it is an older post, but if you do I wanted you to know that I made this tonight and it was DELICIOUS!! Jake has lots of kale coming out of the garden and this was a wonderful way to eat it. Thanks for the easy and yummy idea!

    Stefanie :)

  3. Just came across your raw kale salad recipe and made it immediately. It is AMAZING! It is my new favorite, go to salad recipe.