Braised Red Russian Kale with Tomatoes, Onions and Wine

Braised Red Russian Kale with tomatoes, onions and wine with salmon and mashed potatoes.

Red Russian Kale

About Red Russian Kale

Most folks are most familiar with the green curly kale, that is tough and quite bitter. The baby kale is of course much more tender and sweeter in flavor. The Red Kale is a variety developed from a Siberian kale plant that was cross pollinated by Russians to survive very cold winters. A large group of Russians immigrated to the U.S. in the later 1800’s and brought their seed, So thanks to them I get to enjoy this wonderful kale I love.

Red Russian Kale

I have read that a fellow from my home state of Oregon named Tim Peters in the 1980’s Frustrated with the boring bitter green curly kale used only for garnish at the time, crossed it with a Chinese cabbage, and black mustard plant and got this beautiful reddish purple kale plane and called it Red Russian Kale. Thank you Tim Peters!

Great Links to the history of Kale
Who Made that Kale (about Red Russian Kale)

8 cups Red Russian Kale
1 large onion 1/2 inch diced
4 cloves fresh garlic (about 1 tablespoon chopped garlic)
2-3 cups fresh diced tomatoes (may substitute 1 and 1/2 lb (28 oz) can of diced or whole tomatoes
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup white wine ( your choice)

1 tablespoon Olive oil
Fresh Basil, or Oregano
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (optional)


1. Harvest the Kale or buy 2 bunches

Removing Kale Stems

Remove the stem of the kale with a scissors. Sometimes I snipe some in between the leaves it if looks like tough.

Cut Red Russian Kale

Cut the Red Russian Kale into small pieces. This makes it a nice bite with texture. If you leave whole leaves you can be chewing on the same leaf for a few minutes.

Saute onions and spices

Heat the pan to medium, place the oil in a large saute pan and add the garlic, oregano, pepper and paprika and saute for 30 seconds to open the flavors. Add the onions and cook until they are tender.

Add Kale and Tomatoes

Add the Red Russian Kale and tomatoes, saute for 1 minute to mix the oil and sear the kale a bit. Then add the chicken stock and wine.

Simmered Kale with Stock and Wine

Simmer till nice and tender, this will take 15 to 30 minutes depending on how tender you want it. Here I add the salt and pepper.

Perfect side dish with mashed potatoes

This side works great with just about any dish you want to make. I especially like it with mashed potatoes.Edit This Post

Street Corn at Sunset

Street Corn on the BBQ at Sunset
BBQ in the back yard at Twisting Roots Farm

4 ears of corn, cut in sections to make cobbetts
1 cup mayonnaise
Taco Seasoning , (your favorite)
1/2 -3/4 cup parmesan cheese
6 inch foil squares, 1 for each cobbett

1. Place cobbett on foil square.
2. Coat each cobbett with mayonnaise.
3. Sprinkle each cobbett with parmesan cheese, and taco seasoning and wrap it up.
The best way to cook this corn on the BBQ is on indirect heat. It will take about 20 minutes on medium heat with the BBQ covered. Then you can put the foil pouches on direct heat for a few minutes turning frequently to char some of the kernels. I sometimes will open it up and grill the corn directly so I can control the char a bit better.

Serve immediately or keep the corn warm in the foil till dinner is ready.

Here is another recipe posted by Crystal Eastman, She will even use frozen kernel corn and do it in the oven if it is winter time.

Rainier Cherry Chocolate Kuchen


So what is a Kuchen (means cake in German) and why is it special? Well first of all my grandma made it for the family so it is nostalgic. But it is quite different than the super tender, sweet cakes that you find in most local bakeries and packaged on the grocery shelf. This has a bit more texture to it and not as sweet. Generally there is a custard topping that soaks in and makes it absolutely luscious on the 2nd and 3rd day.

You can read more about the history of kuchen and the apple and plum kuchen that my grandma use to make here.

The Cherries

1 lb Rainier Cherries, or other sweet cherries
Brandy or Kirschwasser or rum (cherry if possible)

Kuchen dough

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  


2 cups Bisquick or Baking Mix
plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons butter softened or melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

The Filling and Frosting;

1 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1 good quality chocolate bar


First, I pit my cherries and I like to soak them in a good brandy, schnapps or rum overnight or for a few hours.

You can pit the cherries by pushing a straw through the stem end

or you can pound a nail in a board of wood that has a bit of a head on it and then you can use both hands to push the cherry pit out.

Make the Dough;

Put all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend.

Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients

Blend the wet into the dry with a hand held mixer or beat in by hand till you have a smooth dough.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and press the dough into the dish. You don’t want too much dough, it should be just about ½ inch, otherwise the dessert will have too much crust to fruit ratio. It’s all about balance.

Next, I place the cherries in rows in the dough every ½ inch.

Bake the kuchen at 350 degrees for 20 -30 minutes until it is set. Use the toothpick method. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so then with a teaspoon ladle the brandy left over brandy, rum or schnapps on the cake.

Assemble the Kuchen

After it cools whip the cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla and the sugar.
Cut the Kuchen in half so you have two almost squares.

 Place half the cream on one half of the kuchen and place the other half on top. I like to put it in a smaller baking dish but you can also do this on a platter.
Then I like to put whipped cream on the sides like a frosting.

Grate the chocolate or melt the chocolate and pour on top of the cake.

Hackurei Turnips

Hackurei Turnips are a beautiful vegetable to work with. There golf ball size with the texture of a radish and a unique turnip flavor that is mild but with a little snappiness and depth to it.
They beg for light braising but also great raw. The greens are good steamed or stir fried. They are not tender like a bok choy leaf but have a very nice flavor.

This was my first ever crop of Hackurei at Twisting Roots They were relatively easy to grow and though there were a few blemishes and tiny worm bites they were easily trimmed to look nice.

No need to peel them but are nice halved or quartered and browned in a skillet or the bbq.

Braised Hackurei Turnips with Balsamic Glaze

6-10 Hackurei Turnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons Balsamic Glaze
1 tablespoon Soy sauce or Miso paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil


1. Cut the greens from the Hackurei turnips leaving an inch of the stem.
Reserve the greens

2. Quarter or halve the turnips depending on the size. If they are very small use the whole thing.

3. Heat the oil in the skillet, add the turnips, salt and pepper a bit and cook to brown.  

4. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until they just become tender.

5. Remove and keep in a holding pan and cover with foil or place covered in the oven to keep warm.

Add the greens and simmer till tender which can take 10 to 20 minutes. Check for flavor, salt and pepper if needed.

Arrange the greens on a platter then the turnips and spoon some balsamic glaze over them.

Some seasoning options are to flavor the stock with a tablespoon of soy sauce or miso paste, and add a teaspoon or 2 of sesame oil when you are browning the turnips.

MicroGreen Garden Cups

This was a really fun experiment and something that I want to sell at Farmers Markets. You can really get creative with these.

I used a technique from a microgreen grower in Australia named Pepe.
I will embed the youtube below.

Microgreen Radish Garden Broccoli Garden
Broccoli Microgarden, Radish Microgarden
Planted Dec 21, 2018

I washed the containers in a very light bleach solution first as you want to avoid any possibility of a fungus invading your grow.

Then filled up the containers to the top with a mix of potting soil and coconut coir, but you can just use potting soil also. Also putting holes in the bottom so it could soak up water and get nice and moist. I bottom water micro greens as much as possible. You can knock them down with too hard a spray or a stream of water. Then I tamped down the soil so it was nice and flat. What Pepe said in the video is you want to get good contact with the seed and the soil and moisture so you need to get it to the brim so when you put the weight on it pushes the seed into the soil.

I did Red arrow Radish , Arugula, Amaranth and Broccoli.

Tamping down Soil
Tamp down the soil

Then I put another black tray like they are sitting in and put it on top to act as a weight. You can also just put foil on top and then use something like a book to force the seeds into the soil.

Weight off Micros
Day 3, weight off in the morning, then got some growth by the end of the day.

Good Germination I was very happy! I took the weight off in the morning and then covered the trays with another 10 x 20 black tray. This is also called a blackout dome. The idea is the plants will grow taller looking for light. If you don’t the greens are too short to cut. By the end of the day the plants had grown this much.

Day 4, excellent growth.

The radish, and arugula are almost ready to uncover and put under the light.

Day 5, The radish, amaranth and arugula are under the light

Day 5 , Putting the Amaranth, Radish and Arugula under the light.

The 5th day the radish was ready to go under the lights, it was nice and tall. The Arugula was not as tall but still good height. The Amaranth was nice as you can see, and I wish I would have harvested it the next day as it started to die off. Amaranth can be tricky.

This is day 7 and the radish is looking well.

This is after 12 days

The cups sustained well for another week until I had to leave Oregon.
They look very nice as a houseplant as well.

Here is a cool video from Pepe

Microgreen test Dec 21-22 Radish

This is the Radish on day 8, it was ready to harvest yesterday easy.

Very successful grow, you can see an uneven germination in the center however but it seems to be catching up a bit.

I planted these on Dec 21, and this is how they looked on the 23 after I unstacked them.

Here they are on the 24th.
uncovered Radish on the 25th
Dec 26, 2018 uncovered and starting to turn green
Dec 27 nice looking but some started to wilt so a little water and they were back.

Microgreen Test Dec 15

Dec 15
We are up at the farm in Oregon, and it is cold out. The logical place to grow the microgreens now is in the garage as there is no place indoors where we can keep it heated.

So my first worry was too be able to keep them at about 70 degrees so they can germinate. John came up with the idea of using a space heater on low. I ordered some Vivosun heating mats also.

Broccoli Micro’s on day 9 , the best performer

My new set up in the garage on the farm in Beaverton.
Using the new LED T5
This fits a 10 by 20 tray or 2 of the foil pans I use

Vivosun 2 pack 10 by 20 Heating Mat

I also am using coconut coire either for the whole substrate or mixed half and half with potting soil .

Microgreen set up
Rustic set up to get started. I only have a few weeks to complete this grow

Above are the trays that I weighed down for 3 days, then I flipped the tray to keep them in the dark.

Slowbolt Arugula
Waltham Broccoli
Red Acre Cabbage
Speckled Pea

Along with the microgreen shots, I am experimenting with salad cups.

I had some concerns up here in Oregon that I didn’t in Palm Springs.
I am worried about the temperature and the humidity as well.

So I used the coconut coire to lightly cover the seeds. I learned that from Pepe a microgreen grower that feels it is a very neutral substance that will keep the seeds protected. So he puts a light coating over the top of the seeds.

Dec 17

Arugula day 3 nice germination

Dec 18 day 4

Arugula ready to uncover
Arugula ready to uncover
day 4
Amaranth on Day 4, after 3 days of weighing down, they are peeking through.
I used some coconut coire to cover the seeds so they had to sprout farther through
this covering. I am not sure I will use this much again.
Sunflower Day 3
Sunflower Day 3
The Red Acre Cabbage peaking through on Day 4

Dec 19

Arugula day 5
Arugula day 5
I uncovered them this morning.

Broccoli day 5
The Broccoli day 5 has never been uncovered but it is still gaining color. It must be creeping through. I should maybe cover these with towels.
Amaranth day 5
Amaranth day 5 still covered
Microgreen Shots
Microgreen shots day 5, some with paper towel on a bed of coconut coire and also
some with just coconut coire . The broccoli on the paper towels are doing well.
The arugula is gaining lots of growth and the Amaranth is peeking through.

Day 5 the salad cups have greens peaking through. I put quite a bit of coire to cover them. I watched one Microgreen grower that fills them up to the top with the soil mix so that you can weigh down the seeds.

The blue is pea shoots that I only had a few seeds left.

Red Acre Cabbage day 5
Red Acre Cabbage day 5

Day 7

Towel set up
I started covering the trays yesterday with towels to keep light from creeping in the cracks of the blackout domes. I noticed that several trays were greening up even though they were covered. I noticed that the towels also kept the trays warmer and the growth accelerated.

Broccoli gaining nice height, overtaking Arugula in size

Broccoli and Arugula
Broccoli and Arugula day 7
The Basil has finally gotten a little growth going.

Red Acre Cabbage
The Red Acre Cabbage gaining nice height.. Should be able to uncover this soon.

The Beets have finally gotten a little height to them.

The Sunflower has finally gotten a few looking up with a leaves. Seems like it is much slower than usual.

Amaranth gaining some nice height. some were tangled up in too much coconut coir. Seemed wet so I am thinking of uncovering this soon to avoid any mold.

Microgreen Shots
Surprisingly the microgreen shots have gotten height fairly fast. The coir underneath the paper towel has definitely kept t he paper towel moist.

Microgreen Salad Cups
Last and the least the salad cups are gaining in height a bit but so much coir is on the salad ones and the pea shoots barely showing a little height. Slower this time than even the basil.

Dec 24

What a disappointment this has been to see the beets and the amaranth dying.

It looks to me like either too much water or a fungus that eventually rots the stem. Sometimes referred to as damping off, it is a fungus that eventually rots the seedlings. They looked as if they were doing fine then they are starting to collapse and fall over, or just wither. The beets are falling faster. Not a good Christmas present but I should expect some. Also the seeds may be too crowded.

I immediately took the towels off the new crop fearing that I am creating too damp and warm an environment for the fungus to grow. It is not getting any ventilation either. I shot them with a bit of hydrogen peroxide.

On the other hand the Red Acre Cabbage is doing well, so is the broccoli and Arugula

Amaranth on Christmas looks good
3 Days later it is starting to die. So frustrating. It could be I am using too many seeds or damping off. Amaranth has just been tricky up here in the grow area. I have ordered a dehumidifier. I am going to sanitize my growing trays much better also.

The Arugula looked as if it was dying off but I found it just needed water. It bounced right back, as did the red cabbage and a few other things.

The little food containers I have had some success. The ones with strictly radish worked well, the combo radish/ broccoli didn’t seem to go well. There was some damping off.

The Basil after 14 days seems is just barely hitting the top of the tray height. Very slow growing.

Fall Garden Plot

In Late August 2018 we planted a garden for a late Fall crop and to see if it would
winter over. I planted some;
Red Russian Kale
Mesculin Mix Lettuce
Green Kale 
Red Radish 

The Crop did well when we came back in November. 
We enjoyed lots of Red Russian Kale in salads. The Mesculin mix was just ok. 
We enjoyed lots of radish. 

We also did Beets and Carrots 

Fall garden plot with poly low tunnel protection
We built a poly low tunnel to extend the life of these plants and see if the carrots a
and beets would mature. 

Growing Mushrooms

I bought this Mushroom growing kit, 
So lets grow some Oyster Mushrooms 
You cut tear out the window. 
You can order it here 

So you cut an X in the plastic wrap where the window is, then take out the brick. 
Leave the flaps, they help keep in the moisture. 

Soak the Brick for 12 hours or so. 
Put back the brick in the box and scratch the brick inside all the flaps. 
Keep it in a cool , area where there is good air flow but not in direct light. 

In 7 days the mushrooms looked like this. 

Here they are after 10 days 

Time to cut and fry up with a steak 

Absolutely Delicious !