Healthy Now: Park and rec kitchen presents kale pesto | SierraSun.com

Healthy Now: Park and rec kitchen presents kale pesto

Simone Grandmain
Special to the Sun

A delicious kale pesto is shown above.

Yes, from our kitchen to yours.

It's true. Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District (TDRPD), the same people who have brought you the Community Recreation Center, the pool, regional park, Music in the Park, the ice skating rink and other beautiful and healthy options, also have a licensed commercial kitchen open to the community for business or pleasure.

The kitchen is very nice indeed and a great place to poach recipes, healthy and otherwise. The booking schedule for the kitchen should really be classified information around here because it does pique your culinary curiosity and tempts a drop-by just to "grab something out of the fridge."

Even though the TDRPD commercial kitchen is the community's best kept secret, it sees some action with a variety of reservations. Of course events held on-site use the kitchen. They book a room or the pool for a graduation party or baby shower, and the host or caterer prepares the festive spread in our kitchen.

But there are other groups other than caterers and event planners who have taken advantage of the six-burner, U.S. Range and grill, two large ovens, and four warming stations. We have had residents book the TDRPD kitchen to prepare their holiday goodies en masse. (I want to be on their gift list.)

Such a great idea and this is when the big stainless steel working and assembly island takes the process to a more organized affair as opposed to "having it at Marge's house this year" and eating half the dough before it's baked.

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Classes for youth groups have been taught here; fundraising potlucks and cake sales for nonprofits brought to life. TDRPD offers resident and nonprofit rates as well as commercial, and you should try to book a couple weeks out (application at tdrpd.org or stop by main office).

Right now we are seeing lots of weddings, which means lots of appetizers and many amazing aromas wafting from that lovely kitchen if you happen to be hanging out in the vicinity, which I often am. My little desk should be moved right in there until after Valentine's Day.

This kale "pesto" is a variation on your standard preparation in that it uses less olive oil and no pine nuts, meaning less fat and a different flavor you will love.

Kale is inexpensive at $5 a bag and packs in a lot of goodness. It is high in fiber, iron, calcium, and rich in vitamins A, C and K. Plus it makes for a mean pesto, which was a huge hit when it made it out of our TDRPD kitchen and into TDRPD administration where it belongs.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District staff and members, inspiring creative, active lives for a healthy mountain community. For more information on how you can stay in shape this season and take advantage of the Summer Pass, visit tdrpd.org or check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TDRPD.

Kale Pesto

2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup toasted walnuts

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation: In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, and then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Serve on top grilled chicken or fish or tossed with whole wheat pasta.