Friday, October 22, 2010

Kale and White Beans - great dish & great for you!

As I traveled with Krusing America I noticed the overall bad eating habits and bad diets of many Americans -so this new post is devoted to one of my favorite recipes using one of my favorite foods: Kale is one of the best things you can eat - even better than spinach. It's important to include such superfoods in our diets on a regular basis but how can you make dark green vegetables interesting and tasty?

Below is one of my favorite ways to cook with Kale. Besides great tasting - it has so many health benefits. At the end of this recipe I've include more info on the health benefits of this superfood.

Linda Kruse’s Kale with White Beans

1 clove of garlic
Olive Oil
1/2 sweet white onion
1 bunch of Kale (2-4 cups chopped)
1 15 oz can of Great Northern White Beans (or any other bean you prefer)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Crushed Red Pepper - if you like it spicy

In a deep frying pan over medium heat - sauté 1 clove of garlic, olive oil and half of an sweet onion sliced really thin. Add some cracked pepper. Wash, clean and chop the kale, throw it into the cooked onions with more Olive Oil if needed.Put a lid on the Kale to steam it down a bit. (Add red pepper flakes if you want it a bit spicier.)

While the Kale is cooking drained and rinsed 1 can of white beans. (Great Northern White beans from Ralphs/Krogers holds up best but any bean you like will do.) Once Kale is cooked down to desired texture - push the kale to the edges of the frying pan and add the beans. Turn the heat up a bit and cook till warmed, add more salt and pepper to taste.

(You can also add Tofu, Chicken, Beef or shrimp if you like something with more protein) It’s phenomenal with a great piece of bread, and it’s very very good for you. Read more about the benefits below.

Linda Kruse


Kale is so healthy because of all the nutrients it contains:

1. Kale contains indole-3-carbinol, a substance that can help your body fight against industrial chemicals known as Xenoestrogens that can be cancerous and also lead to increased abdominal fat storage. Kale actually helps you maintain a slim waist line.

2. 1 cup of Kale can supply you with all of your recommended daily dose of Vitamin A which is a powerful element and great for your eyes and teeth health. It takes just a tine supply of this special herb to give you this massive benefit.

3. Kale contains various sulfur rich components that were found to fight cancerous elements in your body. In various animal studies, these types of sulfur elements were found to help reduce the size of tumors in animals.

4. Kale contains vitamin C which is useful in fighting off infection and aids the healing process whenever you suffer wounds.

5. Kale is rich in vitamin B12 which helps the function of the nervous system and is important for various internal body functions.

6. Kale is a tasty addition to many dishes and salads. It's super low in calories with just 36 calories for a whole cup of the herb and so it's an excellent diet food.

7. Rich in calcium, Kale assists in maintaining bone strength and proper structure. Its high vitamin A content also helps in this respect.

8. Manganese, which is found in great quantities in Kale, is also an excellent fat burning elements as it helps in the energy production process from carbohydrates and protein.

As you can see, adding Kale to your diet can prove to be a big help to maintain proper health and even to burn some additional fat. Naturally, you won't get a six pack abs just by eating Kale but it is still an excellent addition to any healthy eating plan focused on proper health and fitness for the long term.

(Info on the benefits of Kale provided by John Davenport who lost over 30 pounds in his twenties after being overweight most of his life. He now runs a weight loss forum and publishes a diet and fitness newsletter.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sparks Woodfire Grill: Eggplant Parmi- you need to try this!

One of my favorite things to do when I go to a new restaurant is to find out the one dish they are best known for, and then order that dish. Or better yet - if you can't decide on what to order - try this little technique: ask the waiter what their favorite dish is, on (or "off") the menu. Trust me -- you won't be disappointed. AND you'll probably get better service. I was a waiter for years in my Mom's restaurant and then later during college in NYC - and believe me - we all like to be asked our opinions when it comes to food. And most waiters certainly have an opinion. :)

That said, my latest find was a recommendation from a stranger I met on a plane a few weeks ago. It had been raining here in LA non-stop for a week - so I was craving something warm and filling. I decided to try out the Eggplant Parmigiano at Spark Woodfire Grill in Studio City that the man on the plane suggested. (We'll call the nice plane man "Lou"). As Lou had pointer out Sparks was not your typical Italian restaurant, but the chef was. And since my Italian mom is a chef as well - I knew: Once an Italian, Always an Italian. And a good Italian wouldn't be able to create a menu without including something authentically Italian.

And what could be more authentically Italian than Eggplant Parmigiano? Not to mention the perfect dish to try especially on a cold rainy day! Mind you, I have never liked Eggplant Parm but this is certainly one suggestion that should not be passed up. Thin layers of eggplant, gentle tomato sauce and lightly added mozzarella - baked with a delicate creamy parmigiano crust. A perfectly done Eggplant Parmi. Not too eggplanty, not to cheesey – just a lovely dish in a lovely restaurant with my lovely friend Kenny.

But start with the Ribollita soup: a hearty vegetable based soup made with borlotti beans, kale, prosciutto and parmigiano cheese. An ideal rainy day combination and certainly a great combo any day - rain or shine. (By the way - the soup was the waiter's suggestion, and a great one at that!)

It always impresses me that a perfect stranger - can make such a perfect suggestion. Just goes to show us all that a great food recommendation from a kind stranger is something that we should all be open to and thankful for. And in this case - your stomach will thank you as well.

Spark was selected by Bon Appetit Magazine as one of the "Best Neighborhood Restaurants" in the country and is Zagat rated as a "distinctive" restaurant. Linda Kruse and Krusing America would certainly agree!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Not your typical American...

I had an overnight trip to Reno this week to be the spokesperson on a website. The shoot for a job like that doesn’t usually take very long, and Reno is not terribly far from Burbank (by plane) – but in order to be well rested and do a good job on-camera, I opted to fly into Reno the night before. And I was glad I did. The shoot that next day went quite well, and after we “wrapped,” I made my way back to Burbank early that evening.

Even with as much flying as I do, meeting so many different kinds of people on a plane is always something that surprises me. It's a random thing – sitting next to someone for an hour flight… but the people I’ve met, quite by chance, in America are very different than other places I've lived or visited. Even on a plane.

Quick story: I was living in London a few years ago and really missing the U.S., when something odd happened. I was sitting in a charming little cafe in a very touristy part of town – Leicester Square (pronounced “Lester” Square) in the center of London. I ordinarily avoid touristy places, but I was with a friend who was visiting from Germany and so Leicester Square was a good central location to meet.

So I'm sitting with this friend (we'll call him Carl) waiting for our server, when I overhear an American couple next to us talking about traveling. Our tables were close enough and I was missing the U.S., so I couldn't help but lean over and ask where they were from in America? The conversation quickly turned into “what did you order” and so on. The woman was from Chicago, the man from Vegas. They had met on six months prior and decided to take a trip to Europe together.

Having lived in Chicago for several years, and having worked a lot in Vegas, I was quite familiar with both cities – and thus we develop an instant rapport. Within minutes we pushed our tables together and begin chatting about all sorts of Chicago, Vegas and fun travel-related things. After a few hours, we end the evening with great food, good wine and wonderful conversation.

But it wasn't until Carl and I were walking home that evening that he said something quite surprising…

"That was such a typical American thing to do – overhear an American accent and instantly start a conversation with strangers," he said – adding, "Germans would never do that."

It got me thinking… Americans do get a bad rap. And even I have been known to distance myself from the American “stereotype,” especially when I’m living or traveling abroad. But the point is this: Even coming home from Reno, although sitting in a middle seat, tired but grateful to have caught an earlier flight home – I sat in between two really nice and very American men. Not what you’d think a “typical” American would be like – but both very American nonetheless. And both willing to share great food suggestions in Los Angeles.

"The Best Pastrami is at Langers in downtown L.A.," said the man by the window. And as he put it, "Never argue with a Jew about delis!"

And from the Italian-American gentleman on the aisle:

"There's no good Italian places in L.A., but Sparks on Ventura in Studio City – not an Italian place at all, but the chef IS Italian, and let me tell you – he makes the best Eggplant Parm you'll ever eat!"

So even though we all have our likes and dislikes – when it comes to opinions, Americans certainly have them. And truthfully – I wouldn't have it any other way...

That said: I will try both suggestions and report back as soon as I do. Thanks guys!

More food and travel tips to come....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where I came from...

Actually let me back up - I started this blog talking about my travel series, Krusing America - but the story isn't a TV series but rather a series of travel stories. As my Dad once put it: "You can't hit a moving target..."

As some of you know, I've been traveling my whole life. I was born in Italy to an American Soldier Dad and Italian Mother - And I have lived literally all over the world. My father retired when I was in High School and we moved back to his home state of Michigan. But that didn't stop me - I got a scholarship to study in NYC and rarely looked back - my dual citizenship with the EU - allowed me to travel and work easily both in the US and abroad - staying long enough to say I've lived in different parts of Germany and Italy as a child and NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris and London as an adult. I studied abroad, worked on foreign documentaries and fell into International Speaking - a natural occupation that would allow my wanderlust to continue. But it was the combination of my Broadcast News/Journalism background paired with my MFA in Filmmaking and a fascination for a people and country I never knew - that set the stage for what is now called Krusing America.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where we're headed in 2010...

HI All -

I am creating a blog this year so that everyone that has been following my Family Travel TV Show, KRUSING AMERICA will know what our plans are for the series. We ended last year with another record high month of hits on our website. We have been averaging over 100,000 hits each month for the last six months of 2009. Last month we topped 115,000 hits and we're at 60,000 already for January - I honestly can't thank you all enough for sticking by us and following our progress.

As some of you many know, last year was a series of interesting challenges. We ended the year with rather disappointing news: We were repeatedly told by LA production companies that our show is "too good". That the family is "too nice and normal". Basically there isn't enough bickering and fighting for today's audience. I still disagree and will continue to disagree. That said - Advertisers ARE interested in good programing. They would prefer to be associated with a show that highlights good people doing good in the world - so as we begin another year, I have renewed hope that our series will find a home THIS year.

And thanks to all of you and your repeated hits on our web site - we do have a few advertisers interested. But this will have to be a grassroots effort - My plan is to finalize Season One and air the show in select markets this summer. I will keep you up to date in my new Krusing America blog and newsletter or "kruse-letter" You can also become a Krusing America fan on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. In the meantime, I'd love your input as we choose our markets - please go to our website and click on APPLY. Tell us where you'd like to see our show. And of course, pass on our website to everyone you know. It may be the only way to get the show out there. Our website again is:

Stay tuned...