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Posts Tagged ‘kale’

I’m drowning in greens. No, seriously.

I might be keeping them in my laundry room. There's no more room in the fridge!

I might be keeping them in my laundry room. There's no more room in the fridge!

I came home with a LOT of greens from the farmers’ market. I already had some beet greens and one bunch of golden chard (I couldn’t resist, and it was one dollar). Then at the market on Saturday I bought two bunches of kale (russian and some other kind) and two bunches of rainbow chard, all from a vendor who has the smallest most tender greens. But then my partner in crime at the stand told me to see another farmer down the way for greens as the market was closing. He gave me six bunches of greens — four kale (one curly, two lactino, one russian purple), and two rainbow chard. That’s a total of ten bunches of greens.

Naturally, I’m looking for a way to get through them. Some of the daintier chard became a breakfasty thing yesterday morning. One beautiful bundle of the smaller-leafed kale was destined last night for colcannon. Colcannon, I learned today, is a traditional Irish dish (some say the traditional Irish dish), meant for serving on Halloween. How appropriate! It is made with a combination of potatoes, onion or leeks, and cabbage or kale. Differing sources will tell you that cabbage or kale are the more correct green. Considering that kale is a relative of cabbage, I say it’s all good.

Here’s how I made colcannon — a delicious, healthy comfort food.

You need:
– Potatoes (I used one big one and four little ones), chopped into 1″ cubes
– One medium leek, cut into 1/2″ pieces
– One bunch kale, stems trimmed and cut into 1″ strips
– Milk of your choice, 1/2 – 1 cup
– Margarine or butter-like substance of your choice
– Salt and pepper

Start by boiling the potatoes in salted water. These take the longest. Then move on to the leeks (wash well!), which are sauteed in olive oil on medium heat until soft. The kale gets cooked (see how to cook kale) — do this last, as greens get cool very quickly and only take 5-7 minutes.

Once potatoes are fork-pierceable, drain water and transfer to bowl. Add leeks and 1/2 – 1 cup of milk. Mash. I like some chunks in there (and I leave the potato skins on anyway). Season liberally with salt and pepper. Create a crater, into which you put the (drained) kale. Top with a pat of butter-like substance. Curl up and carb out.

This is dirt-cheap and takes under an hour. Making kale tonight illustrated to me what a difference good produce makes in meal preparation — the kale I got was made of very young leaves, which cooked quickly and were tender and not bitter at all. If you’re looking for how to cook kale to make it taste good and so that it isn’t bitter, get ye to a farmers’ market! Get good kale! Your efforts will be rewarded.

Also, a reminder of why we wash our vegetables:

Go forth and celebrate the coming of Halloween with some colcannon!

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My dad recently asked for some instructions on how to cook kale. I’d showed him before, but he needed a written step-by-step.  I figured I’d share this how-to! A lot of this is informed by Greens Glorious Greens, which is the best cookbook (as far as I’m concerned) if you want to get eating some photosynthetic goodness.

Kale is a great source of all kinds of good things for vegans and meat-eaters alike. It’s full of calcium — more than a glass of milk! I love making some to throw into a bowl with some brown rice, miso-tahini sauce, and tofu.

Without further ado, I present you with a wordy post on:

HOW TO MAKE KALE!

1. Buy kale. Go for local and organic (it’s available almost year-round at any farmers’ market). Get whatever looks happy to you! I like the curlier sorts with red/purple stalks because they’re pretty and the curliness gives it a little more texture. However, it may be more difficult to get every little last bug out. I figure that possibly accidentally eating a few aphids is better than for sure eating a lot of pesticides. Of course, you must:

2. Bring your kale home. Store wrapped in a paper towel in a bag in the crisper drawer. I’ve had kale stay good for at least two weeks. When it’s K-Day:

3. Wash your kale. I fill my sink with some cold water and put all the kale leaves in. Kale and other greens cook down a LOT so one bunch is actually not too much for two people. I sometimes eat a whole bunch all by myself. If there are a lot of aphids (they can be greyish), put a little salt in the water. They should fall right off. Swish around, pull them out, and dry.
– This is a good time to start boiling water. Get out a wide pan with a lid and put 1/2″ – 1″ of water in it (about 1-2 cups). Any less than that and it may burn; any more and you may pull out too many nutrients. As it boils:

4. Cut your kale. I go for 1/2″ to 1″ wide strips. I don’t take the rib out but I do trim the stalk at the bottom. Some people don’t like ribs. I really don’t find them an issue. I will sometimes cut the leaves in half along the rib if they’re big leaves. I guess taking the rib out would inevitably cut it into half anyway… Bring the kale to the stove and:

5. Cook your kale*. Put the kale into the now-boiling water and cover. It will take about 5-7 minutes to get the kale the way you want it. Check every few minutes and give it a teeny stir to make sure nothing’s sticking. If you like the flavor and texture, turn off the heat and:

6. Drain your kale. BUT!! The liquid the kale cooked in holds a lot of the nutrients — in the pot likker/liquor. I put a colander over a wide bowl and use that to drain the kale. Let the water coot and drink it later; take the kale out and:

7. Make your kale delicious. It really only needs salt and maybe some lemon juice and pepper. Maybe toasted sesame seeds? It will take well to anything kind of acidic (red wine vinegar will also be good).

Now go make some kale! A cup of cooked kale has more calcium than a glass of milk… and adding the lemon juice adds Vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the calcium, and if you drink the pot liquor… you’re in great shape.

*There’s a lot out there on the internets that will tell you to saute your kale, or maybe suggest you add citrust to it when it cooks. Don’t believe it! It won’t go all radioactive on you, but it will make your kale ugly. Leafy greens have acids in them which, when released by cooking, turn them a boring brownish-green color; adding your own acid will have the same effect. By boil/steaming in water, you’re reducing the concentration of these acids in the kale, while simultaneously diluting the flavor compounds in the kale that make it taste bitter. Hooray cooking science!

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