Ingredient of the week: Kale!

by DaniGirl on April 25, 2013 · 5 comments

in Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

This is the second post in a new semi-regular feature here on the blog. The idea is that I propose an ingredient and we swap ideas on what to do with it, and I’ll keep an archive of them here for easy reference. Last week it was Parmesan Reggiano. On that post, Karen specifically asked for ideas and inspiration around one of our new favourite veggies: kale!

I had never eaten kale before it appeared in our CSA box from Roots and Shoots Farm last summer. I had a vague idea that it was a green with a good rep and people who lived healthier lives than me used it in smoothies. I had an idea it would be bitter and not yummy. I was wrong on both counts.

CSA share in the fridge

Kale is, in a word, delicious. It has a more hearty texture than lettuce but a mild, distinctively green taste. We’ve found two favourite ways to eat it. The first is in place of or along side romaine in a Caesar salad. (Bonus point: you can sprinkle some Parmesan Reggiano on top – shall we make it a game to see who comes up with the meal that incorporates the most of the ingredients we’ll feature here??) And as an aside, you know what gives my Caesar salad a little extra zing? A generous squeeze of lemon juice. Yum!

The other way I love kale is in baked kale chips. I’ve seen something being marketed as kale chips in the store, which have all sorts of crap in them and sell for some ridiculous amount like $8 per bag. My kale chips have three ingredients: kale, salt and olive oil. Wash your kale and shake off as much water as you can. Tear the tender bits of the leaves away from the ribs and toss the tender bits in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste. The big salt crystals like kosher salt or sea salt work best here. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 275F for 10 minutes, turn over and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more until they are crispy but not blackened. Then try not to eat them all standing in the kitchen because they are SO GOOD! They keep for a day or two in a closed container, but mine never last that long.

Okay, now you! I’m sure I have barely scratched the culinary surface of kale’s potential, but frankly as soon as I get it in the house it’s either a salad or kale chips within 24 hours and it’s gone. I can hardly wait for CSA box season to begin so I can get my weekly fix!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal April 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

I love my kale chips as well. I tried to put some in a smoothie and in a word ICK! I don’t have a fancy mixer and my poor little Magic Bullet was no match for the kale. Maybe if I win the lottery and get a Vitamix I’ll try it again. I saw a post on FB recently that I thought was brilliant. My kids won’t touch my kale chips with a 10 foot pole. And to be honest there isn’t much left after I am done anyhow :). This post recommended you bake them at a super low heat (more dehydrate than bake) for as long as it takes for them to get crispy. Then you put them in a blender or grinder and pulse till you have a power. And you use that powder as an additive to whatever you want! Brilliant right! I can add it to smoothies, muffins, other salads, pasta sauces. ANYTHING. I love it. (disclaimer – I haven’t tried it yet, but I still love the idea).

2 Kristina April 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

This is THE BEST kale recipe I’ve made yet – I do change the ingredients of the salad from time to time, but not the dressing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you don’t mind me linking elsewhere, it didn’t feel right to just post the recipe:
One tip I’d add is to REALLY work the dressing into the kale. Don’t be shy. Literally massage the stuff. SOOOOO GOOD! ๐Ÿ™‚

3 DaniGirl April 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

From Marla on Facebook:

Brown some chorizo in the bottom of a soup pot, then slice it and brown the cut sides, and put aside. Add a some olive oil, and a few cloves of garlic that you’ve roasted in olive oil and put in a jar and use all the time. Then wilt some chopped kale (baby bok choy is good too) in that, and put aside. Then, add a little more olive oil and use that to soften some chopped onions, then add carrots and celery and peppers and whatever vegetables are going soft in your fridge to sweat. Salt them a little, and add any other herbs and spices you like. When the veg have softened but still have colour, add the sausage and kale back with a can of white beans (and a can of tomato sauce, if you want it a little heartier) and cook just a little longer. Then add stock and keep it at a simmer while you drink a glass of wine and check Facebook until you manage to get everyone to the table. Serve with more wine and a toasted baguette with more roast garlic rubbed on it.

4 Roz April 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

I throw a handful of “baby kale” in my morning breakfast smoothie everyday. Once you get a banana, some yogurt and some frozen fruit in there, you can’t taste it! (Chantal, I also use my magic bullet…maybe the baby kale which comes in one of those lettuce boxes is milder and not as grainy – ?)

5 karen April 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I am going to try the kale chips. Not in a smoothie. Ever.

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