Just recently I was introduced to kale. Not on purpose, kinda stumbled upon on accident. I was looking for alternatives for snacky thing. Something tasty and light, oh and crispy. As I browsed the internet, I came across Kale chips. It seemed interesting enough that I read more. Simple, wash, cut, coat lightly with olive oil and salt and bake in oven. Supposedly delicious. I never got around to actually making these. One day I will though but since then kale has been in the back of my mind.
One day at the market I was picking up some greens and wanted to add some diversity to my usual green selection. This is where kale crept up from the back of my mind. From then on I would buy kale here and there to use in salads. It’s texture is a bit tough but if you cut it small enough it’s easier to eat. One day I was low on other greens and the main component was kale. I didn’t have enough time to chop the leaves well so I just tossed the dressing right into the salad and closed the container knowing my salad would hold up. That lunch was so yummy. The leaves had just a bit of crisp left and everything marinated so nicely.
It wasn’t until a couple of night ago that I used kale outside the salad world. That evening I was making some pasta. My base was olive oil, onions, garlic and chicken. I wanted to added something green so I tossed in a few broccoli florets. That didn’t seem enough. As I was looking through my fridge, I caught a glimpse of kale in the crisper. AHHH maybe I can use this. So i took a couple of leaves, washed them, chopped them up and tossed them in. I was pleasantly surprised at subtle taste the greens brought to the dish. I also proceeded to add some turkey bacon into the dish for a sort of faux carbonara. Minus many ingredients.
The next evening I started to make a simple salad of cannellini beans, tomato and red onion. When I tasted it, the onion, which had been sitting in the pantry for a bit, was SO strong. I decided to throw it all into a shallow pan to cook out some of the onion. For some reason I added a bit of water so it the beans wouldn’t burn. Then things started to click. Well if I added water maybe I can add some rice. Looked in the pantry and took out lentils, barley and chicken stock. Threw all that in the pot. Then I remembered the kale and how much I enjoyed it. Took some leaves out, washed, cut and threw those in. I let is all simmer together for about 15-20 minutes. I needed some protein so instead of chicken that I was going to use, I threw in some left over Al pastor (spicy pork) into the mix. So yummy and filling. There was a lot so if people don’t mind eating this for a couple of meals, it won’t disappoint. You can always freeze half of it for a later time. You can find the recipe for this dish in the recipe section just cut the recipe in half for a smaller portion.
So what is kale? Kale is type of cabbage that belongs to the plant family Brassica and native of Asia minor. The three most common subtypes of this leafy vegetable are ornamental kale, dinosaur kale and curly kale. Each of these varieties has their own distinct flavor and texture and they vary in their general appearance also. While the curly kale has a typical pungent taste(most commonly found)the ornamental variety has a very mellow flavor and their texture is also very tender and soft. The dinosaur kale, on the other hand, has a slight sweet and delicate taste. I’ve only used the curly as that is all I kind in the markets.
Now why should one incorporate into their meals? Not only does it taste great, cost-effective and a versatile super food, it’s jam-packed with a butt load of vitamins. Kale provides an excellent source of vitamin B6 and C, carotene and manganese. It’s also a great source for vitamin B1, B2 and E, fiber, copper, iron and calcium.
Last night after my delicious dinner, I was thinking of other ways to use kale. I thought about stuffing them so tonight I am going to use some left over of the stew (hopefully it’s not as soupy but I can also add some rice to the mixture to firm it up) and stuffing the rest of the kale leaves with the mixture. I’ll pop them in the oven with a bit of chicken stock and see how it’s turns out. Kinda like a play on stuffed cabbage of stuffed grape leaves. Hmm I’m getting so hungry. Can’t wait to get into the kitchen.