Sunday, June 12, 2011

a tale of two kales

Quite the pun-like subject, right? Like any good vegan, I enjoy kale immensely. My favorite reasons would be that it has a host of health benefits and takes on other flavors easily while still holding its own. It's also fairly inexpensive (I get a big bag of chopped, washed kale for $2, although when not available I will buy organic and do that crap myself for more money).

More often than any other usage, I throw kale into a green smoothie and call it a Green Monster. I have a magical combination of not measuring non-dairy milk, ground flax, massive amounts of kale, a frozen banana, and an apple into my awesome blender. It's refreshing and clean without tasting too healthy, if you catch my drift.

We recently subscribed to a CSA. I'm sure you've heard all about these in the blogosphere. Shares usually begin in May (ours was the last week in May) and my family has enjoyed the vast amounts of quality produce. We've received different varieties of lettuce, collards, strawberries (absolutely perfect ones this week, the best strawberries I have ever tasted), cherries (not as great, waiting for next week), dill, and garlic scape (similar to a green onion/garlic hybrid). So far I am very pleased with our full share from Great Country Farms!

I wanted to make something different because we received such a massive quantity of kale. I remembered that when testing for the new HH cookbook, I had made a recipe for Kale a la Maryland, or Fisherman's Kale. I took a spin off of that recipe by sauteing kale in vegetable broth until it was bright green and topping it with a liberal amount of old bay, salt, and pepper. I turned off the heat and drizzled over the juice of half a lemon. It made eating a large plate of kale so incredibly easy.

I've made kale chips before, twice from Mama Pea's recipe. Hers is fairly involving (I do not have a dehydrator) but the results are worth it -- crispy kale pieces that are so flavorful and tasty, they are all gone that afternoon. I found a less time consuming recipe, and video, from KathEats and prepared it using different seasonings on each batch. I tried curry powder, nutritional yeast, old bay, and an italian seasoning blend. I think I liked the curry/nooch combo best. The flavor wasn't as intensified as Mama Pea's develops more with the tahini and other flavors, but these did the trick.

It's actually quite funny, I don't think I ever would have tried kale had I not decided to incorporate a vegan diet into my lifestyle. I really believe the blogging community has done a lot to share and make positive suggestions for people to get to know new things, whether it be techniques, foods, cuisines, or mechanisms  -- I currently have my eye on a pressure cooker...