The Backyard

The Backyard

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What To Do With Kale

Kale is king in my garden. It's cheap to grow from seed right in the ground, you can start it early in the season (my seeds are going in with the sugar peas on St. Patty's day), it tolerates frost, and is super-charged with nutrition even though the flavor is ho-hum in my opinion. There's only so many things you can do with kale to make it a tasty dish. A co-worker of mine had a comical statement, "I thought it was just a decoration on the salad bar. I didn't think people really ate it!" Alas, my friend, yes, you eat kale and its actually good for you too. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse packed with protein, calcium, and a plethora of minerals and vitamins. Nutritional experts hale it as one the top foods to include in any healthy diet -- vegan, vegetarian or meat eaters alike -- although vegan nutritionists really zero in on this nutrient-laced leafy green. Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live and other healthy eating books, puts it on the very top of his nutritarian pyramid. So how to make it? You can start harvesting it when the leaves are as little as two inches long -- they actually taste better when young and tender. The older and bigger the plants get, the more bitter they become. Soups, soups, and more soups are always a good choice in cooking kale. You can never go wrong including kale in soup because the soup spices and other vegetables nearly always drown out the kale flavor. Two recipes I found palatable beyond soups are Confetti Kale and Kale with Crimini Mushrooms (kale, mushrooms, onions, and a squirt of soy sauce). But today, I tried Crispy Kale. Bingo -- another awesome way to make kale edible. The recipe, courtesy The 30-Minute Vegan:
1 large bunch kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Lay the kale flat in pieces on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 until crispy (10 minutes -- but watch it - it browns and dries quickly). Put in large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then the yeast and salt. Store at room temp.

Wow.... I almost ate the entire bowl in one sitting. Like eating chips, but healthy chips! It truly was hard to keep my fingers out of the bowl. And yes -- it only took 30 minutes.

And the The 30-Minute Vegan is my latest cookbook this recipe came from (I have WAY too many cookbooks. I'm good for at least 1 a year). So far, the cookbook is 3 for 3 with awesome recipes. First was Tofu Saag (tofu, frozen spinach, and Indian spices), 2nd was Pasta Florentine (whole wheat elbows, spinach, soymilk/nutritional yeast and spices), and now is the Crispy Kale. All were fantastic and yes, quick. I highly recommend this cookbook.

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