Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hail to the Kale

You’re probably familiar with the kale dilemma.   The nutrient-dense, leafy greens are perhaps one of the best foods you can eat, packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, calcium and phytochemicals.  Yet, kale doesn’t exactly inspire cravings.  For many, kale is the “it” vegetable, while others colorfully describe it as something resembling the skin of a dragon. 
Kale is prolific at Restoration Farm and a part of every distribution, although sometimes, you do hear CSA members grousing just a little bit about all the bales of kale.   (The summer the geese got the kale, it was hard to tell if members were devastated or relieved.)  It's crazy how much we get.   It's like some pervasive alien life force.  There were probably 25 giant leaves in the last distribution.  Truth be told, I’ve learned to love it, but with kale, timing is everything.  If you don’t seize the moment and cook, all those greens can get a little soft sitting in the crisper. 
This year I vowed to have a better kale strategy then past summers.   My goal is to plan at least one kale recipe for each distribution, so nothing goes to waste.  With a recipe selected in advance, I might actually reap the benefits of this healthy, power food.   This recipe for Shredded Chicken with Kale and Lentils from Everyday Food is a delicious, weeknight meal.  Using canned lentils for a fast shot of protein, it’s a quick and easy pantry special and I’ve modified the recipe to use a package of cooked diced chicken, so I can have it ready to eat in minutes.   
I’m a card-carry member of "Team Kale" now.  I’m committed.  I swear.

©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I never cared for kale until a friend gave us some from his garden. What a difference "garden fresh" was compared to the supermarket kale.

I admit I don't use it very much, but I like the idea of it with the lentils. Happy 4th of July.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Another recommendation (and a recent discovery): make kale pesto, and freeze it in small containers for the winter. Fantastic, easy, full of garlic and goodness. There's a recipe on my blog.

~~louise~~ said...

Happy July, T.W! I recently read somewhere that Kale is the new "in" food. Oh where oh where I don't recall. Perhaps if I ate more Kale, I'd have a better memory. I sure am curious to see what other interesting goodies you come up with. Actually, I'm liking Lydia suggestion especially since I just bought a new freezer!!!

Try to stay cool these dog days of summer, and thanks for sharing!

Kalyn Denny said...

Yaay, so glad to hear you have officially joined the kale fan club. I am a card-carrying member and kale evangelist. Garden kale does really have better flavor than the kale from the store too. This year I have curly green kale and Red Russian Kale in abundance and I'm about to plant some Tuscan kale for the fall!

Lori Lynn said...

HI TW - chicken and lentils sound like a great pairing. I'm a fan, usually like it in soups, but not the farm pics. Here's my favorite soup recipe:

Anonymous said...

I love kale! But I also love finding new things to do with it! Will be applying your ideas to my own Bale of Kale soon!

Fresh Local and Best said...

It took me some time to figure out how to best prepare kale but now I can't go a week without it. I'm thinking of kale chips, sauteed kale in garlic and olive oil, and it goes very well in soup.

Velva said...

I grew kale for the first time in my fall garden this past season. I initially had no idea what do with it, but you soon find out there was plenty. I used it mostly in an Asian style salad, in soups and roasted.

I smile because there was definitely a point where you are thinking "Die, plant die!" It's was a gift that just kept on giving,

Hope all is well.

Deana Sidney said...

I love Kale and sausage and white beans. But in the summer it's kale salad... made with cavolo nero... not as shaggy. Had it in Brooklyn at Franny's years ago and just love it. garlic, bread crumbs, hot pepper, lemon... HEAVEN. I haven't tried it with regular kale but don't see why it won't work. Good for you to make kale work for you.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I must admit I don't do much with kale and I really must change my wicked ways. Your recipe is a great way to start. I hope you had a fabulous holiday. Blessings...Mary

Barbara said...

Love your post title! :)
I've never been a great kale fan, but do love it in soups and my daughter loves it in her veggie drink, so I often have it in the house. I bet it's divine fresh from Restoration Farm!

Julia said...

Kale is so prolific in my garden -- I'm always looking for new recipes and ideas!Keep 'em coming!

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., I suppose I should give it another try. Your dish looks good and the kale looks tender.
It is hot today and all I can truly think about is ice-cream recipes!!
I love peach salads too.
Have a great evening. Blessings my friend. Catherine

tasteofbeirut said...

I use chard a lot; got turned off by kale after trying a recipe for kale chips; but kale sounds lovely used in a lentil salad or in any recipe to substitute swiss chard.

Anonymous said...

I am also a big lover for kale. But it is a very underused veggie here in Belgium.

I have never grown kale myself though, maybe next year. This kale recipe rocks! ;) Yum Yum Yum!