Thursday, April 21, 2011


This post is a bit off-topic for me, but I'm trying to cook at home more, and I've been experimenting with kale.

So, kale has recently been touted as a superfood (joining all those other superfoods they've been throwing at us in recent years: blue-green algae, broccoli, blueberries, açaí, and on and on they come). I don't pay exceptionally close attention to counting calories or measuring nutrients in my diet—I just try to eat healthily in a general way and hope things work out all right (despite my predilection for fatty cheeses and other bad-for-me things).

I'm training for a half-marathon (for charity), so I've added glucosamine supplements to my diet (for my old knees), and I've been eating a bit more, both proteins and carbs. But I think my higher consumption of kale is really making a difference in my energy levels.

OK, so here's what I've been doing with it:

I've been making Bobby Flay's sautéed kale.

I've been doing my own "quick kale": I fill a frying pan with hand-shredded kale (stems removed), sprinkle the leaves with olive oil and low-sodium soy sauce, and add a couple of tablespoons of water. Then I just sauté until the water evaporates and the kale is tender (a few minutes). It's a great side dish.

I've also been pulverizing a mixture of kale and lime juice in my food processor (a couple of loosely packed cups of leaves without stems, and the juice of about half a lime), mashing that mixture into an avocado, and adding some cumin and a bit of sriracha (which deserves its own blog post) to make a sort of guacamole that I use on burritos. All you really need is that and some beans to make a delicious burrito.

And I've been supercharging pesto by food-processing kale, a couple of cloves of garlic, and a little bit of olive oil, and then adding one part that mixture and one part pesto sauce to pasta. It's so good!

I like raw vegetables, but kale is a little tough and stringy unless you grind it up or wilt it a little bit.

Kale. It's what's for dinner.

Part 2
After I'd sent out this post, my father's wife, Maureen, was kind enough to share a photo of the "incipient kale" in her garden.

She says, "This is a bit blurry but you can see that the stems are very white and the little leaves are sweet and round. Kale at this stage looks a lot like kohlrabi, which is growing on either side of the kale row. We really like kale. It grows well, looks pretty, and can be eaten as you have pointed out in many ways. I like to make pesto with it because if you add enough garlic, parm cheese, and walnuts, you don't really miss the basil. And because the kale has been steamed a bit first it whirs up nicely without adding much oil at all, so is lower in fat."

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