Thursday, July 26, 2012

All Things Kale

Last night I went to Austin and stopped by Whole Foods (heaven on earth) to grab some much needed groceries. I currently live in San Marcos, where there is no Whole Foods so it's always a treat when I have some time to swing by. Although they tend to be a little more pricey then your average HEB, they carry items that you really can't find anywhere else.

As I was scanning the produce, I came across a bunch of kale. I have never bought kale before, but my mom tends to really like it and I had seen a recipe featuring kale and strawberries, so I thought i'd give it a shot. Since I don't know much about kale, a little bit of research was involved. According to Elanas Pantry keeping kale fresh entails washing it thoroughly, dry it, chop it and put it in a baggie with a cloth or towel.

Want more tips on keeping produce fresh? Check out The Holy Kale blog. My tip is to freeze half of the produce. Usually I slice strawberries and freeze them for future smoothies, and bananas are good for banana frozen yogurt.

I didn't have all the ingredients the kale and strawberry smoothie recipe called for, but as usual, I improvised.

  • 1 Cup coconut water
  • Handful of strawberries, sliced
  • Two handfuls of Kale (stems removed)
  • 1 banana (it was rather large), sliced

The smoothie tasted great. The only downfall was that it wasn't really cold. I'd recommend freezing the fruit first. Freezing fruit is always a good idea, it will keep for quite a while and you can use it in smoothies, vegan frozen yogurt or anything else you decide!

Kale is actually a really healthy green to eat, it has Vitamin K, A and C. It is good for digestion and is rich in eye-health. Clearly, kale is also very versatile, hence this blog post.

With all my kale I also made kale chips. My first batch were fantastic, my other batches definitely failed. :(  For my first batch I didn't really measure anything (which might be part of the problem). I splashed a little bit of grape-seed oil and light sodium soy sauce along with a sprinkle of salt. Had my oven set on 300 and threw them in for about 12 mins. I kept an eye on them and would stir them every now and then. In the middle of the cooking process I realized I had nutritional yeast, so I threw a tad bit on the cooking kale. Once they seemed crispy enough I went ahead and took them out of the oven. AMAZING... I pretty much ate the entire container.

My second batch failed, as did my third. Looks like I need to go buy some more kale....
I had left some kale aside because I had found yet another recipe I was dying to try.  The recipe actually called for chard, but I thought kale would be a nice substitute. Aida Mollenkamp had an amazing looking recipe on her blog, Socca with balsamic mushrooms and wilted chard. I'm not going to go into socca right now, I'll save that for another post. But I would definitely recommend it. 
This dish was probably the tastiest dish in terms of flavor that I have had in a long time. I pretty much followed the recipe Aida provided, but made a few modifications here and there. 
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
While the garlic and oil was heating in a pan I cleaned and sliced my mushrooms. Then I threw them in the pan and got to cooking. The recipe said to add the balsamic later, so I decided to stick with that. I measured out the 2 tablespoons of balsamic recommended by Aida's recipe and sat it aside. 

The multi-tasker in me was also making the socca while all this was happening. I will talk about socca later, because I have a lot to say about it... 

Once the mushrooms looked cooked, I poured them in a bowl and let them sit while I cooked the kale. 
  • 1 cup of red onion
  • splash of oil
  • two handfuls of kale
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
I cooked the red onion, added the kale and let that sit for awhile. I then decided to go back to the mushrooms, grabbed the balsamic and started pouring. I stopped at about 1 tablespoon because it seemed as if the mushrooms were thoroughly covered, and balsamic can often be overpowering. I didn't use the same amount of mushrooms as the recipe, so this made sense. 

I then had the idea to go ahead and combine all my ingredients together. Great idea... the finished dish was so flavorful, just enough balsamic. 

As you have probably noticed, I don't really like to measure things. I get a general idea but kind of just go with the flow. I know a lot of people think this is nuts, and follow the recipe to the T, but I am always unsuccessful when I try and create the recipe exactly as is. I would recommend everyone try to make a dish without following the recipe. Trust yourself and your cooking skills and get creative. 

No comments: