I just read this hilarious Slate piece on kale where the author, Scott Jacobson, talks about the “all kale, all the time” lifestyle in Los Angeles. While I’m certainly not going to advocate for that kind of extremism (check his kale diary at the bottom for an explanation of how that might go wrong), I really do love kale and all of the wondrous things you can do with it.
I have to admit, I wasn’t an early adopter of the kale fad. Like most Americans, I don’t like bitter flavors and leafy greens have never held much appeal for me. I can do without dandelion greens and I used to think my parents’ love of arugula was just a pretentious affectation–how could they actually like that stuff? It must be for show. (Full disclosure: I’ve come around on the arugula issue. In fact, my lunch today was an arugula salad.) But slowly I grew to tolerate kale and then I grew to love it.
It started the way it does for most people: with kale chips. Ripped into bite-sized pieces, tossed with olive oil and salt, and thrown into the oven at 350°F, they’re simple, crispy, and easy on the taste buds.
Then I started sauteing kale–ripped into bite-sized pieces, tossed with olive oil and salt, and thrown into a hot skillet. Can’t go wrong with that combo either.
And then came the raw kale salad. One of my classmates made it on improve day (which is basically the Natural Gourmet Institute’s version of Chopped) and I haven’t been able to stop making it. I actually went home and made it for dinner that night. When we presented it to the chef, we called it massaged kale salad. But he thought that sounded kind of gross–who wants to eat a dish that you’ve announced has had your hands all over it? Wilted kale doesn’t have such a fun ring to it. Plus “wilted” usually refers to something that’s been cooked. So we settled on marinated, which is a pretty safe and accurate descriptor.
I’ve tinkered with the recipe a bit since then, but in a lot of ways it follows the same formula for all of my other kale eating: rip into bite-sized pieces, toss with citrus juice and salt, massage the acid and salt into the greens (like a facial scrub), let it sit pressed under something heavy, toss with olive oil, and serve.
I prefer making this recipe with the kale pictured, known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or lascinato kale, depending on who you ask, but any kind of kale works. This salad is very flexible and is tasty with all sorts of add-ins like sliced fruit, roasted sweet potatoes, nuts, and scallions.
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 handful slivered almonds
1 handful dried currants or craisins
Wash kale thoroughly and rip into bite-sized pieces.
Toss kale with salt and lemon juice. Massage the citrus and salt into the kale pieces.
Place kale under a weight or heavy object for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
Toss kale with olive oil, sliced almonds, and dried currants.
Today is going to be my last post for the next month while I take some time to relish the spring weather, try out some new recipes, and oh yeah, maybe give birth to my first child.
When I first announced I was pregnant I got inundated with a lot of questions about what I was eating, and I will freely admit, being a pregnant “foodie” and blogger has certainly been an adventure all by itself. The first trimester was rough – all I wanted to eat was plain spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese. My poor husband would come home each night, asking hopefully: “What’s for dinner?!” I would sheepishly reply, “Um, spaghetti?”
Eventually my cravings changed and we were able to resume a more normal eating schedule. And while many women have lots of crazy cravings during their pregnancy, some people have found my own particular culinary leanings pretty amusing. I have never been a grapefruit lover, but found myself eating almost an entire grapefruit daily for weeks on end. I’ve gone through 4 or 5 containers of berries in a week by myself. And I can often be found sitting on my couch noshing on an entire bag of roasted Kale. Not potato chips, or even pretzels – roasted kale.
And while I haven’t been much of a fan of meat during the pregnancy, I have single handedly consumed entire gallons of milk within the span of a week. And perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit I have polished off a box of cereal within a span of a few days. I comfort myself assuming it is all for the sake of a healthy baby.
From what everyone has told me, we are about to embark upon a whole new adventure with our first child, and I am not sure what role food will or won’t play, but I certainly look forward to seeing what lies in store.
In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the food musings of Jessica (and others) who will be taking over for me in the next month, and I look forward to “seeing you” soon.
Happy eating everyone!