Kale: Get Your Green On!

Most of the time when kale comes up in conversation (like always, right?) people tell me they’ve heard of it but haven’t used it.  And what do you do with it, anyway?  Really I’m still somewhat new to this green, but I’ve quickly become a convert.  Jim planted seeds in last year’s garden, and it grew so well I had a hard time keeping up with it.

Mostly we put it soups and casseroles. I’ve attempted kale chips (yum) and raw kale salad (make sure those leaves are young and tender).  Kale adds color, flavor and mega-nutrition.  But quite possibly my favorite way to eat it is as a simple saute.  I keep it on hand, in the fridge, for use all week.

It’s terrific piled on a sandwich.  Use it in creative lasagna or enchiladas.  Serve it topped with scrambled eggs or just serve it–alongside whatever else you’re having.

Garlicky Kale Greens

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 bunches of kale (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more if desired)
  • 1 or 2 large tomatoes, chopped (or half a 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, more if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • fresh ground pepper

002Begin by removing the thick kale stems.  There are a couple of methods.  I use a knife to trim the stem out.  Find where the stem starts to get thick near the top of leaf.  At this point, place your knife close to the stem and slide downward, separating the leaf from the stem.  Do this on both sides.  Then chop the stem away at the top.

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Alternatively, you can simply rip the leaf away on each side of the stem with your hands. I tried it this way.  It works, but as a creature of habit, I went back to my knife method before I finished.  It’s a matter of preference.

With so much kale, I find it easier to divide and conquer.  I chop only half at a time.  Place half of the kale in a pile lengthwise in front of you.  Cut crosswise in approximately 1/2″ strips.  Then cut the opposite direction.  And yes, I use the largest chef knife I have!

010Prep the other ingredients.  Chop the tomato (or use canned).  I like the garlic sliced thinly, but you could certainly mince or put it through a press.

017Film a large skillet with olive oil.  Heat to medium and put in half the kale.  Use a wooden spoon to carefully mix the kale and the olive oil.  It’s going to seem like quite a bit, but it will cook down considerably.  Now add the second half and do the same thing.  Toss on the garlic and mix again.

After a minute, add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and cover.  Turn heat down to low and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.  You want the greens very tender.

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Check the seasoning.  I’ve also made this with thinly sliced onion.  Put it in the pan and saute for 5 to 10 minutes before adding kale.  And fresh herbs make a nice addition.  Try finely chopped rosemary or some oregano or thyme.  A splash of fresh lemon juice to brighten or a little white wine could be nice too.  We’re straying into improv cooking waters. Lots of possibilities.  Go Green!

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Pita pocket stuffed with hummus and garlicky kale for lunch.

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