From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kale convert

In 2011 I planted kale for the first time: dwarf blue curly, redbor and a tri-color variety.

I enjoyed it in the 'baby' stage - tender and sweet, but then I let it grow in the garden where they were a favorite target for cabbage lopers and fungus.  I didn't eat much of it.

In 2012 I grew Tuscan kale.  Just 4 plants.  Didn't want to get very excited about it.  I was SO reserved that I didn't cut even one leaf until Thanksgiving.  At that time I roasted the leaves (tossed w/olive oil, mustard seeds, black pepper and sea salt).  I tasted - tentatively.  OMG!

I've been cutting this kale regularly now and can't imagine cooking without it.  I harvest a bunch, rinse well, remove the center stem, toss into a baggie and Bob's yer uncle - fresh organic kale at the ready!

Monster health benefits aside, the flavor of this variety is outstanding.  The texture is nicer than the other 3 kales I grew (which I decided was 'rubbery' to me).  While I don't eat this kale raw (this time of year I want HOT food, not cold salads), it only takes a light steam/toast/roast or braise to wilt it down just a bit and 'limp' up the leaves, but still keep the the nice 'tooth'.

I've been asked how often do I 'make' kale.  Oddly, I've yet to 'make' up a batch of kale by itself (although I'm planning on braising a batch for Xmas dinner).  What I've been doing is using kale as an ingredient in just about everything else I make:

Chicken & rice noodles........................Vegetable soup........................

Beaners..............................................................................Stir Fry.................

 I also microwave kale ribbons for a minute (to limp them) and add them to omelets, or use them as wrappers for rollups.  I've even got plans to use them stuffed, like cabbage.

Basically, kale has become just another well-used ingredient in my kitchen, like parsley, onions and garlic - things that have become one of the basic building blocks of some really good grub.

Only draw back is - I grew just 4 plants this year and doubt those lovely leaves will not get much past January.  But next year - waaaay more Tuscan kale plants, you can count on that!

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4 comments:

  1. Kale is such a lovely and terrific plant. I love this when making a smoothie. Did you know this is really rich in vitamin K? So healthy!

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    1. Hello Sweety. Yes. I always knew kale was loaded with vitamins and minerals, but didn't know it was so tasty. Better late than never. LOL And so easy to grow. I won't be without it now. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. I'm not a convert....yet. Maybe I need to try your variety.

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    1. I wasn't a kale fan either, Glenda. But this variety is different. I like the growth habit, texture and flavor. It's a keeper in my book. Hope you try some in the garden next year. Don't eat it raw as your taste test. Try it IN something cooked. And the vit/mineral punch it packs is hefty.

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