Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eat More Kale!

Kale is a delicious and nutritious dark leafy green, high in Vitamin C, calcium and potassium, as well as countless trace minerals. Greens are the number one food group missing from the average American diet and the funny thing about it is they are by far one of the most delicious tasting and well-liked vegetables by children and adults…when cooked well. Here are some basic technical cooking instructions to help you enjoy your greens in many ways.

Start with 1 bunch kale, you can use curly green, red russian or elephant ear kale. All are delicious it is mostly a matter of preference and availability. Wash the kale and shake excess water from the leaves before cutting into strips, horizontally about 1/2 to 1 inch thick depending on how big you want the pieces. Use the entire stem, discarding any brown or spoiled parts.

In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot add kale, generously sprinkle with salt and pepper (and other spices, optional). Leave the kale in the pan as is until it steams slightly, about thirty to sixty seconds, then begin to stir and flip as needed. Once the kale has wilted down but is still bright green add 3 - 4 cloves of minced garlic, I like to chop it but sometimes I use a press. Stir in the garlic, sauté for another minute, taste for flavor and enjoy. I prefer my kale still be bright green, cooked until soft but not soggy, if you prefer it more or less cooked plan accordingly.

Have you ever heard of Kale Chips? They are a tasty snack and a healthy treat. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and prep kale as above. Heat kale onto two cookie sheets and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and other spices if desired. Put into 425 degree oven until crispy. It is important that the oven be hot and that the kale not have an excess of water on the leaves, either will cause the kale to steam rather than crisp into chips. But don’t fear, steamed kale is delicious too and a great way to prepare the stove top recipe. To steam kale in the oven cook at 300 and stir often, waiting to add garlic at the end as in the pan cooked method above. Making kale in the oven is a great way to prepare kale for a large gathering!

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