Kale (Brassica oleracea) is actually a leafy form of cabbage and the superstar of healthy veggies. It's a great source of vitamins K, C, A, beta-carotene, lutein and fiber. A very hardy plant, kale prefers cooler weather but can be found in shares throughout the season. While the kale-craze is just getting started here, apparently kale was one of the most common green vegetables eaten in all of Europe until the Middle Ages.

Some varieties of kale you will find in your share include Lacinto/Dinosaur (dustyish dark green leaves with a pebbly texture - left photo), Red and White Russian (often huge, tall, purple or white stemmed (respectively) with green serrated-edged leaves - center photo), and Green and Red Curly (very frilly-edged leaves - right photo).

These types vary slightly in texture and taste, but can be cooked together easily. To use, wash and de-stem leaves by holding upside down and swiping the knife downward along each side of the stem. Stems are usuable, as long as they are chopped small. They take longer to cook, so add them before the leaves if sauteeing, steaming or boiling. To store, wrap unwashed leaves in a wrung-out paper towel and keep in an unsealed plastic bag in the fridge.

For a super easy dish, try sauteeing chopped leaves with olive oil and garlic until leaves taste soft enough to you. Try adding any combinations of the following: lemon juice, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, pre-cooked white beans, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, apples, etc!

Kale and Potato Soup with Red Chili
from "The Greens Cookbook" by Deborah Madison
Serves 4-6

1 bunch kale leaves, destemmed, chopped
3 TBS olive oil
1 med onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small red chili, seeded and chopped or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
4 medium potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
7 cups water
pepper, sour cream (optional

Heat olive oil in soup pot, add onion, garlic, chili, bay leaf and salt and cook on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add potatoes and yeast, plus a cup of water. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add kale, cover and steam until it wilts, stirring occasionally. Pour remaining water, bring to boil and simmer slowly, covered, until potatoes are soft, 30-40 minutes. Either smush up some potatoes in pot with the back of a wooden spoon, or blend a cup or two of the soup and return it to the pot. Add pepper to taste and serve with sour cream. (Try adding white beans, sausage or other creative things into your soup).
Raw Kale Salad
from Deborah’s Natural Gourmet
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons oil
2 avocados, peeled and cubed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrots
Wash kale and shake out well to remove water. De-rib kale. Chiffonade (roll kale and slice greens into thin ribbons). Put kale and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Toss well. Marinate for an hour before serving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This soup doesn't look like much but it's REALLY delicious! I used 6 c chicken broth to sub for 6 c of the water, and garlic scapes instead of garlic bulbs. Yummy!