Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dishing Some Kale in CaLifornia

Good morning friends!

I want to share a simple recipe that adds a good underdog of a vegetable to the menu. KALE.

a Thank You to whomever this picture belongs.

By now we are all aware that adding plant foods to our diet is extremely beneficial. Now let me make you all aware that I have explored nutrition throughout the years. When I was about 14 I became a vegetarian when my dear cousin Melanie, a year younger than I, convinced me to try it. Together we would explore cuisine made without any meat and it resulted in learning things like...

SOY (everything!)
Nutritional Yeast
iCE DREAM (in lieu of CREAM)

After about 2 years of being a vegetarian I decided to go the route of purist and be a VEGAN for some time. Melanie and I would visit beautiful places in The Finger Lakes like The Farm Sanctuary, in Watkins Glen.

This coincides with the time that I was ending high school and beginning college. I set my eyes on a shore far away and moved from NY to Tampa, Florida.

The University of Tampa fortunately had just implemented a fantastic new food scene full of possibilities! Daily I had choices of delightful vegan cuisine prepared by some really great chefs. These stir-frying masters became my very good friends. Especially Nancy. She was a GEM!

Nancy, if you stumble across this blog I hope you remember me and our many chats. I used to make it a point to bring Chef Nancy gifts that a college student could music mixes of our favorite gospel singers, magnets and postcards from places I would visit on days free from class. As a reward she would look up new dishes to try and let me be the first to try them! Thank you, Nancy. From the bottom of my grateful heart.

Now, I will admit that I am no longer a vegan. I returned to having a "regular" diet that now includes meat, chicken, fish, dairy products and honey. The trick is having a balance. Try a bit of everything and see what works for you. There is so much to taste out there in the world. I am finding, personally, that eating more plants than meat is particularly beneficial to my life. Eat what you want and what you may so long as you do it all in moderation. the simple recipe...

Go to your local farmer's market or fine grocier and buy a bunch of kale. Make sure the leaves are all green and healthy. Here Karin had found some kale with purple stems as a colourful treat!

Mise en place. Which in French translates to everything in place. Here I have dished some peanut oil and added some freshly ground black pepper into one bowl. Into the other bowl I have mixed Hoison sauce (you could also use Oyster) and some Sriracha.

Sriracha Sauce. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! I am a huge fan of HEAT when it comes to food for the right dishes. I am especially appreciative of this garlicky, chilli, red sauce from Thailand. I use it on scrambled eggs, drizzle it over a burger (beef!) and add it to soups for that KICK.

Eat me.
Ironically, the first place I tried this wonderful condiment was in Bozeman, Montana. Melanie's husband took me to this place called Naked Noodle Cafe where they have it sitting on every table. I gave it a try and have been hooked ever since!

So now...chop up the leaves of the kale with sharp scissors or a good knife. Make sure you save the bottom portion, the stems, as they are very good for you and we will be using them very soon. As a matter of fact, get your wok or large frying pan a little warm, pour in the peanut oil and black pepper...and add the stems now.


You may smell something like broccoli or cabbage as this cooks. We want this to begin frying as this is the toughest portion of our kale and the leaves take far less time to become tender.

Go ahead and add the leaves now...give them a stir so the oil and all gives them a nice coat...and next let's get that Hoisin and Sriracha blended in...


Toss evenly in the pan to coat the kale in the sauce...cook for about 4 minutes til just wilted and tender.

I had just some fettucine on hand here, but you could also eat this by itself or any pasta or beans dish.

a palmful of sea salt always is welcome when cooking the flavors them

And presto dinner is done in about 20 minutes! This dish I am proud to say was ravenously consumed at a birthday party held by Karin's dear friend Elana. Happy Belated Birthday from California, Elana! Remember friends to always share food, made with love, with some good friends. It's the secret magic ingredient to anything you make!

Happy Saturday,

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