Did I say â€œaleâ€?
Silly me. I meant â€œkaleâ€. I must have forgotten the â€œkâ€.
And I must have accidentally used a sexy beer ad for my feature image this week. Forgive me. It was an accident.
Unfortunately, kale needs all the â€œaccidentsâ€ it can get because it is not the most appetizing-looking thing in the produce section, but after this weekâ€™s recipes, kale wonâ€™t need beer or bikinis to spark your interest. Your taste buds will be screaming at you to hook it up with that sexy, seductive kale.
So letâ€™s get physical. Kale looks like a giant head of romaine lettuce, but greener and meaner. Greener because it has more iron than romaine, and meaner because it has a hard spine and is usually too large to fit in those little, clear produce bags, which is a deterrent for most shoppers. Its leaves look prickly and, eaten as they are, they have a very bitter taste. You can see why I reverted to the sexy beer picture now. Once you get kale home though, youâ€™ll be happy you were able to see past kaleâ€™s bad hairdo.
This is what kale will give you after you get to know her:
– improved eyesight Vitamin A and, especially, cartenoids, which will help you wean yourself off of the Sunglass Hut for your UV protection fix
– manganese and iron (amazing!!!)
– Vitamin C (yes, the Tropicana kind)
– fiber (do I need to elaborate?)
– assistance for your liver to cleanse your body of carcinogenic icky stuff (ie. cancer-causing agents)
Sold yet? Not quite? Letâ€™s focus on her flavour then because thatâ€™s the best part of this weekâ€™s recipes. Starting simple, we are going to turn this green goddess into something familiarâ€¦chips. Healthy, low-fat, actually-good-for-you kale chips. I test ran some kale chip flavours last night in the Monsters vs. Me test kitchen. Read below to find out which flavour reigned supreme.
Preheat oven to 350F.
De-vein the kale, which means cut the hard stem out of the middle of each piece. I use scissors to speed up the process. My sister (Toe Jam Monday’s Monica) swears by ripping it with her hands.
Cut the leafy pieces into 1-2 inch squares and rinse. I will repeat that last instruction: rinse. After the age of five, our palates are usually sophisticated enough to not want to eat dirt. A salad spinner is helpful, but not necessary (1).
Select your desired toppings (2). Transfer kale pieces straight to a cookie sheet (3). Coat with olive oil and salt (or see below for two of my favourite toppings). Use your hands to mix up the kale.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them or until the leaves start to brown on the edge (4). The less oil you use, the crispier they will be. It’s like the opposite of tanning. I find crundhy to taste more burnt, while olive oil helps retain the flavours, but you can experiment.
Monsters Vs Me test flavours:
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp of sea salt
Sweet and Savoury
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of local honey
2 tsp of sea salt
(mix together before coating kale)
The verdict in the Monster Vs. Me test kitchen is 3 out of 4 people choose the Sweet and Savoury, but I’m the 1 out of 4 who prefers the Lime Tostito flavour and my vote counts for three, so you can be the tie breaker. Comment and let me know what you think or if you come up with any new flavours to share.
If you already have your toes wet with this superfood, you are ready for a full springboard dive into the deep end with an amazing recipe that must be made to truly be appreciated. Braised Cider Kale turns kale into an a soft spinach-like texture that has hints of japanese-fusion flavour.
BRAISED CIDER KALE
1 head of kale
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 large shallots ( or 1 large onion) finely chopped
3 large gloves of garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (divided)
De-vein the kale. Again, I like to just use scissors to cut the hard stems out of the kale. Roughly chop kale leaves, rinse and drain. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic, until onion is translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
Add kale and toss in onion and garlic. Add red pepper flakes, soup stock and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add remaining 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Stir and serve.
Braised cider kale makes an excellent side dish or throw over brown rice for a fuller meal. You can add sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, sausage, tofu, whatever you crave.
Kale comes in many forms. The one usually sold in most grocery stores is green, but there are varieties of red and purple kale as well. Be creative and experiment with colours.
Didn’t I tell you you wouldn’t need beer and babes in bikinis to get hyped for kale? What’s that, you always need beer and babes in bikinis? Okay, here is a compromise:
Outspoken vegan Ellen DeGeneres gives Lady Gaga a kale bikini after seeing her wear a dress made of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards show last year.
Now you have proof that kale is in fashion right now. Oh yes, I did just say that.