KALE!!!!!!!!! Kale, which resembles spinach, is actually in the cabbage family along with cauliflower, broccoli, & brussel sprouts. I've only recently discovered it this year and we absolutely love it (to the point that Avi asks for it). My go-to cooking method for kale used to be sauteeing, the same way you'd wilt any greens, with garlic, salt, and olive oil. It got boring, and just wasn't appetizing after a while. It was then that I discovered "kale chips" in Good Housekeeping magazine, and I have been making it ever since, and kale has become a staple in my fridge.
As most of you may know, I am hooked on the Food Network. Aarti Sequeira won "The Next Food Network Star" and on one of her episodes of "Aarti Party," her new show, she made "Massaged Kale Salad"- I had to try it just because of the name! So I made it, and loved it. I liked the fact that I was eating the kale raw, getting the full amount of nutrients it has to offer, as opposed to cooking it, which depletes some. Kale is a great source of vitamins K & C, and very rich in calcium. Anyways, I put my own spin on Aarti's massaged kale salad, with my own dressing concoction. Once dressed, it can be eaten even the next day and doesn't get soggy.
Don't be afraid of kale, it tastes and can be used/prepared just like spinach.
1) Kale "Chips"
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
-Fold each kale leaf and cut down the center, cutting out the thick rib. Then, cut the leaf into ~4 sections
-Wash and dry the kale very well (tip: the dryer the better; wet kale will sog up in the oven as opposed to crisp= use a salad spinner)
-Lay the kale out onto 2 baking sheets (one big bunch of kale usually yields 2 baking sheets worth), in as single of a layer as possible (some overlapping is okay)
-Toss the kale with olive oil, & a little garlic salt (the kale wilts down A LOT, so a little salt goes a long way)
-Cook for 15 minutes, usually not longer or it will BURN!
-Eat with your FINGERS! :-)
2) Massaged Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
-1/2 a bunch of kale
-1/2 a mango (I just realized mango has been in the majority of my recipes so far!)
-1/4 cup chopped candied nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds= tip: you can make your own by glazing nuts in 1/4 cup of sugar in a saute pan until it gets syrupy- thank you M for that tip!!! Make a lot and store for snacking!)
-3 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
-Cut out the ribs, and cut the kale into strips (I usually get 6-8 cups of kale strips from 1/2 a big bunch)
-In the bottom of a big glass bowl, squeeze about a tbsp. of lemon juice. Add 1/2 the kale, and literally MASSAGE it! Once it is slightly softened, add the rest and massage more.
-Add the mango, nuts, and sesame seeds & toss all together with dressing:
-1 shallot roughly chopped
-3 tbsp. fresh lemon or orange juice
-1 tsp. lemon or orange zest
-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-1.5 tbsp. red wine vinegar
-3/4 cup olive oil
-1 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise
-Salt & pepper, to taste
-Blend all ingredients, add olive oil and mayonnaise last, and blend
(Dressing turns out the best when made in blender or food processor)
(Another good point about kale is that since it is a hearty green, it lasts a while in the fridge. I usually buy 2 very big bunches at once, double bag them, and it can last in the fridge for like a week+. This way, I can use it more than once, in different ways for many dinners)
(P.S. for all you 5-townsers, Gourmet Glatt has the best kale)