Knowing Your Greens : Kale (curly, Scots Kale)
Kale sounds so boring, but it can be exotic, too. There's lacinto and dinosaur and they can have colorful stems in yellow, orange, and purple! I grew up on iceberg lettuce. It's green (really more white/yellow than green) and a veggie, but doesn't hold a lot of nutritional bank. It's like roughage. Fibrous filler. Lots of water content; all great for your colon. But since we don't eat piles of it, this could all be pointless. I want to spend my time eating super greens!
I talked about getting to know romaine (hearts or leaves, or both) here, last time. We have a small organic greens in produce at the store I frequent (twice weekly, no less), and I've tried a few different greens including the lacinto kale, and even the mainstream mustard greens with no luck. Even armed with several epicurious recipes, I only ate a few bites and the rest of the fam were not as willing. But curly organic kale (aka Scots kale), has now become a staple at our house.
Kale chips are so popular and kids love them- they are great substitutes for potato chips when you bake 'em and toss some sea salt in there. But my favorite ways to incorporate kale, is to first wash and pull the leaves from the stems (which you can eat but are textured like celery and a tad bitter). Then chop and saute them. Here's our top 3 side dish ideas we like to make with curly kale:
-tablespoon of vegan butter, a handful of dried cranberries, sometimes sliced almonds for texture
-teaspoon of sesame oil, dashes of sea salt, and roasted sesame seeds
-tablespoon of EVOO, chopped sweet potatoes, some onion slivers (hearty AND good)
Mmmm. I get hungry thinking about it now. I keep it simple- and only have to saute the curly leaves for about 5 minutes until they are wilted to our liking. It's a good salad leaf, but it was too dry for the boys. Rubbing the leaves with olive oil seems to soften them up and bring out a stronger flavor, too. And it's great as a green smoothie ingredient- find my quick and super easy recipe for that here.
Usually the darker the green, the more vitamins you gain from it. This also goes for the flavor being stronger, I find, so I tread slowly. But the amounts of vitamins A & C it contains are through the roof! Vitamin K is high- which isn't talked about as much, but I've learned it's good for your blood and your bones. It is happy in antioxidants (which fight against all the baddies in the environment that your cells soak up/are exposed to), and is like spinach (remember that waxy part?) with oxolates (not absorbed on your insides well- and deter calcium absorption). This means it shouldn't go with high dairy content items like cheese sauce.
Have you tried kale? Do your kids love kale- or are they lukewarm to it? I feel like it's gained popularity in the vegg households, and my meat-eater friends are too chicken (punny) to try it. Believe me, I am still working out that mustard green side dish incident in my head- so I don't regret it next time.