Looking at restaurant menus around this city, you would think Kale was the Messiah. It’s the centerpiece in healthy green juices, it’s mixed with grains for healthy side dishes and it’s even dressed up and braised as a main course (If your date ever orders an $18 braised Kale main course at a restaurant that he or she suggested please get yourself outta there and on a different OKcupid date).
I happen to love the leafy taste of Kale but I can sympathize with those who do not. Let’s get one thing straight. There are different types of kale just as there are different types of wines (or really different types of anything). If you are a kale hater (we’re doing to change that though) you are most likely familiar with the curly variety which now (thanks to us yuppie-ass-hipsters) is available in most generic grocery stores. However, the curly variety is my least favorite variety and in my opinion has a slightly unpleasant bland taste. Plus, it is often past it’s prime by the time it makes it home to you kitchen.
Wait, hold the phone. Kirsty Alley has an organic lifestyle blog? Sorry for the brief interruption, but I just googled “types of kale” to get my facts straight and I came across “Kirsty Alley’s Organic Liaison.” Amazing! She (or her team of people) actually have a pretty solid run down of the types of kale that are widely available. Thanks Kirsty! And by the way, you look great.
Unlike other food bloggers I do not have a vast array of stock photos of beautiful pinterest-worthy heirloom vegetables on hand, so I’m going to have to use my words.
Curly Kale – As mentioned, this is probably what you think of when you think of kale. It’s got very curly leaves attached to very thick stalks. It’s usually dark green but can also be red.
Tuscan, Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale – This is the one you want. It’s leaves are very flat and it very closely resembles swiss chard. The flavor is sharp and distinct. This one is harder to find, but during the summer I can almost guarantee you’ll find it at the farmer’s market.
Do not use curly kale for this recipe, it won’t work.
So you dislike kale? So you actually hate cooking and you’re only reading this because you saw me post this on facebook and you clicked out of sheer boredom (or because you are so sick of wedding photos of distant acquaintances and left-leaning political blathering)? Would you do me a huge favor and just try this recipe. No cooking involved! Seriously?
That’s right…just a little chopping and bit of whisking but no actually cooking is required for this recipe. Lush, raw Lacinato kale is going to get doused in a salty Japanese sauce and served with fluffy white sushi rice. You’re going to have to cook the rice, but you can skip that if you want. Serve with a side of kimchi for a complete meal.
Lacinato Kale with Miso Soy Dressing
You will need:
1 bunch (about 20 stalks) Lacinato kale
1 Tablespoon white miso paste
1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1. Wash and dry the kale. You will need to remove the thick ribs. Lay a kale leaf shiny side down and rib side up. About 3 inches from the top of the leaf, run a small sharp knife just next to one of the sides of the large rib. Do the same on the other side of the rib so you are simply removing the rib and leaving the leaf intact. You should be left with something that looks like a lily pad. Repeat this for all the leaves and then slice the leaves into thin ribbons.
2. Crush the garlic in a garlic press and add to a large bowl. Add the miso paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil and whisk vigorously with a fork until the miso past has dissolved. Add a few drops of water to thin the dressing out.
3. Add the kale ribbons and toss to coat. Add the sesame seeds.
Serve it with kimchi and :
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
You will need:
1 cup premium grade Japanese sushi rice (Nishiki and Kokuho are good brands)
1 cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1. Rinse the rice in a strainer after measuring exactly 1 cup in a dry measuring cup and add too a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.
2. Add 1 cup of water, cover and bring to boil over high heat. Watch and listen very carefully it will boil in 4-6 minutes.
3. When the pot starts to shake and steam and water splutter out, turn the heat way way down to just barely a simmer. DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF TO CHECK. Cook for 16 minutes at a simmer.
4. Remove the pot, sill covered, from the stove. Set it to steam (can be another dormant burner on your stove) for about 10 minutes without checking it.
5. Whisk rice vinegar, salt and sugar together. Using a wooden spoon, remove the rice from the pot to a large plastic bowl and fold in the vinegar mixture. If there is a crispy layer of rice on the bottom of your pot, leave it and cut your losses, you only want the fluffy white stuff on top. The rice will sit comfortably for a few hours in a plastic bowl with a damp towel covering it.
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