Why is this picture of kale not oriented properly? ARG. Do me a favor and turn your head 90˚ to the right while looking at this.
Kale is Not the Enemy
We have a farm share (a Community Supported Agriculture share, or “CSA”) with Laughing Stock Farm again this year. I think they’re great, we are part of their CSA in the summer and winter, I enjoy the whole thing a lot.
That said, and even though they give us lots of options among the vegetables, I’ve still ended up with a kale glut. Some of you may also be experiencing a kale glut. (Those of you in California and the south can keep your CSA experiences to yourself here; we have a short, cold spring and no, we are not eating tomatoes yet.) But I think the problem is not the kale, and it is not even me for continually picking more kale even though we already have a lot of kale at home. The problem is not having easy kale dishes.
What we need are kale dishes we can make easily and quickly for weeknight dinners.
Here are my go-tos:
Kale and Farro - We have this for dinner fairly frequently, and I adapt it to whatever relatively hearty green is available. Chard, beet greens, elderly spinach, it all works, just add the greens earlier or later in the cooking process. I also make it fairly frequently with onion instead of shallot. Sometimes I don’t have bacon,* so I use some reserved bacon fat or butter or olive oil. The beauty of this is that it takes one pot, it’s hearty and filling, it’s relatively healthy, and it’s fairly fast to make.
Kale and White Bean Soup - So this soup takes a fairly long time to make from start to finish. That said, it makes a TON, it’s really good, it uses up a shit ton of kale. If I make this on a Sunday, we eat it for a good portion of the week and LOVE it. I love this soup. Also, in this post I mention that my friend Katy made it and found it disappointing, but I think we since discovered that she made a DIFFERENT AND LESSER soup.
Braised Kale - I often make this alongside Teriyaki Salmon. Here’s the basic recipe: “Wash your kale and remove the stems. Chop. Dump into a large pan with a little bit of chicken stock and a bit of butter. Simmer, tossing with tongs, until cooked.” You can saute onion first, you could toss with a bit of sherry vinegar when they’re done, it’s really simple.
Kale Smoothies - We’ve started drinking smoothies with greens in the mornings. Spinach is easy. Kale is sort of more advanced, because raw kale has a stronger, bitterer flavor and because there’s a greater potential for terrible texture. Our first kale smoothie smelled, tasted, and felt like drinking lawn clippings. Bear was the only one who could finish it. We’ve since improved dramatically to the point where we all enjoy the kale smoothies. Some tips: 1. Don’t go crazy with the amount of kale, start with a very moderate handful, 2. blend the kale and liquids together first so you’re not getting the lawn-clipping texture, 3. use fruits that are very sweet and tart to balance things out (like pineapple or mango), 4. add a bit of lime juice at the end if it’s missing something. We’ve had good luck with kale, plain greek yogurt, orange juice (blend these three together first VERY well), banana, frozen pineapple or frozen mango. Coconut milk wouldn’t be amiss either.
I know others have had great luck with kale chips and kale salads. I haven’t had great luck with those, but I’m open to trying again.
And I’d love new ideas for kale! Send them my way!
* I generally use just a few strips of bacon at a time, rarely the whole package. So when I buy bacon, I divide the whole pack into batches of 2 - 3 strips, wrap them in foil, label and date them, and stick them in the freezer. When I’m using the bacon, I chop it up and add it to the skillet while still frozen.