Making friends with kale

Look at that pile of kale — red russian — from one short row of mixed greens in my garden. I have generally not been fond of cooking greens, except spinach, which I love. (Except, occasionally, a frozen bag will be disappointing.)

I am coming to think that maybe cooking greens just until wilted might make them taste better; before, I’d assumed they needed long cooking to reduce bitterness.

That, and kale and other greens are really quite lovely raw in salads.

Anyway, I decided to blanch and freeze this pile so as to have some on hand to throw in soup and the like. I used a mesh strainer to dip it in the boiling water just until wilted, and then squeezed handfuls into lumps. Froze them on this sheet tray, then tossed them in a ziploc. We’ll see how it goes!

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2 thoughts on “Making friends with kale

  1. Good luck with that. I’ve got two recipes that we like pretty well for greens of whatever sort (mostly we end up with spinach from the store).

    Each starts off with taking 2 or 3 pounds of greens and cooking them in the water from rinsing them until just wilted, then drain the water off and chop coarsely.

    For the easier of the two, sautee 3 chopped garlic cloves in 1/4 to 1/2 c olive oil (I actually used quite a bit less) until soft but not taking color. Add 1 dried chili pepper (I use some red pepper flakes). Add the cooked greens and stir them until they’ve taken on the flavorful oil. As soon as the greens start to sizzle, remove from heat and stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of a wine vinegar or lemon juice and some sea salt.

    For the more involved–but totally awesome!–recipe, while you’re cooking the spinach, soak 1/4 cup golden raisin in hot water to plump them. Then, in a saucepan over med-low heat, saute 1/4 c pine nuts in 3 T olive oil until golden, about 7-10 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Remove from oil and set aside. Add 1/2 of a medium onion, minced, and 1/2 clove garlic, minced. to the oil and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 10 min. Stir in the spinach and mix to combine thoroughly. Just before serving, drain the raisins and stir them and the pine nuts in. Add salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg.

    Both of these are improved by being served over warm bread. We’ve been eating each of these as a main dish when served with bread.

    I’ve got a few other recipes from this same cookbook that I haven’t tried yet–you’re welcome to page through it next time you stop by.

  2. Neither of those sounds good to me! Can’t quite imagine the spicy one — maybe I’d change my mind after tasting, though. I had the same reaction when I learned about pepper jelly, but it turned out to be quite nice with a bit of cream cheese on a cracker.

    The second one could possibly be redeemed by leaving out the raisins. Nuts sounds good.

    The usual vinegar and / or garlic and onion recipes don’t appeal to me for whatever reason. I’ve always preferred most veggies just with butter and salt and pepper.

    I’ll probably keep using greens minimally, mixed into stuff or as a small side — my taste, and especially Mark’s and Amy’s, doesn’t yet welcome a main dish focusing on them.

    I would like to peruse the book, though!

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