Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kale - that's a vegetable, right?

The other day, I was reading a post on Charlotte's blog about eating veggies and one of the comments mentioned kale cooked in garlic. At that point, the amount of kale I've eaten in my entire life could be summed up to a big fat plate of nothing. I had the basic idea that it was a leafy green, but it was always one of those strange veggies that just didn't sound very tasty. I'm all for healthy foods, but this one always seemed to be one of those uber-healthy foods on a par with ezekiel bread, which I have also never tried, but have heard is rather similar to cardboard in taste.

But I couldn't get the idea of kale out of my head, since I'm always up for trying new foods.

So I head to my local farmer's market at noon and pick up a bundle of kale and some baby red potatoes. Then I realize I have NO idea how to cook kale. So I poll my boss on recipes. He blinked and said he'd never considered eating kale in the summer, and explained how if kale is left above 40 degrees for more than 45 minutes, the sugars start turning into starches, making the taste much less sweet. So November kale is tastier apparently. Not giving me much hope for the tastiness of my experiment. But I still hold out hope.

So I haul my kale and potatoes to the gym, and then on home. I pulled all the leaves off the stems, stuck them in a pot with some grapeseed oil and some dabs of garlic and let it wilt down to about one serving.

And man, was it tasty! Kind of like spinach, but not quite. A bit chewier, more of a hearty vegetable. And I didn't even notice the starchiness because of the crazy amounts of garlic I added in. If you want something a little bit fancier, with more flavors than just kale and garlic, try this spicy paprika kale recipe.

So now that I've discovered that kale is really tasty, what are the cool health benefits of it? It's on that ever expanding bandwagon of cancer-prevention veggies (it hasn't made it on any antioxidant lists I've seen, so it doesn't have that same sexy superfood status that blueberries, pomegranate, or goji berries do, but it's just as chock full of antioxidants). For a list of the diseases it prevents (so I don't get bogged down in all that scientific jazz), follow the yellow brick link above. One thing to note is that it's got a huge amount of fiber (one serving is about 10% of your daily value).

Have you tried kale? Any interesting recipes? I'm thinking this is going to replace cooked spinach, so I'm going to need to switch it up now and then. What other foods had you never tried and discovered recently?


Crabby McSlacker said...

I'll have to try it again--I had a vague memory of it being way bitter, but I may be confusing it with something else (or it might have just been poorly prepared.)

Thanks for the suggestion!

(And re: signature question--if you click on my sig, it should take you back to Cranky Fitness, where I've tried to explain in the comments to the meatloaf post how to link directly to your blog.)

The Lethological Gourmet said...

My boss was telling me about it being bitter, especially in summer when the temps are higher. So I was concerned about that. Either I got a really good batch, or the garlic covered over the bitterness. Either way, it was awesome!