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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who the Hell Kales?: Part II Sauteed Kale

I hate sautéed kale. 

If I were a kid, I'd be left at the table for hours on end, pushing the green bunches of crap around my plate with a fork. 

Or, my uncle might zoom a fork full of the antioxidant antichrist around in the air like an airplane only to land at the pursed lips upon my shaking head. 

Nope. Uh-uh. No way. Put me in time out. 

But, first, let's back up.

I used a recipe from Bobby Flay. (I didn't know he did anything other than grill either.) It simply instructed to heat oil with chopped garlic, add the kale and cook for 10-15 minutes. When finished, add salt, pepper and red wine vinegar to taste. 

I was careful to sauté the kale only long enough to wilt the leaves so as to preserve as much nutritive content as possible. 

And, I believe this was a mistake. 

I couldn't stand the strong, cabbage-y flavor when cooked "al dente", so I threw it back into a pan and cooked the living hell out of it. 

I had an entire conversation, ate lemon cake, made a salad, ate a salad (yes, in that order), screwed around online, and THEN I decided to sample the Kale Part II. 

Boiled down and rather spinach looking, I found the flavor to be just as repulsive. 

It was cabbage but more bitter. It was a brussel sprout that had be left in the sun…in vinegar. And, it was still kind of tough--not nearly the buttery quality of steamed or sautéed spinach. 

It was steamed spinach's ghetto cousin who visits each summer but everyone thinks smells like soup. 

But, you're supposed to love kale. You're supposed to make green smoothies of goodness and talk about how great your skin looks. You're supposed to stare cancer in the face and say, "Bite me, I eat kale."

I'm not sure, but I think my distaste for sautéed kale strips me of the health foodie merit badge that I earned sometime around the purchase of my first jar of tahini. 

Whatever. I was never a Girl Scout, anyway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who the Hell Kales? Part I: Kale Chips

Ladies and Gents, 

This is the first in a three-part kale series entitled, "Who the Hell Kales?"

As a ravenous reader of health news and a self-proclaimed down-to-earth foodie, I've been beaten over the head with the advantages of kale, the superhero of superfoods. 

While I have never consumed even one little ruffle on the edge of a kale leaf, I am an equal-opportunity lover of all things green. Everything. Except okra. (Sorry, soul foodies.)

Here it goes, Part I: Kale Chips. 

I've been marinating on this adventure in kale for a few weeks now, and last night--which was, conveniently, Big Farmer's Market Night on route 50--I felt green, leafy and brave. 

Armed with my reusable Trader Joe's bags and an agenda, I searched for the market's best kale deal: $2.00 for a giant, head-banging bundle. 

As an experiment, I asked the lady farmer (larmer?) how she thought I might prepare it since I was a kale virgin. Immediately, she responded, "kale chips." Apparently, she had burnt her first attempt, so I was urged to watch their progress carefully. Another market shopper chimed in and seconded the kale chip love. 

Okay, sold. Kale chips it is. 

I came home, rinsed leaves and took a pretty picture…

After some DIY-goddessing (spray painting outdoor furniture aqua), I took to tearing some kale. 

The technique my fellow kale-purchaser taught me was to tear away front the large center vein, creating chip-sized pieces. I tossed the leaves in canola oil…I'm low on olive oil, okay? Don't judge…and added a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. I spread the leaves across a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 10 minutes.

And, perfection: not burned but still crispy. 

Big taste test: winner! 

They taste a bit like brussel sprouts with an entirely different texture. They are extremely light and delicate, so storage should be in a hard container, not a bag--how eco-friendly, huh? I wouldn't expect to bounce onto my couch with a bag full of kale chips and an IC Light during the next Steeler game (Sunday night!); although, I've created and consumed far stranger combinations than that. 

Abby tested, Coonhound approved. Yes, our Coonhound, Jerry, is on the kale train--not shocking given his previous affection for edamame, chai tea (accidental taste test there) and Kashi crackers. 

Next time, I can probably go with slightly less oil, since little puddles of canola laid shimmering beneath my chips, but it was a solid--or, light and crispy--first try. Dee-lish!

Next up: Sauteed kale.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Campbell's Soup Goes Pop...Again

In maybe the ultimate example of life imitating art--particularly pop art which toys with the relationship between fame, advertising and high art--Campbell's Soup's limited edition Andy Warhol soup cans reach the shelves of Target today for an accessible $0.75. 

The trichromatic (baby blue, red, mustard; cobalt, grass green, yellow, etc.) cans seek to celebrate The Factory founder's "32 Campebell's Soup Cans" art exhibit which is celebrating the big 5-0. 

That's right: This is the anniversary of an ART EXHIBIT celebrated at Target. Not the birth of some celebrity bambino; Not the latest in an endless line of a vampire series. We're celebrating pioneering visual art here, people! 

Apparently, Campbell's Soup hasn't been blowing up Wall Street in recent years…shot in the arm to the business…new line of soup in pouches didn't do well… If you're interested in the business angle, this isn't your blog. 

But, if you're here to art ogle, here you go! Get your Pinterest buttons a-ready!

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