Veggie Tales – Kale

30 Jan

Welcome to a new feature of Beckster’s Laboratory called “Veggie Tales”! Yes, my husband came up with that title in two seconds, after I racked my brain for half an hour trying to be creative.

For the new year, my husband pledged to expand his vegetable horizons. He’s gotten A LOT better about being a picky eater, but vegetables are still a challenge in our household. We typically stick to a select few varieties, but in 2011, we’re vowing to try a new vegetable each month!

January’s veggie was kale. I’d personally never eaten or prepared it, so I was pretty excited to try it. When it’s fresh, it looks like a big head of lettuce:

Then once it’s cooked, it wilts just like spinach and gets nice and soft. I sauteed it with some garlic and red wine vinegar and loved it!

Here’s my husband’s take:

Hello everyone! First, I want to say what an honor and privilege it is to be writing on my wife’s blog! I feel I should say something witty or funny, but I digress. As my beautiful, holy, lovely, talented, (did I already say beautiful) wife mentioned, I tend to struggle with eating a wide variety of foods. I tend to be like Buddy the Elf and follow my main food groups; meat, starchy veggies, and water. Needless to say, I have some growing up to do when it comes to eating. I know I need to suck it up and just put the food in my mouth. I always admire my aunt and uncle; when trying new foods, they would make their children eat a little portion of it. They always called it the “no thank you” portion because most of the time their kids would say no thank you, and pass it on. It had to be no more than five small bites.

Anyways, I decided I wanted to do that with my veggies. I wanted Becky to not tell me what it is and I would eat it. Now here comes the second hurdle for me, looking at it! As studies have shown, we eat with our eyes first. If it doesn’t look appealing, we won’t eat it, and for me, most vegetables do not look appealing. So I told my wife to not tell me what it is; I would close my eyes and just put it in my mouth. A little childish? Probably. Did it get me to eat it? YUP! I mean, did you see the picture above? If I had taken one look at that, I would’ve run from the room and locked the door. Okay, maybe a little over dramatic, but I know I wouldn’t have tried it.

The first thing I thought when I began eating it was how crunchy it was, which is surprising given the look of it on the plate. At first I could taste the flavors that my wife put in it, and then I could taste the kale itself. It was a little strong for me at first, but I think that it was mostly because my taste buds were saying, “WOAH! WHAT IS THIS???” Am I happy with the food choice? Yes! Would I eat it on its own as a snack? Probably not. Would I become a kale advocate and tell everyone they must all eat it now? Not unless you have an AMAZING cook like my wife 😉 Will I try it again? Yes, as a matter of fact, if my wife made it again, I would say I would eat it again. (Especially with the pork tenderloin she cooked with it! Great pairing)

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients:
1 lb. dark green kale leaves, stem removed and leaves chopped, then washed and dried
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, very finely minced
1 1/2 cups – 2 cups water, added 1/2 cup at a time
Optional: Red Wine Vinegar or any vinegar of your choice

Directions:
Cut away the center rib from each kale leaf and discard. Chop or tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels.

Finely mince the garlic, then heat oil in heavy frying pan until it’s medium-hot and saute garlic for about 1 minute.

Add chopped kale leaves to the garlic, season generously with salt and pepper, and let the kale wilt for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, stir, and let the kale cook in the water until the pan is almost dry, about 5-10 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup more water and cook kale 5-10 minutes more, then add a third 1/2 cup of water and cook kale 5-10 minutes more. After you’ve added water and cooked it off three times, taste to see if the kale is tender; if not, add water one more time and cook a bit longer.

When kale is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the pan is nearly dry, season as desired with vinegar and serve hot or warm.

Source: Slightly adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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