My love for kale began, strangely enough, in Vancouver when my husband and I ate at the famous Indian restaurant Vij's. We ordered an appetizer there that included garbanzo beans and grilled kale. I'm not lying when I tell you that the grilled kale tasted exactly like steak. I was so enamored with this dish, that I asked the waitress how it was cooked, and she happily told us that it's marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk. I have been making grilled kale marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk every summer since and it is just as good as I had it at Vij's.
|The moment my love affair with kale began|
But let me back up a little bit and go back to this "tastes like steak" thing because I think this is where my love for kale really developed. I have become very conscious in the past few years of my meat intake. I will never fully give up meat because I love it too much, but I also recognize the need to be kinder the planet by not consuming so much of it. So I have begun a quest in my own kitchen to create textures and flavors that are equally as satisfying. Many people run right for the mushrooms when attempting to recreate a meaty texture, but I go for the kale. Despite its leafy green categorization, it's extremely hearty and stands up to anything you do to it.
I have become a tad obsessed with finding places to add it in just about anything I cook for dinner. Earlier in the week I added it to mac and cheese, and the night before last I threw in a couple handfuls to my chicken noodle soup (and then made kale chips with the other couple handfuls).
|Using kale in two ways on one night: kale chips and in my chicken noodle soup|
So if you're someone who thinks kale is just that garnish restaurants put on the side of the plate that you can throw away, I challenge you to start thinking of ways to add it to your diet. You'll be surprised at how delicious (and meaty) it is!
Incidentally, I have tried making kale chips many different times and always had problems with some turning out crispy while others were soggy. I found the best way to make kale chips is to cook them low and slow rather than high and fast. So toss them in a little olive oil and salt, put them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven at 250 for 30 minutes and they'll come out perfectly crispy every time.
ETA: For those of you interested in grilling kale, I did a post about it a few summers ago but here is the link again. The recipe comes from the Vij's cookbook.