Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hate Kale? Try This Recipe.

Kale Salad Top View
This is a mixture of red and green kale topped with grilled onions and shredded carrots.

My family (and my in-laws) have really cute eating habits. My mom always has a BAG of breaded chicken in her fridge and pretty much everyone in my house has "chicken fingers" for lunch or a snack. We're a family a grazers really, and the only meal we sometimes would eat together was dinner. I never realized how totally bizarre our chicken-fetish was until Andrew stayed at my mom's house in California for a week and was completely baffled by it. But I also find his family to be really different. I've never seen an adult woman love grilled cheeses as much as my mother-in-law. Andrew's dad has a hilarious habit of asking for butter instead of olive oil for his bread at Italian restaurants. And I've never seen a family love steak houses more!

It's funny to think about our old eating habits and to see how different we've become, and how not-so-different. I still have bags of breaded chicken in my fridge - it's just gardein chick'n now. And Andrew stills loves binging on wings and ranch - except they're seitain wings with a dairy-free ranch now. But we've changed, too. I'd say our biggest change is the amount of vegetables we eat - and not just any vegetables, the vegetables that everyone hates - brussels sprouts, spinach, kale. The dark, leafy greens that were never cooked right as a child. We all grew up with mushy frozen spinach or bland, smelly brussels sprouts. It's no wonder we all hate them!

The first time I tried to cook kale, I hated it. I didn't remove the stems or rinse it very thoroughly and I wound up with a gritty, chewy mouthful. It wasn't pleasant. Since then I've done my research, and can honestly say this recipe is one of my favorite foods of all time (yep! favorite foods!). In our house we call it "Mayonnaise Kale" for the sheer amount of vegenaise I put in it (don't judge), but it's really more than that. If you hate kale or haven't quite figured kale out yet, this may be the ticket.

Warm Kale Salad with a Light Chipotle Dressing
Serves 2-4 people, pending appetite assessment  

3 packed cups of kale, stems removed and thoroughly rinsed
3 tbsp vegenaise
about 1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced into half-moons 
1 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper 

* With a colander in the sink, rip off small pieces of the leafy greens from the stems of 1 bunch of kale, rinsing thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.
* Heat olive oil with a little salt on medium / low heat and begin to cook your onions. This will take about 10 minutes to get them golden and delicious.
* While the onions are cooking: mix together your sauce - whisk vegenaise, water, and spices in a large salad bowl until smooth. Set aside.
* Check your onions, remove from heat when done.
* Next, heat a deep frying pan or a pot with a little salt. Add your kale. It will look like it doesn't all fit, but your kale will reduce by about 33%. Using tongs, rotate the bottom kale to the top, constantly rotating to allow for even cooking. This will take about 7 minutes. Pieces will fly out and it will be annoying at first, but give it time. Your kale is done when it is wilted but still tender and bright green.
* When done, remove from heat, toss kale in your salad bowl with the dressing to coat. Serve topped with grilled onions. I've also added toasted pine nuts in the past, shredded carrots, or julienned raw red bell pepper. 

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