Ying Yang Kale

Sitting at my newly acquired desk, positioned alongside the window, overlooking the grounds outside the apartment building. I half expect to find a deer stoically grazing on fallen branches and shrubbery, as I have on occasion witnessed, but so far I continue to be relegated to our modern era, the roar of passing cars harnessing me to the present.  But I am in awe of the pastoral elements that encircle my life, and I feel quite ridiculously empowered to be sitting at a marvelous writing desk built for the sole purpose of siphoning and nurturing my words.

I’ve only just completed a novel, the second in a series, which I am sure I will discuss with you at some later moment.  But as part of it dove into the reverie of a French backdrop in the late 1700’s (that would be during the time of the French Revolution for non-history-minded folk), I am suffocated by a deep longing to cook and bake using obscene amounts of butter and cream.  I have to remind myself that I do not have the constitution to handle such an onslaught upon my health, but I’m unduly sore from a workout yesterday, so I presume that if I keep that up, I can dine as I wish. As long as I keep the husband just as active, I think we can venture into decadent splendor once or twice more often.  But we are not there yet, and instead I will share my other new fixation, on the completely other side of the spectrum. A healthy snack that takes such minimal amount of work, it’s almost scandalous.  I refer of course to bakes Kale.  No no, don’t scoff, it’s quite crunchy and delicious.

I won’t stop there though—nay, you get the pleasure of experiencing kale in two inspiring forms, so that you may decide for yourself which texture which bite, which swirl of flavors appeal to your sensibilities most.  Baked or Sauteed?  Not unlike the deliberation between Goobers and Raisinettes—“Ain’t that the eternal question?” (15 points to the first to identify that quote, barring my sister.  She’s as big a nerd as I and will likely squeal with nostalgic delight at reading that.)

Lest I digress further, let’s get on with it.

Baked Kale Ingredients

  • A bunch of kale leaves, rinsed and THOROUGHLY DRIED (in a salad spinner if you have one, else just make sure little to no water remain
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sugar (I use raw sugar, you can use regular though)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Once your kale is super super dry (too much residual water will create a steaming effect and wilt the leaves in the oven. Ugh), pull the leave off the stalk or rib running up the center.  Arrange your leaves on a baking sheet so that none are stacked on top of each other, though they can be tightly packed side by side, and drizzle the olive oil lightly over the tray.  Then, I like to individually rub the oil into every leaf, making sure it is delicately coated with oil.  You need not do this though; just lightly toss the leaves in a little oil.  After this, simply sprinkle the spices generously atop the leaves, sprinkling the sugar at the end to add a special crunch and contrast to the saltiness.

Place the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes, checking on them at 15 minutes to track their progress. Be careful though, as I have had the unfortunate experience of forgetting about it and retrieving them at around 24 minutes only to find a sadly burned sheet of brown revulsion.  Don’t let them turn bown, they should keep their pretty green complexion.

And now, moving on…

Sauteed Kale ingredients

  • Kale, Rinsed though not nearly as dried
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper

Put your seatbelts on, because this goes by fast.  In a deep pan or pot, soften the garlic in a few tbsp of olive oil, medium heat.  Add the kale, toss it around in the oil a wee bit, and then pour in about 1/3 cup of water.  Bring it to a boil and the simmer it, letting the kale wilt and soften but keep its green fresh color.  Once pretty much all the liquid has cooked out, add salt and peppers to taste, and then add the balsamic vinegar as well, mixing it well into the sautéed greens.

You can try other vinegars as well if you dare to.

As per results, I really liked the sautéed kale, but G prefers the baked.  Both are super straightforward and simple to create and master, so be gone and venture forth my friends into the horizons of undiscovered tastes!

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