You're Kale-ing Me, Here!

Maybe you already know about Bountiful Baskets. They are a co-op program which allows me and my neighbors to pool our money in order to get (mostly) locally grown, seasonal, FRESH produce at a great co-op price.  I love the program and I LOVE the produce we get. You never know what the produce will be, although if you know what is in season you can make a pretty good guess.

This last time, there was a generous amount of curly kale in the vegetable basket. I heard quite a few people either asking what in the world do you do with kale, or even trying to trade it away.

Please don't do that. Run right out and get you some kale today. It's wonderful stuff. Like all cruciferous vegetables, it is very good for you. Kale is a great source of vitamins A, C and K and a lot of other good things. It's also one of our most ancient vegetables.

But what do you do with it? Here are two easy ideas. The first one is a comfort food, straight out of my childhood.

Stamppot (loosely translates as "mish mash" or something like that):

6 large potatoes, well-scrubbed and cut into bite-size cubes.
1 large smoked sausage (kielbasa, for example), or 1 large ham steak, or 6 strips of bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bunch of kale, well-washed, tough stem removed and leaves ripped or chopped into (wait for know it.....) bite-sized pieces.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded cheese: sharp cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, muenster...whatever you like.

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, cover the potatoes with cold water, add a bit of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until golden and yummy. Add the meat and saute until the bacon is cooked or until the sausage or ham has browned edges. Add the kale and saute until the kale is well wilted. (If your skillet is too shallow, you can add part of the kale and keep adding more as it cooks down.)

When potatoes are cooked, drain them reserving a 1/4 cup or so of the potato water. Mash them partially with a big spoon or a potato masher adding a little water to make it easier. Leave them quite chunky. Add the potatoes to the skillet

Give the whole thing a righteous stir, add the cheese and continue cooking until the bottom of this mess has some brown crispy stuff going on. Stir it well again and cook until the NEW bottom layer is also flecked with brown. 

Drink this with a good beer and you'll feel so very Dutch. 

Kale Chips:
1 large bunch of kale, well washed and cut or torn into bite-sized pieces.
1 clove of garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt or sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the olive oil and mashed garlic very well (a stick blender works great for this). Either put kale in a large bag and shake it with the oil mixture, or place the kale in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil mixture evenly over it. 

Sprinkle the kale with coarse salt and bake just until it crisps. Small pieces take about 10 minutes or so.

Bite-sized pieces are strongly encouraged: if you have to bite into the chip, you will wind up with pieces of kale stuck in your teeth...making you look like a hockey player or a bigger redneck than you want to appear.

These were also good with a little Montreal steak seasoning sprinkled on them. Next, I might try them with a smidgen of soul food seasoning.

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