Sunday, January 29, 2012
Sweet Winter Kale with Garlic & Mushrooms
If, like me, you are lucky enough to live in an area with a winter's farmers market, I hope you are taking advantage of the hardy and delectable winter greens offered there. A little frost may chill our bones, but it sweetens and tenderizes kale, spinach and bok choi like nobody's business.
I gleefully purchased a one pound bag of just-harvested kale at our local winter market this weekend, took it home and, a few hours later, got to work. Well, not really. Steam-frying kale isn't a whole lot of trouble. The idea is to use just a little oil at the start, to get the flavors jumping, and then add cold water to the pot so that most of the cooking is done by steam. (Cooking with water, via steaming or boiling, as in soups and stews, has several advantages. It adds fewer fat calories to the final dish, preserves vitamins and minerals, and creates less damage to macronutrient components—i.e. sugars, fatty acids and proteins—than frying or baking/dry heat methods.) I prefer coconut oil, a healthful, tasty and heat-stable cooking oil, but olive will do just as well.
This Kale with Garlic and Mushrooms dish takes only minutes to prepare, and boy is it delicious. Yes, I ate the whole bowl. Followed by a decadent dessert of freshly-popped organic popcorn topped with flaxseed oil, nutritional yeast and Old Bay seasoning. Enjoyed both while laughing my head off to the final episodes of Flight of the Conchords, Season One. Dinner and a movie: an unbeatable duo. In the comfort of your own home? Twice as nice.
Sweet Winter Kale with Garlic and Mushrooms
6 stalks kale, washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced thick
1/4 chili pepper, minced or crumbled (optional)
1 teaspoon oil, olive or coconut
tamari or nama shoyu to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
a splash of cold water
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, over medium-high heat. Add garlic and quickly stir for about 30 seconds, to avoid burning. Add kale and stir for one minute, while the oil coats all the leaves. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with tamari and add the chili pepper, if using. Stir again to combine well, and then add a generous splash of cold water, enough to get some steam happening. Cover the pot to keep the steam in, and reduce heat to low. Steam for two minutes, then stir. Cover pot again and allow kale to continue steaming until it turns bright green and begins to wilt, about three minutes, a little longer if necessary. Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy.