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What's this kale love?

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  • nemo Jan 26, 2014 01:41 PM
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We love almost all vegetables, but we don't get this (for us) recent raw kale love. We get that it's a nutrient-rich green, but raw is just too chewy, even chiffonade'd. Even stewed or steamed, it's a challenge, and the stems are forever a serious chew even after a long saute/steam treatment.

Tried the baked chips but feel that the nutrients must be lost in the process, so why bother.

We hate smoothies, so don't go there, please.

Can we just make Kale broth and get the nutrients to add to soup?

Any thoughts appreciated.

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  1. For te chips, wouldn't just the water be gone in the process?

    1. I like sauteed, like any other green-- olive oil, garlic, dried red pepper flakes. I find that I don't have to be so careful about overcooking with kale, like I do with spinach or chard.

      I also separate out the stems from the leaves, and either don't cook them, or do the stems first, and add leaves later, to give the stems a head start on cooking.

      I hope you find something that works for you!

      1. All hail the mighty kale! (to ME anyway...love it, raw or cooked!)....hey, just use a different dark leafy green like spinach, you know? the Kale police will not come and arrest you! (lol!) and YES, it is still nutrient-dense in a soup or stew (I add mine towards the end of the cooking process)...because the nutrients go right into the liquid you're cooking with. yay! And for anyone who ADORES it, here's a nytimes article to celebrate: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/us/... Kale YEAH!

        1. Try lacinto or dinosaur kale. It's tenderer than the regular variety. I usually destem and Blanch. Then sautéed with garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes. Delicious.

          Also no need to eat the stem, most nutrients are in the leaf portion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MVNYC

            Though the JUICES are mostly in that stem I've found...I buy the darker dino kale all the time and the stem is bursting with juice...so maybe a juicer would be a good way to go with the stems but I love them!

          2. I can't stand it either and amazingly am still in good health.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Samalicious

              same here.

              and being served raw kale is pure hell.

              more for the rest of you!

              1. re: Samalicious

                Same here too. Can't stand it at all.

                1. re: Samalicious

                  Love it cooked but not raw, and I mean cooked for a while. Can't do all the chewy sautéed greens. If it had the consistency of spinach that would be something different.

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    try baby kale -- very spinach-ish texture.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Baby kale is delicious. Wish it was easier to get. Came two weeks in our CSA but that is the only time I have ever seen it.

                      1. re: melpy

                        Its incredibly easy to grow, if you have any amount of room (even a large pot or window box if you're going to pick it young,) I would encourage you to find out what time of year you can grow it in your area.

                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                          I have a BLACK thumb. We own no house plants and I have managed to kill just about everything we grow outside..

                      2. re: sunshine842

                        I have not seen it in my local supermarkets BUT I do grow a garden every year and I have grown kale. Perhaps when I plant this spring, I'll pick some while still small and try it. Thanks for the idea!

                  2. I don't get the hype over kale but that's not to say I don't like it. I love it just as I love broccoli, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, and a long list of other vegetables. I'm not sure why it's particularly popular over other veggies. My new favorite use is for soup. You can make a really quick soup and mix and match ingredients with kale added at the end and simmered to soften it. It's super filling and very tasty.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      I live in the South; we've been eating winter greens for years, long before this new infatuation with kale came along. I grow all kinds of winter greens every year.

                      1. re: Cherylptw

                        Exactly! I ran to the store just for kale yesterday, but I'll run to the store for any vegetable I really like if I'm out of it and want it. I'll likely buy a bunch of collards this week too. Hmm maybe collards are next on the popularity train or maybe too out there for the general public.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I made collards last week...if collards "become" the next new fad, it'll be lost here in the South because it won't be a big deal. Which, by the way, leads me to ask you if you've ever made collard rolls? Pretty much like a cabbage roll. I love these stuffed with assorted vegetables or other mixed greens.

                          1. re: Cherylptw

                            Oh no great idea! I've never made cabbage rolls either. I'm buying collards tonight maybe I'll try that. Do you have a recipe or approach to share?

                        2. re: Cherylptw

                          Exactly. I'm perfectly happy to see people eating their greens, but a lot of us were doing it well before the "fad." I think some folks discover new to them vegetables by joining a CSA or shopping at the farmers market. Then a little movement starts. Then we have a fad. Seems like this happened with beets a while back.

                          I do like my kale both cooked and raw. Chard, collards, mustard greens, those must be cooked for me.

                          1. re: debbiel

                            The "uninitiated" that create these so-called 'fads' also sometimes cause prices to surge. Supply and demand.

                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                              Yes collards and kale should be dirt cheap like potatoes and yet....

                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                I feel like the prices of the less popular vegetables are WAY higher than the popular ones.

                                1. re: melpy

                                  Supply and demand but kale now violates that principle.

                                2. re: Cheese Boy

                                  Quite true. I remember when kale was just another of the winter greens I'd buy in bulk for cents on the pound. Now kale comes tied in twee little bouquets selling for maybe five times the price.

                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    Really? An entire bunch of fresh curly kale (conventional not organic) is $1.24 at Walmart--never weighed it to see how much that is but am guessing around 1 pound, just saying. Not very expensive at all.

                                    1. re: Val

                                      My local market was selling 4 kale leaves tied together for $1.99 the other week.

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        Kale prices and the amount you get is all over the place in my town of 60K [a college town in Iowa], but is generally $1-2 a bunch.

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          Yes, it's upwards of $1.49 a pound practically everywhere now. (used to be dirt cheap 'round here).
                                          This increase is because people have to make their chips, of course.

                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                            CLOSE to $1 a pound is not that bad for something so nutrient dense...just MY opinion! :-)

                                            1. re: Val

                                              I don't have any issue with that. The only comment I need to make is that kale was 3 pounds for 99c only six or so years ago. That was a sale price ... Regular price was 79c/lb.
                                              PLUS it included collard, and mustard greens as well.

                                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                thanks, I get you Cheese Boy...my way of thinking is that anything that costs around $1 (especially veggies/fruits/healthy foods etc) is a great deal THESE days!

                                  2. re: debbiel

                                    I so agree with you...

                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      I like my greens cooked too, although I love kale in salad as well. I love mustards sautéed and served over black eyed pea cakes with tomato gravy.

                                3. I remove the stems, massage the leaves, chop in a food processor or blender with fresh cilantro and add it to my liquid for cooking brown rice. No chewing in this preparation.

                                  1. I like baby kale, and I do prefer kale to other greens in soup, but I'm right there with you! I'd take spinach and Swiss chard over kale any day.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: caseyjo

                                      had a warm baby kale salad the other night. It rocked.

                                      If the nutrients aren't gone when you saute, stew, or otherwise prepare it, they're not going anywhere if you make chips, either.

                                    2. I didn't eat much kale back in the UK but it's seemingly everywhere in the States! I love it though. I especially like it made into a pesto.

                                      Have you tried massaging the kale before eating it raw? It really changes the texture and makes it much more edible.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: helen_m

                                        that's what i do - finally chopped, massage it with lemon juice and olive oil. mixed with a grain, other veggies, delish.

                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                          One of my favorite salads:

                                          Chopped kale massaged with lime juice, tossed with avocado, pecans, a bit of onion, and a lime-coconut milk dressing.

                                      2. If you don't like it raw, cook it. If you still don't like it try chard, it's very nutritious as well.

                                        1. hey nemo, don't beat yourself up! There's no kale police. I've loved kale for ages (long before it became hip) but to each their own. That being said, I'm curious to know if you've tried any version of kale, white bean and sausage soup/stew? Because all the kale-haters that I've met go bonkers for it. I don't really use a recipe, because I'm a rebel. But here's a very good example of the kind of kale-white bean-sausage stew that I'm talking about: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ka...

                                          I don't eat meat, so I substitute soy for the sausage in real recipes, but even so, this type of prep has gotten many rave reviews.

                                          Good luck to you and here's hoping that you find a kale prep that makes you happy! :-0 Best regards, MrsP

                                          1. Nemo, I'm hearing your post as a plea for somebody to show you what all the excitement is about. IMHO it's about warm kale salads, where something in the prep has given the kale a very slight tenderizing. You want to make it wild ever so slightly. Here are some ways of achieving this http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrn... Or look for kale salad recipes using winter squash like this one http://jellytoastblog.com/2013/09/war...

                                            1. I wish the media would stop it with these goofy food crazes. They're already starting the hype machine up over cauliflower now, and we haven't even gotten away from the kale sensationalism.

                                              It's like bloggers and news web sites are just writing stuff about kale incessantly for the sake of SEO more than anything.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Atomic76

                                                Well, Atomic76...kale *Is* a powerhouse of nutrients for dark leafy greens...but other dark leafy greens are outstanding too, just saying!

                                                1. re: Atomic76

                                                  I have always loved cauliflower, which my mom used to steam and cover with cheese sauce, but I remember the lovely taste of it. I think it's been vilified and used as a substitute for mashed potatoes and not admired for the lovely vegetable it is. I have one in my fridge now, that I don't know if I've ever cooked for the fam. They will love it or I will punish them. ;-)

                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                    we dig roasted cauliflower - cut into 1/2" thick slices, laid out on parchment, brushed or sprayed with olive oil, and dusted with S&P.

                                                    Delicious. (but then, I like most veggies roasted)

                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                      hi EWSflash, regarding preparing cauliflower for your family - consider giving them Ina Garten's cauliflower gratin: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                                      I've made a lot of these kinds of recipes, and it pains me to say it since I dislike the foodnetwork, but this recipe is definitely worth the gazillion 5-star ratings by reviewers.

                                                  2. Not to worry -- a year or two from now the same group of dietary obsessives will have found something new to annoy people with.

                                                    27 Replies
                                                    1. re: rjbh20

                                                      The next thing you know - they'll be touting the glory of quinoa!!! I mean, really, it only has 3 or 4 thousand years of history as an important foodstuff. But why let facts get in the way? It's newly touted in the media, so it must be a fad!!! (I wonder if Justin Bieber eats quinoa)

                                                      And call me Carnac the Magnificent, but I'll bet you $100 that soon the media will be all excited about tofu!!! Imagine? It's only been around for 2k years +/-

                                                      1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                        nah, tofu is so 1995....

                                                        1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                          Spring 2014 will be all about eating your yard's dandelion leaves [greens].

                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                            Publix (southeastern US grocery chain) already has dandelion greens by the bunch.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              And I will have them by the ton once this Arctic Vortex decides to go away for good [or late-March/early-April] ....

                                                              P.S. I have a place in Destin, Florida and I really like Publix

                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                in Europe, you can actually buy seeds to grown dandelions...on purpose (I never quite wrapped my head around that one, when I had an entire yard full of them -- yes, in Europe)

                                                                Fun fact: the French call dandelions "pissenlit" -- which, yes, roughly translates to "wet the bed"

                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                Just saw them in my local organic food co-op........
                                                                Dandelion greens.
                                                                When I lived on Eastern Long Island,NY,used to see old women,usually dressed in black,picking dandelion greens along the roadside.This was over 20years ago.

                                                                1. re: grangie angie

                                                                  That was probably my grandmother and her friend. LOL They used to forage for dandelions to make wine, I hated picking them. My hands would be stained yellow for days. But back to Kale,IMHO I don't think kale was meant to be eaten raw, too dense and chewy, however if you drop that kale into boling water that has been flavored with a smoked meat, turkey or ham, and let if cook for HOURS You get southern style "cooked greens" very good! so what if you've "boiled all the nutrients out", drink the broth or pot-likker as it is called. The kale itself is very tender and flavorful. Add some hot sauce and some sweet pickle juice. Lov it.

                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                  i come from, and live in, areas that have long had italian immigrants, dandelion greens are always in the store. same with escarole and broccoli rabe.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    What I would not do for some escarole! Maybe I can source a seed or two online.

                                                                3. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                  Dandelions are passe. If you want yard weeds to eat, the next fashion weed will be purslane. Grows all over my yard. Can't get rid of it. Then I go to Union Square market and they've got bunches of it for sale.

                                                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                                                    Purslane is delicious, and you're way behind the curve ;-)

                                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                                      I love dandelion both cooked and as tea.

                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        fld: Dandelion also makes an interesting wine ....

                                                                        1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                          Hmm, I'll have to look into that one.

                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                            There are directions online how to make it.

                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                              You need to gather the flowers for it, not the leaves. Way to use the whole plant.

                                                                        2. re: Bkeats

                                                                          Purslane grows in parts of my yard too ... Been there, ate that!

                                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                                            over 10 years ago i used to bring armloads of it from my yard and give it to the chef i was working for at the time. lol.

                                                                          2. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                            hey Hawkeyui93 and sunshine842, et al, it's been reported that the next big thing (in respect to grains, anyway) will be "teff" . . . um, and some other stuff that sounds oddly like millet, which I personally have been enjoying for eons. LOL

                                                                            Gotta love marketing!

                                                                            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01...

                                                                          3. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                            where do you live? quinoa already came and went as far as i know. pre-kale, post brussel sprouts..

                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                              Trends hit Iowa late, but Quinoa was the darling of the ball here circa 2008 ....

                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                This is my point - ridiculousness! Quinoa did not come or go in this century. It will not come or go in the next century (unless Monsanto gets involved).

                                                                                Wonderful foodstuffs such as kale, quinoa, brussels sprouts, dandelion greens, tofu, huitlacoche (corn smut), dried beans, etc., etc. --- these are not fads! They've been eaten and appreciated for thousands of years.

                                                                                If it takes a few articles in the NYT or a popular food blog to bring them to the attention of Generation X, Y or Z . . . I'm fine with that. Because 20 years ago, it was hard for me to find kale unless I grew it myself. Now, I can practically find it at my local 7-11!!

                                                                                1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                  Gotcha!

                                                                                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                    i was being facetious. :)

                                                                              2. re: rjbh20

                                                                                My money is on radishes. Which is good; sautéed radishes is my kiddo's favorite vegetable. I need costco to start carrying the jumbo pack.

                                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                                  My mother grew several varieties of radishes in her organic garden [back in the day] ....

                                                                              3. Although Mrs. O adores beets she can't abide chard, and was only somewhat tolerant of kale until the lascinato, also called cavolo nero or Tuscan kale, became easy to come by. About this time a friend sent a recipe for kale, beans, and polenta w/cheese, which he said could be presented any way one wishes but it's always good, and he was right. There's nothing to it other than cooking each item however you wish and eating them all at once; I braise the kale covered on the stovetop, cook the beans in the oven Tuscan-style, and make the polenta either simply in a pan on a flame-tamer (lots of stirring) or in my ceramic-pot double boiler (more complicated, much less stirring) and add Fontina cheese to it at the end. I've had'em stacked in every order and side by side, but so help me these things were meant for each other!

                                                                                No, I do not like it raw, have no interest in either chips or smoothies, and frankly wish we'd all talk about something else for a while, but since being All The Rage is probably responsible for making cavolo nero available year around for not much money, I'm okay with it.

                                                                                Now to the OP's question: I tolerate the stemmy stuff from Trader Joe's (it's just chopped crosswise) because de-stemming is a PITA, but I'll do it for really good Farmer's Market stuff. My method is to pick up each leaf by the big end of the stem, holding it dangling in front of me, then cut down against the stem with my very well-sharpened 4" carbon-steel sabatier knife. You can use scissors if you want, you can cut on a cutting-board, but however you do it you'll end up with a mess of stems and a pile of leaves. Stems can be composted, used for stock additives or thrown out; leaves can be left in large pieces or cut in chiffonade by rolling up and slicing stacks of 6 or 8 at a time. I heat some oil in a 5-qt lidded sauté pot and toss in wet leaves, turn to coat and cook down a little, and then cover and turn down the heat. Cooks tender in ten to fifteen minutes – give it a good shake or stir every so often.

                                                                                1. Try it in ice cream.

                                                                                  1. I didn't either, until I grew my own. It's amazing how much sweeter and nicer kale is when you grow it yourself, I would eat it raw and wouldn't bother to cook it. I just planted some in my garden. It's one of those things that are so good when you grow them yourself. If you can't, then don't eat it. When I was a kid I used to sneak the nasty decorative kale off the salad bars, that's how much I like kale.

                                                                                    1. I use it in pesto. Half basil, half kale, and blend with olive oils and garlic and lemon. I can tell in the freezer which ones are kale inclusive because they are GREEN! It's like stealth nutrition. . .

                                                                                      For cooked applications, I prefer swiss chard. If the CSA sends kale, I always cut the center stem out. Basically fold the leaf in half and cut out the center stem. Time consuming, but it does help. Otherwise, if you are making a big batch of soup, I find kale's "sturdiness" helps it survive the freeze/reheat cycle the best

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: autumm

                                                                                        An easier step: Pull your hand up from the bottom of the stem and the two leafy sides will come off as you slide your hand to the top.

                                                                                        1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                          Ann Esselstyn has a short youtube video on being a stripper...a kale stripper that is. hee!

                                                                                      2. The only way raw kale is delicious is when it is a massaged kale salad. Using dinosaur/tuscan kale, thinly sliced, and then the salad dressing/oil/etc you have to mash into the kale and squish and rub together until its almost half the original volume. Then let it sit overnight in the fridge.

                                                                                        I had a few kale hating anti vegetable friends who i made this for- be sure to make the day before and massage in the dressing!- and they nearly licked the plate.
                                                                                        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale...

                                                                                        1. I like to use Tuscan Kale from the Farmer's Market when I can find it.
                                                                                          Try making Caldo Verde or Kale Pesto ... it just might change your mind.

                                                                                          Vid --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c6MHC...

                                                                                          1. Me I'm with you. I hate kale chips, I like my kale de-stemmed and sauteed with vinegar and garlic in sausage grease. Yum, yum!

                                                                                            1. Thanks, everyone.

                                                                                              I didn't know about the massaging technique. Will have to try that before giving up entirely. Also will look for dinosaur and Tuscan kale varieties.

                                                                                              We love chard and spinach and other leafy greens, but kale is just a challenge for us. Will give it another go based on your helpful responses.

                                                                                              Thank you all.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: nemo

                                                                                                Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, black Tuscan palm, and Lacinato kale are all names for the same species of plant.

                                                                                                (a very delicious one, by the way)

                                                                                              2. Oh, please. Brussels sprouts or kale, I just do not want either vegetable alongside my main course (meat, chicken, fish). East coast, west coast, I do not want brussels sprouts or kale!!!!

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: California Sunshine

                                                                                                  Please with the massaging of kale; the way I eat it, there's no need to massage it before cooking it in liquid...

                                                                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                    I think the massaging is for eating it raw ... and it most certainly helps IMHO.

                                                                                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                      Yes, the massaging helps break down the raw kale, and so does any acid you add to it such as lemon juice or lime juice! Really makes a lovely salad, especially with some mashed up avocado!

                                                                                                2. Whole foods sells a kale salad on the salad bar with a lemon tahini dressing that I've seen people that hate most veggies love. They also sell the dressing in the refrigerated section near the herbs. I imagine it's a massaged salad, so I also recommend a massaged approach.

                                                                                                  1. I'll take Swiss card over kale any day. Kale is way too chewy and sinewy for my taste. It's probably a good weight reduction food, though, as chewing likely burns more calories than the stuff provides.
                                                                                                    CP

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                      My opinion is that if you can eat Swiss Chard, then you can eat anything ....

                                                                                                      1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                        Maybe my olfactory receptors are overly sensitive but to me raw kale emits a chlorine type odor that I find repugnant. I do cook with it but I do all prep very fast. I agree about the chard....love it and beet greens too.

                                                                                                      2. Here's a pretty good looking salad posted today on TheKitcnn. http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-kale-...

                                                                                                        1. I've loved kale since I was a kid and pretended to be a dinosaur eating leaves (broccoli was mini trees). Never had it anyway except simmered with chicken broth. Tend to eat kale or collards once a week.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                            Yes, that's a neat little trick I use for baby bok choy ...
                                                                                                            I simmer it in chicken broth. You can do the same with kale.

                                                                                                            Here' a great video utilizing kale. I hope people watching appreciate the chef
                                                                                                            as much as I do ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...

                                                                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                              she's lucky she's gorgeous. "emulsified"?

                                                                                                              that's a lot of eggs, but it does sound tasty.

                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                'Emulsified' ... LOL. Perhaps.

                                                                                                          2. Eat your kale.

                                                                                                            1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vurGnX...

                                                                                                              My first intro to kale. Start watching at 3:45 ends at 5:43.

                                                                                                              Didn't try it until I was in my 20s because of this.

                                                                                                              I love when he say's it's thrilling and eats it with his hands.

                                                                                                              1. We use it in salad and find it to be hearty and delicious. Creamed kale is quite the delight too.