Saturday, October 30, 2010

Garlic Kale

Today is the second day of the Vegan Month Of Food! I've been at Uni all morning, so here's one I prepared earlier...

Ok, if you share the same aesthetic sense as me, then chances are that you're going to conceed that the above plate isn't attractive. Especially not in the glowing yellow of my kitchen lightbulb, because it's pitch black until about 8am here. And you're completely right, it's not pretty. But it was so damn good that I ate a whole plate of garlic kale for breakfast, instead of using it in my not-so-Irish Colcannon. I used to get infuriated at all the blogs I read for waxing lyrical about the wonders of kale. It's not a wondrous vegetable. But actually, it is pretty damn tasty. So I forgive them for raving about a vegetable that I had no access to, because hey, look what's finally in season! Curly Kale.

Above is how a bunch of kale looks normally. It'll never form a head in the way that cabbage will, but it does conveniently arrange its leaves on the stem so that you can easily pull them off and remove the centre rib. It has tough, fibrous stems and beautful curly leaves, which tend to be quite tough and require longer cooking than most greens. The above bunch went into a ribollita, which I don't have photos of (this was before Vegan Mofo started, so I wasn't photographing everything religiously) but I'm definitely going to make it again soon so that I can share the recipe. It was pretty memorable.

This is how most kale I see at the markets tends to be packaged. See that? It's pre-shredded. It's pretty finely shredded too, which doesn't make for a pretty ribbolita - I like to have ribbons of kale in my soup. However, it's incredibly useful for all of the other dishes that I like to make with kale, so there's no complaints here. I quite enjoy having other people do the hard work for me, even if the hard work is probably just them throwing heads of kale into a wood chipper. ;)

That lovely purple garlic is the best friend of kale. Not only because it's so fresh that the skins haven't dried out, but also because they go together like (vegan) bangers and mash. Sure, they're fine separately, but put them together and you're onto something special. I like to use this mix as the base of other dishes - it can be added to soups, like Winter Greens or Ribollita, or kept refrigerated and used as a side dish. I recommend it as a nice contrast to creamy vegetables like pumpkin and potatoes.

It's also a good way to fight a cold. When you consider that green vegetables are so high in vitamins, and antioxidants, and all those other 'superfoods' that womens' trashy magazines like to rave on about, then you'd probably be easily convinced that they're good for you. However, to hell with all of that: when you just consider that they taste good, and that they're easy to make, then you've got reason enough.

Garlic Kale
1 bag (about 500g?) shredded kale, washed and well-drained
3 giant cloves fresh garlic (or 6 cloves of the conventional kind)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, stirring constantly so that it turns transparent but not brown. Add the kale, stirring to get the garlic evenly distributed.
Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, until kale is bright green, but doesn't retain too much bite. Sample a little every minute until the texture is to your liking.
Season generously with salt and pepper, or if you like a little umami hit, sprinkle with a tiny bit of vegetable stock.


  1. I'm participating in MoFo this year too and I was going through the blog roll for Germany and picked yours to look at first cause the name was cute in English. I was shocked to see you're an Aussie from Adelaide living in Germany. SNAP, me too. A little off the topic of MoFo I know! But have a good Mofo and I look forward to what you post next!

  2. great kale recipe. thanks. we love kale.


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