I'm growing kale for the first time this year and it is doing well...in fact fantastic. Now what do I do with it? How do you cook it? Someone told me about kale chips. Anyone tried these? Any favorite recipes?
Heck yeah we grow kale. I love it. Here is my favorite way of preparing it.
Take the leaves off the stem and give a rough chop. Then chop a clove or two garlic (really to taste). Saute garlic in olive oil until it is fragrant. Throw in the kale and about 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock. Cook the kale until tender and most of the broth has cooked off (a few minutes). Then add salt, pepper, smoked paprika and white wine vinegar to taste!
You should also check out the harvest forum. That is the forum where they discuss what you do with your veggies once you grow them :).
Here is a link that might be useful: Adventures in Agriburbia
I grew it last year and like you couldn't figure out what to do with it. The young leaves are pretty good in salads. The bigger leaves I cooked like you would spinach. Thats about all I have for you sorry.
I grow it in the fall, it bolts too easy in the spring here. I just pick the tender leaves and boil them with a little pork, ham, bacon, or whatever I have handy.
I love it!
I am still experimenting with growing kale. I grew some in the fall and it was fairly bland. After some overwintered, it was more flavorfull but I wasn't really taking care of it at that point.
I do have a great recipe with kale. It is mock Toscana Soup that is served at the Olive Garden Resturant.
Add a peeled, small cubed potato and a couple of cooked italian or other sausage sliced into disks into a few cups of chicken broth. Add a few leaves of chopped kale, a pinch of red pepper and salt and simmer for an hour. Add 1/4 cup of half and half, stir and serve.
That Toscana soup sounds like they stole the idea of Caldo Verde from the Portugese. Though given the spread of the Roman Empire, I'll concede that it could be the other way around :) It's the same soup, minus the cream and subbing chorizo for the italian sausage and smoked paprika instead of red pepper flakes. Yum! I also like kale in pasta with tomato sauce in addition to the methods mentioned above. Oh and as part of a veggie quiche.
I've grown red Russian kale, and Italian kale. The soup is very good, and kale chips are easy. Chop kale, toss in olive or canola oil, sprinkle with seasoning, and bake for about 10 minutes. Check frequently, because they can burn easily because they are so thin.
The link below is for a cooked kale recipe.
Here is a link that might be useful: kale
I'm in WI and Kale is definatly a plant in Spring harvest in Fall type thing for us. It's much tastier after it has been frosted. To chop and sautee like Coralb does is my favorite way to use, but I chop and add to soups in the Fall, Chicken Vegetable, and Hot and Sour soup is really delish with a couple handfulls of chopped Kale. Blanch quickly and it freezes well also. I've dried it, but don't care for the texture.
I frequently grab kale and chop it small to add to many, many dishes, like a pot of beans, scrambled eggs, casseroles, etc. This way I am frequently getting green leafies into the kids.
Kale chips are good. We use the young leaves in smoothies too, my favorite with kale is bannana, blueberry, kale and a touch of maple syrup. A kale tart is good. You can stuff kale leaves (cooked like cabbage rolls, or not like a lettuce wrap or whatever you can imagine). One of my favorite ways is to add chopped kale to garlic mashed potatoes, kind of like potatoes colcannon. Kale is generally added to pizza in our house too, with some caramelized onions. Along the same note, kale, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and kalamatas make a mighty fine pizza sauce. Rubbed kale salad is good too. Here is a link to one that I love but often tinker with. I think one of my favorite things about kale salads is you can make them ahead and they do not get slimy.
Here is a link that might be useful: Raw Tuscan Kale Salad
Caldo Verde is a classic, and there are as many recipes for it as there are Portuguese cooks. I am sure you could find a good recipe on the web.
I also cook it in oil with garlic and onion, add white beans (cooked or canned) and diced tomatoes, and top with Italian cheese (not an original recipe, by the way - I think I found that one on the web, too).
My favorite is probably also cooked in with beans, but it goes with anything. Sometimes just blanched and some olive oil and salt along with rice is nice and simple.
I tried red kale, it was good, but I did not need another green,even a red one. I have not grown it for 3 years, but the wife wants it for her smoothies, so this Fall I will put in at least two kinds for her.
I love kale salad. I just chop it, generously drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil and rub, massage, squeeze and scrunch :) the heck out of the chopped leaves. That makes it very tender and rubs the olive oil into the leaves, which makes it develop its flavor even more. Then I just add minced garlic, salt, a little bit of rice vinegar and hot pepper flakes. YUM!
Chopped finely a bit of kale goes into nearly every entree with barely noticeable taste or texture. Super easy to hide them in saucy things like spaghetti, lasagna, sweet & sour chicken, etc.
In stir fry we could thick stems with carrots and broccoli stems 1st before the leafy vegetables that cook quickly.
My kids were tricked at 1st, but then realized the kale was disappearing from the garden, so had to have been eating it. Now they're adults they eat it readily, but it took some fooling.
In the fall when frost hits it becomes much sweeter & our favorite for any soup or stew dish -- again finely chopped and mixed into something, but not the main thing it self.
I've harvested 2 ways --
clip leaf stems off main stem all the way up leaving a few leaves at the top
cut off the stalk leaving about 6"
Resprouts either way. Depending on what look I want in the garden. Kids think the kale trees are kind of cool, but they start to lean in the 2nd year when sprouting in the spring. It's great to have something to eat fresh all winter long since it's keeps in the garden for us in our climate.
You can eat the stems, don't trash them!
I like to use the leaves raw in smoothies and the stems I juice.