I may have gone a little over the top at the grocery store a couple weeks ago– organic kale was on sale for $0.99 a bunch, so I did the totally logical thing and bought four bunches. That’s a lot of kale.
I mean, that’s like an entire shelf in my fridge.
I’ve been really stressed out lately. Turns out being a late twenty-something with no credit to speak of makes buying a house a little more fraught. Luckily, I think I’ve managed to overcome the hurdles presented to me and I’m still on the path to home ownership!
So, to deal with the stress, I — of course — did the logical thing and adopted a dog.
Yeah, I’m not really known for my logical decisions.
Her name is Opal. She’s a German Shepherd/Bull Terrier mix and she’s eight months old. She’s currently curled up next to me on the couch and I love her a lot. We go on lots of walks together — my step count has really increased in the month that I’ve had her.
But back to the kale — I did a lot with kale recently because I had to get creative. I made kale chips and gobbled down approximately half of them right after they came out of the oven.
I’ve made spinach chips before and I wasn’t super impressed, so I hesitated on making kale chips.
Turns out the best recipe for kale chips is a ton of kale, one teaspoon of olive oil, kosher salt, and garlic powder. One teaspoon of olive oil really doesn’t seem like enough when you think about it, but once you get the oil onto the pieces of kale and start to massage it in, you find that it really, really is enough. Like, really.
I baked my kale chips low on 300°F for ten minutes, then rotated the pan and baked them for an additional five minutes.
The trick is to let them cool for a few minutes after they come out of the oven. When you let them cool, they continue to crisp up — but I totally understand if you can’t wait to let them cool down. They’re startlingly addictive.
Be careful about the amount of salt you put on your raw kale chips too! They’ll suck up the salt as they bake and it’s very easy to find yourself with super salty kale chips. Next time around, I’m going to half the amount of salt I put on them.
The salt level really didn’t stop me from eating the kale chips, though.
I also made black-eyed peas & sauteed kale. I used a few shortcuts — namely, I had a bag of frozen black-eyed peas that I used to cut the cooking time in half. It was totally the right move, because I had the whole meal done in about forty minutes, as opposed to the overnight soak that would have preceded the use of dry beans.
Not that dry beans should be a barrier when making this dish!
It would have been worth the wait, of course, but there’s just something about nearly instant gratification that really does it for me.
I keep a lot of forms of beans on hand — dry, frozen, canned. I dig convenience, but also being able to do things the long way when the situation calls for it. Part of cooking is the journey you take to get to the meal you make, and when I have free time I like to take that route.
But I also know myself really well, and I know that sometimes if the route is too winding, I may not make it to the healthy conclusion.
After all, Sun Tzu says, “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
That’s totally true — if not totally pretentious for me to invoke on a food blog — even when the enemy is getting myself to eat the healthy alternative.
This isn’t strictly kale related, but I also made greens ice cubes for future smoothies. My local grocery store had this killer sale on organic greens and I really stocked up. I got about twenty ounces of power greens for smoothies — which consists roughly of kale, collards, and other strong greens — and ten ounces of baby arugula for salads. That doesn’t really sound like a lot but it is. My fridge is fit to burst with all the green things I’ve put in it.
I pureed the power greens into a paste and put them into ice cube trays. If you are especially daring, you could probably even mix the greens paste with an acceptable smoothie liquid — water, apple juice, and coconut water come to immediate mind — and then put that mixture into the ice cube trays. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll do next time, because the pureed greens really only have themselves to stick to; the added liquid will help them freeze into the right shape.
If I had really been thinking ahead, I would have put some hemp protein powder or hemp seeds into my cubes. That’s an idea for next time, I guess.
Stick your green smoothie cubes into freezer safe bag and you’ll be able to make as many green smoothies as you like.
Or at least, as many as you want until the green cubes run out.