Thursday, February 5, 2004

I swear to you, I will not let the cream of spinach fall, nor our greens kale
I haven't much felt like blogging lately. Instead, I've been eating Oreos, doing downward-facing dogs, pointing and laughing when American Idolers forget the lyrics, and seeing if I recognize any of the registered sex offenders in my neighborhood. But fear not, we've been having food adventures too. For example ...

Kale sounds like the name of a out-of-wedlock love child of glassy-eyed, poseur celebrities, doesn't it?

And maybe, indeed, there is a little Kale somewhere out there, still with a clean record, and if he/she is lucky, the third time in detox will be the charm, and he/she will finish out life raising alpaca for high-end vests. But there's also kale, the leafy green vegetable that looks like a cross between cabbage and lettuce. I picked it up at the farmer's market, determined to expand our greens repertoire beyond romaine lettuce (which, let's face it, isn't all that exciting, though it's admittedly better than iceberg) and spinach (which is exciting and a Foodgoat favorite).

Apparently, kale was especially popular in Northern Europe, seeing as it grows happiest in colder climes and contains all kinds of happy vitamins. Seeing as how Foodgoat is of mostly Southern European ancestry, and there isn't any part of me that is happiest in colder climes, kale was new to both of us.

Kale is huge. Big. The leaves, flat and cabbage-like around the stem but ruffled and curly on the edges, barely fit inside the sink. I suspect it's sort of a primeval, prehistoric cabbage, something gigantic dragonflies nibbled on when they were on a diet or couldn't find gigantic ... uh ... whatever gigantic thing it is that gigantic dragonflies liked to eat. There is also a tough, thick center stem that you have to cut out, which is pretty easy since the leaves fold in rather nicely.

Supposedly you can use kale just like spinach, so Foodgoat used it to make cream of spinach, or rather, cream of kale. We had our doubts though. Kale looks and smells a lot more like cabbage. But you know, cooked-up, it was indeed quite close to spinach-tasting. You could sort of tell the difference, and Foodgoat still preferred spinach, but not too much. And like cream of spinach, cream of kale was excellent when topped with feta cheese. (To be fair, everything is excellent when topped with feta cheese). So kale got a thumbs up.

Two weeks later, I still had a big bag of kale left over. It was a little wilted, a little yellow around the edges, so I thought I'd chop it, saute it in olive oil, and no one would be the wiser. Well, no. After a couple of days, the delicate kale flavor becomes very strong. Darn. Wish I'd read that earlier. Because that sauteed kale was bitter and tough and most emphatically not good.

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