My small cook's garden is only a few steps from our kitchen door, which makes it easy to harvest herbs and veggies for every meal.
Despite its small size, my well-tended, well-loved plot of ground is a dependable super-producer and a riot of colors and unexpected tastes.
The beds of kale never let me down. From autumn through late spring their frills of pink, purple and blue-green, and flutes of near black, red and deep green add zing and crunch to my recipes.
I serve kale raw, braised, baked, sauteed and wilted; in soups or roasted as "chips." But by far my favorite recipe is for "massaged" kale. Massaging the kale tenderizes it and releases its sweet, deep flavors.
I harvest about 20 leaves of fresh kale, clean them thoroughly, remove stems (unless using Dino kale-Lacinato), and cut or tear it into strips about 1/4 inch wide.
The kale goes into a large bowl, and I sprinkle the leaves with half a teaspoon of salt. Before adding more salt, I taste...and taste again.
Then I grab another handful of leaves, squeeze, grab another handful, squeeze, and keep working until the texture changes, the color deepens, and the kale sweats and softens.
5 tablespoons lemon juice, orange juice or seasoned rice vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
20 kale leaves
1 apple, diced
4 radishes, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice or seasoned rice vinegar and honey; pour over the kale. Add apple, radishes and ginger; sprinkle with pepper and toss. Cover bowl tightly and chill before serving.
Your "massaged" kale salad is low in calories, brims with vitamins A, K, and C and has 5 grams of fiber and antioxidants. Can you see why kale is king in my garden and on my table?