I wish I had gotten a massage today, but instead I gave one. To my kale.
Kale is probably my favorite green veggie. The texture is so versatile- It can stand up to long cooking in a soup or can be eaten raw. [Not to brag, but...] The kale we grow in the garden is the sweetest I've ever tasted. So we grow a lot. Enough to fill out chest freezer with kale to use from November through March.
There are plenty of different kinds of kale, but these are the ones I see most often: Green curly, Red Russian, and Lacinato or dinosaur kale. We like to grow all of these in our garden, but the lacinato and curly varieties are my favorite.
Kale doesn't need much added to it to be delicious. Usually I just add it to a hot pan with a little olive oil and garlic, then sprinkle a bit of tamari over top. Sometimes I add other ingredients, but this is the simplest recipe I know for amazing greens.
When it comes to eating kale raw, it's nice to have young tender kale. I like to chop it very finely and drizzle a little ranch or goddess dressing over it. Yum!
If your kale is a bit older, you can just let the raw, chopped kale marinate with the dressing for a few minutes or a few hours to help tenderize it. Sandor Elix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, recommends "massaging" chopped kale to help break it down. While the idea of massaging kale might not be an appealing one, it really does tenderize it. It turns a bright green and gets a similar texture to very lightly cooked kale as the cells are broken down.
Oh, and kale is super good for you, too. It has plenty of iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin K, beta carotene, and all that good stuff. You don't need me to tell you that, though. Start eating kale and you'll feel how healthy it is for you. Your body knows.
Kale is in season right now and only gets sweeter as the weather turns cooler. It will grow right into the frosty season, so keep eating it all winter long!
Sesame Almond Kale Salad
6 leaves of kale (about 1 bunch)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1-2 Tbsp. grated ginger
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp. tamari
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Remove the thick center stems from the kale and chop into fairly small pieces. Using your (clean) hands, massage and rub the kale together. There's no need to be gentle- give it a good deep rub. When kale is bright green and wilted slightly, set the kale aside in your salad bowl.
In a small dry skillet, heat the sliced almonds over medium heat. You want them to slightly toast, but NOT burn. When lightly toasted, add the grated ginger, sesame oil, tamari, and vinegar. Stir to combine and heat through.
Pour hot dressing over the kale and toss to coat. You can let this salad sit at room temperature to further tenderize the kale, but it'd delicious while the dressing is still warm!
If you like some heat, add red pepper flakes to the salad for additional flavor.