Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Kale fale?

I now live in the super-trendy neighborhood of Seminole Heights here in Tampa and the other day I was in a super-trendy little farmer's market where I saw that they had some freshly-harvested kale. I have heard people talk about kale a lot, especially lately, but I've never actually listened to what they're saying. I'm assuming it's some kind of super lettuce and good for me, so I bought some. I got it home (along with some cucumbers, tomatoes and onions) but I wasn't sure what I should do with it. Make a salad? It kinda looks like spinach, in that it doesn't look like plain old lettuce, and I like spinach. Can I make a salad out of it? Should I incorporate it into my smoothie regimen? Should I wrap some bacon around it and fry it up? I honestly didn't know. So I called my nutrition guru (aka one of the few people whose phone number I have who doesn't eat like a teenager) and aksed her what to do. Turns out that it's the opinion of some that I might not be ready to handle kale.
ME: Hey, so I bought some kale. What do I do with it?
HER: You did what??
ME : I bought some kale and...
HER: What do you mean you bought some kale? Why? You just went to the store and bought it? What store? How much did you get?
ME: I'm sorry, did I mistakenly say 'yellowcake uranium'? Because what I bought is a bag of leafy green vegetable, not a metal briefcase full of radioactive bomb material. I spent like two bucks on it.
HER: Kale is very powerful. And it's versatile. You can use it with pretty much anything you would with spinach. But it's not as mild as spinach.
ME: Okay, The kale is actually here in the house with me. It's sitting on the kitchen counter. I'm talking softly and trying not to make any sudden movements, in case it's visual acuity relies on motion, like a T-Rex.
"I'm nutritious and delicious!"
HER: Okay, settle down.
ME: Listen, this kale is scaring the shit out of me right now.
HER: All right, clown. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals plus it has a fair amount of protein. It also lowers your risk for certain types of cancer. But it's got some distinctive properties in terms of taste and texture that you aren't used to so whatever you use it in, you'll probably want to start with small amounts. That's my point.
ME: All right, so don't dive out of a window and quickly set my house on fire, leaving the kale to thrash wildly and snarl at me as it burns to death. Got it. What should I do, though?
HER: Why don't you start out with equal parts crushed ice, kale, strawberries, bananas and yogurt and try it in a smoothie? Then we'll go from there. You can cook with it but let's try this first. Make sure you remove the stems from the kale. 
I did that and it was pretty good. I was worried the kale would make the smoothie taste weird but aside from altering the color (greener) it wasn't even noticeable. I don't think I've conquered it but I'm going to take a shot at cooking with it and seeing if that doesn't kill me.

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