As recently as a few years ago, kale was not a staple in my diet. If you had asked me about this proclaimed “super food” I would have stared at you blankly. But I have found that it’s hearty texture is versatile and since it’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients, I am also doing something good for my body.
One of my favorite cookbooks was a gift to us from one of my sister-in-laws, “Vegetables Every Day” by Jack Bishop. It’s kind of a vegetable dictionary. It lists practically every vegetable in the universe, describes the best time of year for using it, how to select the best available when shopping, and gives recipes that highlight the vegetable in question. It’s a great resource for me to learn about and try new vegetables. The author recommends boiling kale first before sautéing or braising. You will want to look for kale that is dark green and crisp looking. The stalk is very woody, so you’ll want to remove this before cooking.
One of my favorite preparations is to make kale chips. Andre and Callen taught me this fun and delicious way to enjoy kale. It’s super simple: wash and dry your kale (it’s important for the cooking process that it be very dry.) Tear it up into large, chip size pieces and toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet or two – the pieces should have their own spot on the baking sheet without overlap, otherwise it won’t get the crunch you are looking for. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. I think I might have to go make some now….
A and I love “rice bowls” and our current obsession is with Kale Rice Bowls that we adapted from “101cookbooks.com”. It’s a great option on a busy weeknight. Very filling and you can mix and match flavors easily. Here’s what you’ll need:
Kale Rice Bowl
Makes three servings.
- Cooked rice (I prefer brown rice but since we are out I am currently using Nishiki brand white rice.)
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil (depending on your preference)
- 1 bunch “dino” kale
- 6 eggs
- 1 small container extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- toasted sesame seeds
A is the rice maker in our house, so he gets the rice started in our rice cooker. When it has about 20 minutes left to go, I start prepping and cooking the rest of the ingredients.
K likes to help me clean and strip the kale from it’s stalk. She tears the kale into bite size pieces that we put in a bowl and set to the side until we are ready to cook. She also helps me to prep the tofu. I like it crispy so I cut it into small pieces – approximately 1/2 inch cubes – and then we coat the pieces of tofu in cornstarch. This will create a light crust while cooking.
I start first by blistering the capers in butter. Doesn’t that just sound good? That phrase came from the original recipe on 101cookbooks.com – I can’t take credit for it. I add the butter to a large skillet and as it melts I add the capers to the pan. I let them cook in the butter over low to medium heat until they start to brown. It doesn’t take long – maybe 4 to 5 minutes. I then remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel lined plate.
Next I add 1 tbsp oil to the same skillet and turn it on a low to medium heat. I add the kale and toss frequently using tongs. I sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. I usually cook this for 4 to 5 minutes because I like it to be tender. Once it reaches your liking, take the skillet off the heat and transfer the kale back to a clean bowl.
I then add the remaining oil to the skillet over medium heat and toss in the tofu so it can start to fry up. You’ll want to turn it when it starts turning a light golden brown.
While the tofu is cooking, I start another deep dish skillet with a few inches of water. Once it starts boiling I turn the heat down so the water is simmering. I crack an egg into a small bowl and slowly slip it into the water and repeat until all eggs are in. Since I want a poached egg with a runny yolk, I cook just until the whites are set. For K, I let it cook an extra minute or so until it’s a medium yolk. I remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and let them rest on a plate. I sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. You can also add vinegar to the water when poaching eggs, but I rarely do.
Remove the tofu from the pan when it is a nice golden color and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Now it’s time to assemble!
Grab a bowl and scoop in approximately one cup of cooked rice. Then add your kale, tofu, and eggs. Sprinkle with some of the capers and the toasted sesame seeds. As I start to eat, I like to break the egg yolk so it acts like a sauce. SO GOOD.
For more topping ideas, see the original recipe here.
Happy eating, friends!