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Kale, Kale – The Gang’s All Here

Confession Time: Aunt Toby has tried…Lord knows I have tried… to like kale. Kale is one of those veggies that everyone writes glowingly about. It’s great stuff, full of B-everything, anti-inflammatory as all get out. Everyone should eat a boat-load and so on.

I have never, until this past weekend, made a kale dish that made anyone in the fam roll their eyes and make yummy noises. I admit it. I have always tried to be a good role model and would put it into my mouth and chew appreciatively. And I hated every bite.

And then I got lucky. Last weekend, we were all together running a mess of errands (the way most families do) and the last one was a trip to the grocery store (which in our area – and for a lot of people basically from Virginia north to at least eastern Upstate New York), this means Wegmans. Now, if you have a Wegmans in your area and you shop there, you can skip the next bit (or you can make yummy noises while you read – your choise). Wegmans has this amazing buffet/restaurant/take out area. You can get anything from Indian to Chinese, veggies, vegetarian dishes, desserts. Everything. And since we stumbled in there right..about…dinner time, we said, “oh, what the heck.” And one of the really great things about doing this is that you can try out stuff that you’d never do at home. This is how I found this amazing Indian chickpea and tomato dish that I just love. And this past weekend, on the hot veggie bar, they had something called Coconut Cream Kale.

Well, it’s easy to convince myself that the Wegmans chefs would not put something out on the veggie bar that did not taste amazing. And, I had seen the dish featured in their Menu magazine, so that was a double hit of credibility, so I scooped up what looked like a half a cup into my little take out container along with some chicken and other veggies and off we went to the sit down area. Once the DH and The Boy caught the fragrance of coconut when I opened the container, they clamored for trial tastes. And after that, I was lucky to get another two forkfuls – they got all the rest.

I think this is the first time that I have gotten a veggie there that I wished I’d bought more. So, I checked the recipe and got the parts we did not have in the bins or on the shelves. Here is their recipe: Wegmans Coconut Cream Kale

And here is my version:
2 pounds of fresh kale, washed, with the bottom 3-4″ of the stems cut off, chopped into 1″ pieces.
olive oil
3 onions about baseball size, diced.
3 good sized cloves of garlic, chopped fine.
1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper
1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk

Now, here is the number 1, most important, “I am always going to prepare my kale like this from now on because it just removes that ‘ewwwwww’ taste factor” thing to do. I’m sure someone will tell me that it removes half of the nutritional value too, but I’m willing to go with it:
Take a big pot of water, heat until boiling and blanch the kale. Now, the recipe called for this to be done for 4-5 minutes; I’ll bet you cold get away with blanching this for 3 minutes. So, after 3 minutes, take the kale out with a slotted spoon or put a colander in a big bowl and pour everything through the colander. Save the blanch water for something else – we fed it to the chickens and turkeys. Set the kale aside and squeeze out the rest of the water.

Put a puddle of olive oil into a big frying pan and add the onions. Put on whatever setting your stove eye will saute but will not burn the onions (on mine, that is a 4; your mileage may vary). Cook until soft but not browned (mine got browned and still taste great). Add the garlic, the crushed red pepper and cook for another minute. Again, don’t let the garlic burn. That’s nasty.

Stir in the coconut milk and and bring to a boil, using the same range of heat as you used for the onions.l Cooking, stirring 4-5 minutes until it thickens up (mine actually took longer than 5 minutes, but you want this to be really thick). Remove from heat. Add the kale to it and cook for another 5 minutes until kale is tender.

You can season this up with salt and pepper if you like; we did not bother and it tasted amazing.

My son liked this a lot. My son is a rather conservative kid when it comes to food so I figure if he likes it, your kids will like it too.

And for the gardeners out there, here is another amazing fact about kale: this stuff will keep under the snow. We have grown this in the past and literally I have gone out in January and dug this stuff, frozen, out of the snow. It was perfectly good. Now that I have a great recipe that my family likes, I’ll be growing even MORE.

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  1. Tejanarusa (Cheryl) says:

    Coconut milk? I actually have a can of that in my cupboard – bought for something specific and then (the recipe) totally forgotten.
    Sounds interesting.

    Love your instruction to put a “big puddle” of olive oil in the pan.

  2. Duchesse says:

    Coconut milk is like deep frying, it makes anything taste good. Add garlic and plenty of olive oil.. I’d eat a sponge done like that! After 25 years I have ‘encouraged’ DH to the two-vegetable per dinner stage, but kale would be the final barrier. No, wait, tofu is. And think I’d really like this dish!

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