Thursday, November 01, 2007

Out of the comfort zone

The great NaBloPoMo marathon has kicked off and I've got to confess that I'm too chicken to sign up. Partly this is because I'm going to be away for a couple of days this month and may not be able to post, but mostly it's just that I'm a whole barrel-load of lazy. OK, I'll commit to writing for as many days of the month as I have access to a computer. (I don't think they have a blogging group set up for the partially committed...) Although, much like Hellojed over at It Had Better Be Good, I'm not sure what I'll be writing about. Guess that's all part of the fun!

So here's the first post of 30(ish).

Something magical happens when you drop kale into a saucepan of boiling water. Almost instantly, the dark green leaves take on a striking emerald hue, becoming a little transparent in the process. In fact, they wouldn't look out of place in a stained glass window. (Hmmm - a great vegetable window anyone? No?) How can eating in winter be considered dull or a deprivation when you have such wonderful produce to play with? And I love playing with my food :-)

This dish was my lunch the other day (and the day after - it reheated well). I had to fiddle with the recipe a bit to suit what I had in the house (not enough kale, basically) but I think it worked out ok: the higher bean-to-kale ratio made it more of a main course than a side dish.

Kale with cannellini beans adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Provides 2 main course portions

You'll need:

250g kale or mixed greens, stems and ribs removed
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
1½ tablespoon olive oil
2 plump cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red chilli flakes
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
½ cup white wine or water
1 x 400g tin cooked cannellini beans, rinsed well
Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
Croutons to serve

1. Simmer the kale in salted water until tender - around 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the cooking water, and chop the kale.

2. In a large pan, sauté the onion in the oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and rosemary for about 3 minutes. Add the wine/water and cook until it's reduced to a syrupy sauce.

3. Add the beans, kale and enough cooking water to keep the mixture loose. Heat through, taste for salt and season with pepper, and serve with a dusting of Parmesan.

Cook's notes

Just for interest, Deborah specifies 1½ to 2 pounds of kale, in order to serve 2 to 4 people. The rest of the recipe is exactly the same as shown above.

I didn't have any white wine around, so I just used water. Sounds dull but worked well. But I'd like to try the wine version at some point - it probably adds an extra savoury note.


urban vegan said...

This looks so fab. I love kale--but my husband detests it.

Regarding marathons, I don't think my knees would hold out. The farthese I've run is about 7 miles--though I am trying to work up to longer distances. Let us know if you decided to do it!

hellojed said...

I love kale! Thanks for the shout-out and best of luck with the month ahead - am looking forward to more posts from you!

Jen said...

Hi Urban Vegan. Yep, my husband isn't that fond of kale either :-( In fact, his exact words were: 'Urgh - that was your lunch?' Big sigh.

Fortunately the NaBloPoMo marathon is only taking place in the blogosphere, otherwise I'd be completely stuffed. Although, as it happens, I've recently taken up running, so you never know. But at the moment I'd be lucky to run 70 metres let along 7 miles!

Hey Hellojed - good luck to you too! I think I may need to sit down and design a plan of attack for this challenge ;-) It's gonna be fun anyway.

Anonymous said...

Our house may be a building site but I can virtually guarantee that there will be access to the internet if nothing else so no excuses.

Besides you can blog about takeout food and kitchen destruction while you're here.


Jen said...

And cakes and copious cups of tea. And cats... I can't wait to meet the new cats :-)

winedeb said...

Hey Jen, you stopped by my site yesterday so I thought I would return to yours! I am so glad I did because white beans and kale, not necessarily together, are two of my top favorite veggies! This dish sounds great and EASY! I'll be back:)

Jen said...

Hi winedeb. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the recipe if you make it.