Best of 2009 #12: New food.

Before the sum­mer of 2008, my expe­ri­ences with kale were lim­ited to a stir­fry that my friend made in col­lege and see­ing the crazy kale peo­ple come thru the line when I worked at Vit­a­min Cot­tage. So when I started get­ting a bunch of kale in my farmshare box last sum­mer, I didn’t know what to do with it. I used it as a replace­ment for spinach in my favorite VWAV recipe, I tried it in Indian food, and ulti­mately I had so much of it that I took to hid­ing it in pasta sauce. By the end of the sum­mer I begged my farm to let me replace the kale in my weekly pick­ups with chard. I never wanted to eat kale again.

This year was some­what dif­fer­ent. John implored me to destem the kale and to cut it into smaller strips (!!), and he also put gar­lic in it. Sud­denly, I was in love. Now I get weird crav­ings for kale, and it has become a sta­ple on our menu.

I haven’t been doing a good job of cook­ing lately because John is always at school and I hate cook­ing for one, but I got inspired tonight to try to recre­ate a recipe I over­heard a few days ago when I was half-listening to an episode of Good Eats. Actu­ally, it wasn’t so much of a recipe as a theme — I heard Alton Brown talk­ing about Japan­ese food and dashi broth and soba noo­dles. Here is what I made:

Soba Noo­dle Bowl with Sesame Kale:

  • half a bunch of kale
  • half a box of soba noodles
  • sesame oil
  • shoyu soy sauce
  • kombu sea kelp
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • sesame seed/seaweed seasoning

Slosh the sesame oil over the bot­tom of a pan over medium high heat, and saute the crushed gar­lic for about a minute. Add in finely chopped and de-stemmed kale, and stir occa­sion­ally. A bunch of liq­uid will start to come out. Add in a few splashes of soy sauce and mirin and reduce the heat after about a minute. You will want to saute this mix­ture until the kale is very soft and bright green (about 10 min). In the mean­time, add soba noo­dles to boil­ing water and cook for 6 min­utes. Add kombu to boil­ing water and cook for 4 min­utes. Dis­card kombu, add some shoyu, and set aside (this is your broth for the noo­dles). Drain the soba noo­dles and rinse with cool water so they don’t over­cook. Mix every­thing together in a big bowl, gar­nish with the sesame sea­son­ing and enjoy with chop­sticks. Slurrrp!

Posted: December 12th, 2009
Categories: Daily
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