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Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Foods


I love kale.  And I think you've heard me say that until I became plant-strong, I thought that kale was the garnish for the ever-present diet platter from your favorite diner.  It was always tossed aside.  Never eaten.

And, you've heard me talk about my maternal grandparents, Mary and Luigi Montaruli.  They made lots of simple, peasant food.  And today, the meals that they would serve us, are now considered trendy.  Bread Stew with Fava Beans.  Potatoes in the Oven.  Peas and Pasta.  I could go on.  I think that part of Mario Batali's arsenal of delicious food comes from my grandparents.

Last night, I had a head of kale, and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it.  Most times, when I get home from the produce mart, I strip my kale, and store it in a muslin bag.  This way, it is always at the ready.

I like kale best when it is finely chopped,  It becomes very delicate, and responds better to oil-free saute.  After it is stripped, I roll the leaves into a ball, and cut each "kale-ball into thin slivers.  Last night, I sauteed it in stock made from the "kale stems," then added red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, low-sodium tamari.  Throw in some drained garbanzo beans, and garnish with shredded carrots.  A little squeeze of fresh lime will do the trick.

Eating plant-strong doesn't need to be complicated, time consuming, or difficult.  As I was eating dinner last night, I thought about my grandmother's delicious food.  She worked (she was a bow-maker at a hat factory in NYC), had five children, ran a restaurant, and had no microwave.  And she made beautiful and delicious food everyday.

While there are other forms of kale available...frozen, chopped and bagged, and kale chips, I am sticking with old-school kale and doing my own prep work.

Kale is the new black.

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