I may have already let this slip, but I never tasted kale until I moved here almost 10 years ago. Guilty as charged. I have to say it was life-changing. You literally can do anything with it. And it makes me feel good when I cook with it. Never mind that I’ve got a package of Oreos in my bedside table drawer; that kale makes me feel healthy.
I was in kale mode this weekend because I saw my friend Emily LaPierre’s photos on Facebook of a family gleaning session she pulled together with the Vineyard Haven library and Island Grown. I flipped through her photos, and saw pics of her sweet little girl Aurora, her husband Ben (who used to work for The Times for a bit) gleaning some very hardy-looking kale. I also saw photos of a couple I love with their new baby, John and Andre Leaf and baby Valeri. John and Andre brought Valeri along on the family gleaning adventure last week. Is there anything sweeter than that? She just turned two months old over the weekend. You’re wondering where the kale comes in, I know.
So I’ve made kale and white beans, kale and sausage soup, kale and pasta, sweet potatoes and kale, and kale chips. I’m sure there’s more, because I’m a little obsessed with it. But one of my favorite things to do is to get the freshest kale you can get, do that thing where you pull it off the stem in one fell swoop, chop it with my favorite knife, put it in a big salad bowl and then sprinkle it with a little kosher salt and squeeze a lemon over it. Then I put my (clean) hands into it and just massage the heck out of it. After that, I’m ready to top it with literally anything. For this weekend’s option, I threw some kalamata olives in and a little pepper. That’s it. And it was delicious.
As fall is coming around, do not hesitate to grab some local kale. It’s inexpensive, and very versatile. And it will make you feel good. It’ll make you feel even better if you skip the Oreos.