Sunday, December 12, 2010

hale to the kale

It is hard to avoid kale these days as it lingers perpetually at farmers markets, a hero to the end, the last of the greens to withstand the ever chilling temperatures. Hook Mountain Growers latest blog post is all about kale and includes some wonderful recipes to check out. It got me thinking about this rough and ready green that has enough ruffle-y bounce to wear as a ballet tutu.

Bringing kale home from the market the bag bulges as if stuffed with new down pillows. When preparing, trim off the chewy stems and cut the leaves into bite sized strips before cooking. I was making a standard sauteed kale with garlic for a client this weekend and jazzing it up with a balsamic reduction, when I decided to go in a different direction with the bunch I bought for myself. This quick making dish of curried kale with chick peas and raisins is satisfying and warming on a cold almost winter day.
 Simmer the meaty kale and earthy chick peas with sweet coconut milk and tart raisins to make a delicious meal of balanced flavors and textures.

Curried Kale with Chick Peas and Raisins 
2 quarts water, salted
1 Bunch of kale, stems trimmed off and leaves chopped into 1" strips
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 onion thinly sliced
1.5 Tbs. curry powder
1.5 cups cooked chick peas
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup golden raisins

Bring water to a boil and blanch the kale for about 6-8 minutes until tender and bright green. Drain and set aside. In a saute pan heat the canola oil and saute the onions about 5 minutes till golden. Add the curry powder and stir to combine completely with the oil in the pan. Add the chick peas, coconut milk, rasins and kale and stir to combine.  Simmer ten minutes and taste to adjust seasonings adding salt as needed. Serve with a grain like basmati rice or quinoa.

the wine pairing:
This is great! I am on a kale kick but have been running out of ideas for its preparation. Lately I have been eating it raw - simply chopping it very small and enjoying it mixed with some finely chopped celery and cabbage and tossing it with one asian vinaigrette or another - whatever is inspiring at that moment. So thank you, Deb, for another kale option!

Curry is something else I have been enjoying. In fact, aromas of this spice fill my house at this very moment, having just made a curried yellow-split pea soup which came out quite good if not a little thin. (oops). Deb, as usual, I have a question. Is the coconut milk you used sweetened? I am never quite sure which one to use when cooking.

For this particular recipe, I would open a great bottle of Gewurztraminer. This white varietal has extremely distinct aromas and flavors of lychee fruit. And, there are heavenly "spicey" characteristics as well. One of my favorite whites, it has its admirers and its opponents. I think most people either love it or hate it. If you have not yet had the "gewurz" experience, I strongly urge you to run to your local retailer and purchase a bottle!

Many Gewurztraminers are off-dry (slightly sweet) but there are many drier styles available. The grape is at its finest in Alsace, France. For outstanding representations of this grape, look to producers Trimbach or Zind Humbrecht. They are absolutely two of the finest producers of this white in Alsace. 

The unique floral, spicy aromatics and distinctive flavors of this wine make it an ideal match for Asian, Thai, and Indian cuisines. Gewurztraminer would definitely complement Deb's dish perfectly!


  1. I use unsweetened coconut milk. Look for light coconut milk as well if you want to eliminate some calories.

  2. Thank you for yet another kale recipe to add to my list. Can't wait to try it!


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