Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sauteed Kale with Balsamic

She is beginning to feel like a house guest that has long overstayed her welcome. She has grown ever so tiresome. The sight of her dirt-fringed snow on my lawn, once a bright and welcome sight, now looks dank against a dull grey sky. It makes me want to retreat back inside.  The sound of the meteorologist's voice telling me over and over again that there is going to be yet another weekend storm is grating on my nerves, like the screech of an MBTA green line car coming to a halt.  My wool coat suddenly feels like a ball and chain. One day I don't really notice it and the next it feels as if it weighs 50 pounds and I can hardly bear the weight of it as I head off to work in the morning. These are the telltale signs when I've become: SICK OF WINTER.
Part of me wants to carry on to you about all the inconveniences this rude season has begun to bestow upon me as of late. But I won't do that. Instead, I am going to challenge myself to list at least five things I appreciate about Ms. Winter. If I don't change my attitude, it's only going to make the next month and a half less enjoyable than it could be. I don't like to live my life waiting to get to a time or a place (ex. vacation, retirement, summer), because if I do, I could be missing out on something along the way. I've long liked the line by John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".
So here I go, attempting to embrace what I have in this time and place. Five great things about winter, in no particular order:
  1. The birds that live in the evergreen shrub in front of my porch. They are around in summer too, but they tend to hug in tight to the shrub and are less apt to fly away when I come outside. They chirp throughout the day and it makes me smile.
  2. Zuree, of course. She loves the snow and the cold. We recently went out for our night walk during the peak of a blizzard and walked through the cemetery behind our house with over a foot of snow, into the powerful winds and the blinding snow. At one point I looked back to see a 40 pound snowbeast walking behind me. Her face was completely snow covered and we could hardly see where we were going, but she was practically trotting along as if nothing was happening. She was perfectly content being outside.
  3. Soup. It's just not as enjoyable in warm seasons.
  4. The Somerville winter farmers market. They have cider donuts if you get there early enough. There's also a musician playing fun cover tunes.
  5. Snowshoeing. I haven't done it much this year, but will try to take advantage of the remaining snow.
I did it! And, it wasn't even hard. I feel much better now. Thank you. I've probably said this same thing before, and even written about it. And, if that's the case, at least I'm consistent.

Birdie prints on my porch
In celebration, I am going to go make some kale. I made it this way the other night and liked it. This recipe is T-friendly. I think I have figured out that I like lacinato kale the best. I believe lacinato is synonymous with black kale and dinosaur kale. Don't quote me on that, but it appears that way on Wikipedia. It's also possible that I just liked the texture of the kale as a result of cooking it this way. So to really be sure, I'd need to conduct a test kitchen and cook some curly kale and lacinato kale side by side using the same method and compare the results. And, while this does sound fun. I don't really have the time for such a luxury. I will be traveling a bunch for business in the coming weeks and will be eating out lots. So, any time I get to cook for myself will be coveted and much appreciated.

This is also a great way to cook broccoli.


Sauteed Kale with Balsamic
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 tblspn olive oil
1/2 tspn red hot chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1/4 cup veggie broth
2 tblspns balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat the oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add the chili flakes and let them sizzle for a moment. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, but do not brown.
2.  Add kale and then toss it around in the oil mixture.
3.  Add broth. Once to a boil. lower heat, cover and let the kale cook until most of the broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove cover and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and add vinegar.