Growing Kale for the Apocalypse – Part 1

First of all, yes, I AM one of those crazy nutballs who thinks there might possibly be a crisis of apocalyptic proportions headed our way.  I have my doubts about the flaming asteroid and zombie theories, but I do think there is a very real possibility that our lifestyle choices may lead to epidemic sickness, poverty and major hiccups in a seriously flawed industrial food system. 

I don’t know about you, but I like to be prepared.  Blame it on my back-woods Alaska upbringing, but when those zombies start to swarm, I want my community to be ready, and I’m pretty sure the answer to this is kale.  Hear me out. 

Top 5 reasons to grow kale for the apocalypse:

1. Kale, is hands-down the easiest thing to grow in my garden – all year round – and it and many of its brassica cousins will grow without much fuss, pretty much anywhere other than the desert.  If you live in the desert, you need to move.  Right now.

2. Kale is tasty.  I realize you may need some convincing.  I will dedicate some time to this later and in future posts.  But seriously, people – olive oil, garlic and salt can make even cardboard taste good.  Am I right?

3. Kale is super nutritious. In addition to most of the vitamins you’ve ever heard of, kale also contains Calcium, Iron, fiber and even protein.  If you combine  it with a whole grain you will have just about all the nutrients you need to fight zombies.  Plus, and I cannot stress the importance of this enough, you will be regular. 

4. Kale can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled, fermented –  it keeps well even after you pick it, so if you need to be on the move, you can take a munchy kale snack, a jar full of kale seeds, and get on the bus Gus.

5. No one wants to steal your kale. When the feces hits the fan, and roving bands of hooligans come looking for loot at your house, they will not be looking for kale. I’m all for planting fruit trees and having chickens and making your own butter and whatnot, but in the apocalypse, those things will become “loot”.  They may mysteriously disappear, while your kale will always be there for you!

Now that I have convinced you of the worthiness of kale in your apocalypse emergency kit – let’s start with step #1 to growing kale for the apocalypse.  You might think that the first step would be preparing the soil, or planting some  seeds.  But before you tear out your lawn and plant kale there instead, I think its best to start with:

Step 1: Learn to love eating kale, delicious kale.

If you don’t already love kale, let’s start now.  Here is a really simple sauteed kale recipe, that you can make with most any green (kale, chard, beet greens, turnip greens, radish tops…).  I make it for dinner, often with mashed potatoes and a protein of some sort.  And then the next day I can have my Favorite Breakfast Ever (pictured above): Mashed potatoes with crispy kale and a fried egg.  Yum.

Simple Sauteed Kale

1 large bunch kale, stems/ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

splash balsamic vinegar

Start with a large pan, heat it over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the oil, then add the kale leaves, stir and cover to wilt for about 1 minute. Uncover and stir once, letting the kale get a little bit crispy at the edges for about a minute.  Add the garlic and a good sprinkle of kosher salt, stir and cook just 30 seconds more, until the garlic smells great, but before it starts to brown. Turn off heat and taste for seasoning.  Add a splash of balsamic and enjoy!

For breakfast the next day (aka my Favorite Breakfast Ever): Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat, and add a couple tablespoons olive oil. When hot, crack in an egg, and next to that put a pile of cooked kale, and a pile of mashed potatoes.  When you flip the egg, also stir the kale and potatoes so they are warm through, but also a bit crispy at the edges.  Pile the potatoes & kale on a plate, top with the egg.  Add anything else you like (sriracha, cheese..) and Enjoy!

Stay tuned for Part 2….

Ode to Salad

 

Oh big bowl full of salad

Crunchy, tangy, makin’ me glad

I like you better than crawdad

I eat you up and say “egad!”

Here is a recipe for super fast summer weeknight dinner… grilled cheese and salad.  You almost don’t need a recipe, but I’ll share my favorite way of making it and maybe it will give you a new twist on what you already do.

For the salad: Rinse some really fresh lettuce, arugula, spinach, what have you and spin it dry in a salad spinner.  Let it rest in your salad bowl whilst you make a super fast vinaigrette – which will make bottled dressing taste like bleh From Now On. 

For the vinaigrette: In a jam jar put about 1 teaspoon minced shallot or green onion, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or your favorite vinegar), 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, 2 Tablespoons olive oil and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Whisk with a fork or put on a lid and let your kid shake it up until dinner is ready.

For the grilled cheese: My favorite combination is 1/3 part grated sharp cheddar, 1/3 part grated gruyere cheese and 1/3 part crumbled fresh chevre, plus about a tablespoon of minced shallot or green onion.  The amount will depend on how many people you are feeding. Put it in a pile and squish together with your fingers to combine the creamy chevre with the grated cheeses and onion product.  Pile generously onto a slices of bread. Top with more slices of bread.  Heat a pan to medium high and melt in a nice pat of butter for each sandwich.  Place in as many sandwiches as will comfortably fit.  Cover with a lid and turn heat down to medium/medium-low.  When golden brown, lift each sandwich, insert another pat of butter in pan and flip sandwich  to cook the other side.  Cover with lid again to make sure cheese melts.  Sandwiches are done when golden to your liking.

Assemble salad: Toss salad greens with the dressing.  Top with chopped nuts if you like (I don’t mind if I do).

Yes, the grilled cheese in the photo are on homemade bread… I’ll post that recipe another time… I also love Essential bakery’s rosemary diamante for my deluxe grilled cheese experience.