Kale: My kind of vegetable

kale chipsFor the last several months, I have been on a kale kick. Kale is HOT in the current state of vegetable culture - a super vegie of sorts.  Loaded with vitamins A and C, omega 3s, phytonutrients, and a decent dose of dietary fiber, kale deserves the attention it's getting. It's also a good source of calcium and it contains lutein (good for the eyes).

As a registered dietitian, I'm ashamed to admit that I could not make myself like kale in my first fifty years. I attribute the local farmers markets for changing that, along with my desire to eat a more plant-based diet. Fortunately, we live about 10 minutes from the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Most Saturdays, either my husband or I head out there for our weekly provisions. Kale, a cold weather vegetable, has been at the height of seasonability. My favorite is red kale (green leaves tinged with red). Unlike the storebought kind, which has enormous leaves and the tendency to be tough, kale that's locally grown is smaller-leaved and more tender, making it more flavorful, too. Our go-to spot for local kale is Peterson Farms...but, be aware, the winter window on local availability is winding down. Another couple of weeks, according to Joe Peterson. So, go get yourself some kale.

My favorite way to cook kale is sauteed lightly with olive oil, chopped onion, and garlic. I've also made kale chips. Crisp and salty, these have been around awhile (there are many recipes on the Web). Here's how to make kale chips: When you get your just-plucked kale home, pat the leaves dry and place them in a large Ziploc bag. Drizzle in olive oil (a generous tablespoon). Toss around to coat the leaves and sprinkle in kosher salt. Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and they're ready for the oven. Bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn. It's also okay to turn the leaves halfway through the baking time. Eat ASAP and enjoy! By the way, the next time you're at your local farmers market, be sure to thank your farmers for their hard work. Happy spring!