Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garlic Ginger Kale

Plate of Garlic Ginger Kale
Get Your Antioxidants and Immunity Here

Recipe inspired by James, Live Earth Farm & Weight Watchers

Has there ever been a more perfect pairing of ingredients than garlic and ginger? Equally strong, pungent, and aromatic, they’re a classic combination in Chinese restaurant dishes throughout America. Both garlic and ginger are considered “warming” in traditional Chinese medicine. Both are used to treat stomach and digestive problems as well as dysfunctions of the lung system, which includes the nasal passages and the immune system. Combining them in a recipe sounds like the beginning of a winter tonic.

Two Bowls of Kale with Plate of Garlic and Ginger
Red Russian (right)  and Lacinato Kales
Add kale, which WebMD considers “queen of greens” for its high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur-containing phytonutrients. Kale also promotes eye health and lowers blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, especially when cooked. There are many varieties of kale. I used Red Russian and Lacinato, the latter being more delicate. I added Red Russian to the boiling water first, followed by the Lacinato 1½  minutes later.

Truthfully, flavor rather than health benefit was my first motivation for making this dish. Kelly’s comment on my Hot Kale Salad, about her husband spicing kale with garlic and ginger, inspired me put a new spin on the Weight Watchers Tuscan-style Garlic Spinach recipe. Substituting peanut oil for olive, tamari for salt, hot chili oil for pepper, and in-season kale for spinach created a perfect dish to perk up cold late-winter days and nights.

May this dish keep you warm, healthy, and in a state of culinary satisfaction.

Garlic Ginger Kale in Saute Pan
Garlic Ginger Kale Ready to Serve
Garlic Ginger Kale
serves about 4

2 lbs. kale
4 – 5 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 - 1 ½ tbsp. peanut oil
1 tsp. low-salt tamari
 a few dashes of hot chili oil (optional)

Put sufficient quantity of water to parboil your kale in a pot and bring to a boil (kale will shrink quite a bit when cooking). Add about 1 tbsp. salt per 1½ gallons of water.

While water is heating, zip the kale leaves off the stems. Peel garlic cloves and cut in half or thirds (depending on size). Peel and slice ginger into about 3/8 inch slices, and cut up so that they are of equal size and shape as garlic.

Immerse the kale leaves in the boiling water till partially cooked, about 2 - 3 minutes for fairly young or delicate types of kale. Larger, coarser leaves may need another minute or two. Drain when wilted and semi-tender. Squeeze out water with back of wooden spoon.

Transfer kale to cutting board. Chop into bite-size pieces when cool enough to handle. It’s easiest to use kitchen shears for this.

Meanwhile, heat peanut oil in skillet. Use sufficient quantity (1 – 1 ½ tbsp.) to sauté the quantity of garlic and ginger you have. Add garlic and ginger and sauté till fragrant and lightly cooked, about a minute or two. Add chopped kale and sauté, stirring contantly to coat kale with garlic-ginger flavored oil. When excess water is evaporated and kale is tender, stir in tamari and chili oil, or reserve chili oil to be added by individual diners at the table.

You may want to remove the garlic and ginger if you have small children, otherwise leave them in the dish for visual appeal and a burst of immunity boost for daring diners.

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