Thursday, January 27, 2011
Kale Chips are a Lie
I love my deep green veggies, so this is not a veggie hater's post. However, kale chips are not my thing. I was inundated with posts about can't-eat-just-one kale chips, and even kale chip recipes go on and on about how delicious they are ("like potato chips, but healthy!" should have been my tip off that something was not right), so I made up a batch with some of my favorite olive oil and sea salt. Blech. Yes, kale chips are crunchy. However, I like my kale lightly parboiled and sauteed, thankyouverymuch. Even the boy didn't like the chips, and he is the one who usually happily mows through my food experiments gone awry. He suggested that the kale smoothie I made was a more palatable way to eat kale. For me, it's a toss up on which kale form factor was more horrible.
However, to be fair, I do love the taste and natural texture of kale, so I'm not the best one to judge creative kale forms. The dogs like the kale chips, so what I lost in food is gained by in entertainment value because feeding a dog a crunchy snack is funny.
This whole kale experimentation was based on my earnest effort to less meat. Honestly, I think it was easier to be a vegetarian, going totally whole hog (whole off the hog?), instead of just dabbling with meat here and there. I've heard the same thing from people giving up booze and sugar: it's easier to have none at all then just a bit. My latest cookbook has helped me eat less meat: The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla. While this book is not vegetarian, the recipes I focused in on happened to be mostly meatless.
So far, I'm impressed! I was intrigued by the thought of Indian food quietly bubbling away in the slow cooker while I was out and about, so I gave it a shot thanks to a nudge by all the good book reviews. I've made aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes), rajma (spicy kidney beans), keema mater (lamb stew with peas), and a pumpkin stew. All came out spiced just right - it's not Indian food adjusted to American palates, but rather authentic recipes that Singla and her family put together. Most recipes call for 4-10 Thai chilies and copious amounts of ginger, onions, and garlic. My only gripe is that some of the recipes have cooking times of, for example, 6 hours on high and 2 hours on low. Unfortunately, my simple slow cooker has temperature and time coupled, which means that I have to be present to switch temperatures, so not all of the recipes are of the "set it and forget it" genre that I associate with this type of device. They're still perfect for weekend cooking, though, when I'm out for only few hours at a time instead of a whole day.
The bean dishes are cool because she starts you off with dried beans, and those recipes are well suited for a day at the office since the cooking times at one temperature are long. I had never tried cooking dried beans in my slow cooker since those are usually candidates for my pressure cooker, and the kidney beans turned out buttery soft.
In crafting news, I'm designing a cardigan in Malabrigo Rios that I hope to write up into a pattern. Mmmmmm, Rios is my new favorite yarn because it's the perfect marriage of color, structure, and softness - even when I have to rip something out, it doesn't bother me because it prolongs my knitting experience. How I'm going to test knit the thing in different sizes is a bit too much for me to think about, although I'm looking forward to the spreadsheets and math. I'm hoping I can find more local test knitters because, as I learned last time, it is invaluable to see the finished product for myself. Hopefully, I can give you all a sneak peek in a week or two.