Last night, I finally got back into cooking (hopefully on a somewhat regular basis). I decided to cook the Kale we had in the fridge leftover from last week’s farm share. Before yesterday, I’d only cooked Kale once, and it was because we got it in a different weeks farm share. Even though my good friend Kira, among others, suggested making Kale chips, I really wanted to try to make more of meal out of the kale so I did something a little different.
I did NOT follow a recipe for this meal. I tend to take recipes more as suggestions anyway, like “these things taste good together, experiment with quantities of each at your leisure.” (Sidenote: in my head, the word leisure is always said with an English accent.) I’m not really one for measuring whilst cooking, when baking yes, I measure mostly, when cooking, never. In my humblest of opinions, baking is more a science where as cooking is an art form. If you leave out an ingredient whilst baking, like say the yeast in bread, you’re not gonna get anything really, except grossness. BUT if you leave out an ingredient whilst cooking, like say the orange juice I wanted to use in this recipe, you’re not gonna get gross, it just might not be perfect. OH and don’t ever forget to use salt when cooking, that’s like leaving the yeast out of bread (that requires yeast). Salt is imperative. So all of my ingredient measurements are estimations as I measure not whilst cooking.
So without further( rambling) adieu. Here’s how I made Orange Fennel Kale Couscous
1 Bunch Tuscan Kale chopped into 1 inch slivers (not the technical term)
head, bulb, head, bulb, Fennel (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
1/4 or 1/3 of a Vidalia Onion (chopped into long strips/ slivers)
1 garlic clove (chopped )
1 inch section of Ginger Grated (using special ginger grating plate, so fancy!)
1 orange peeled and cut into chunks
zest of 1/4 of said orange
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1 Container of Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous (or equivalent grain, i.e. regular couscous, bulgur wheat, quinoa, etc.)
First off, cook your grain based on box instructions. When cooking all grains, I always add a bay leaf and some red pepper flakes when I have both on hand. These simple additions give them more flavor depth. Fancy.
Next, prep your ingredients. Cut and Zest the orange, grate the ginger, chop the fennel/onion/ garlic/kale, and juice the lemon.
Heat a pan, with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. With the heat on low- medium throw in the fennel, onion, garlic (and any kale stems you want to eat). Add some salt and pepper now, also red pepper flakes (amount depends on your tolerance/affinity for hot). Cover with lid. Wait a bit, say 2-4 minutes. Add the grated ginger and the orange zest and the lemon juice, and stir a bit (preferably with a wooden spoon, as to not have your mom yell from napping on the sofa “Cook Quieter!”) Cover again.
Wait about 2-3 more minutes. Add the Kale leaves and stir again. At this point add enough liquid (either water, veggie broth, or orange juice) to cover the bottom of the pan and go up the side about 1/4 of an inch. For me this was probably about 1/4 cup of water because it’s all I had on hand. Stir it all up, and cover. Leave until the Kale is all the way cooked. Probably about 6-8 minutes. I did not leave it long enough, and I think the Kale was slightly undercooked. I always worry about over cooking things so I’ve begun to under cook stuff now. You can’t really under cook the Kale because people eat Kale raw in salads, but I think it’s better cooked.
When the Kale is cooked to your liking, put this mixture in big salad bowl. Add the previously cooked still warm grain and the cool orange chunks and mix it all up. Taste, add salt if necessary. Then Serve.
So I really liked this, as did my dad, but we both like Kale. Jon liked almost everything except he said, “I think I just don’t like Kale.” My mom liked everything but not the orange chunks. Tex loved the kale, he ate almost all of Jon’s. You’ll notice the Kale in the picture is not cut into 1 inch slivers. These chunks were too big for my taste (but still delicious), so I suggest cutting them into 1 inch slivers or smaller.
I’ll make this again. It was pretty yummy. The sweetness of the orange played in nicely with the bitterness of the Kale and the nuttiness of the Israeli couscous, but I also might try it with a different green, like Swiss Chard, Spinach, or even Arugula. If you try it let me know how it tastes!
P.S: I always use the word “sofa” when typing because I trying the spell the c-word for the same furniture item causes me anxiety. I never use the word sofa in conversation. I imagine if I did it would slip out in an English accent, and then I’d be embarrassed, because my English accent sounds like Lindsay Lohan’s in The Parent Trap.