Kale Is Cool…
February 18th, 2012 - By Therese Madden
Even when it's served hot. This versatile vegetable is the darling of veggie lovers, but don't think this hearty green doesn't belong on everyone's table. Discover why you should make it part of yours.
Ever notice how a vegetable can get a lot of play? You know all of a sudden it's on all the menus, recipes are easy to find and the food TV stars are using it? Right now that vegetable seems to be kale. Registered Dietician Althea Zanecosky has noticed the trend, "kale is called the queen of greens and as a dietician who has observed vegetables come in and out over the last 20 years. I think the first really in vegetable was at least 20 years ago and it was broccoli. And ever since broccoli, which is still a pretty cool vegetable, was the number one hit vegetable, other vegetables have come in and out of that circle of what is trendy and right now it's kale. I never would have thought that I would have seen people making kale chips in their oven, but that's something that seems to be happening."
What else has been happening for kale is that it's been in the national news. In December, the fast food chain Chick-fil-A sent out a cease and desist letter to a man in Vermont who was making t-shirts that read "Eat More Kale." The concern was that this is too close to the chicken chain's slogan "Eat Mor Chikin."
Bo Muller-Moore, started making these t-shirts 10 years ago at the request of a local kale farmer. "Let me be honest with you, I had never heard of Chick-fil-A so I wasn't doing a parody, or a playoff or looking to somehow steal any of their thunder, I had come up with an original design based on an original product that they are not even selling. They are selling chicken sandwiches, I am selling hand printed t-shirts." Muller-Moore has a team of legal professionals helping him fight what he sees as a modern day David and Goliath story. As a small business owner, he does not plan on backing down. He will admit all the press has been good for his t-shirt business and good for kale. "Since my story went national back in December, you can trust me that I've gotten a boatload of e-mails of support from just people from around the U.S. One of the emails I get on a daily basis is, 'hey I went to my co-op today and there is no kale on the shelf, the produce manager swears he can't keep it in anymore.' "
At Essene Market and Café, a natural food store in Philadelphia they serve a lot of kale. Eric Anderson is the Executive Chef, "when you eat kale, you feel better, that is the bottom line, I feel it. A lot of customers say when they seem to go without kale for a while they need to go back and get their little kale jumpstart. So, I think we should all eat more of it."
This hearty winter green is great in soups, tossed with pasta, or served raw in a salad with Asian style dressing. Unlike most lettuce, kale can be dressed the night before and is good to go for lunch the next day. Adding a little citrus or vinegar will cook the greens enough to make them tender. Chef Anderson is also a fan of kale made another way. "One of my favorite things that I like is something out of my childhood, my grandparents always made potatoes with kale and it is something that has grown on me over the years and I love it, I like puréeing it, puréeing the mash potatoes with kale, it's really, really good." Sounds like the recipe for green mashed potatoes. Good timing too with Saint Patrick's Day just around the corner.