I have often wondered why kale is just 'decoration on the plate' in restaurants, when it often may actually be the most healthy food on the plate! In fact, I usually eat everyone's 'decoration' (only after they have been given my little 'spiel' about the healthy benefits from all 'greens' and still don't want it).
In reality, the variety of kale usually used for the plate decoration (and the common variety available to purchase in grocery stores) is often tough and lacking in flavor (sad to say, sigh........) or so overly strong in flavor that it is hard to eat . However, kale and other greens do not have to be so blah, cooked to death, have pork fat added, etc, etc, in order to convince oneself to eat this healthy food. In fact greens of all types are what I consider a "power food", one of my top 10-20 ultra-healthy foods that I eat on a regular basis for their abundance of health-promoting nutrients and phytochemicals.
I first discovered a different variety of kale when looking at the little seed packages that came from the heritage garden at Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, VA) last year. I purchased one package of Early Curled Siberian Kale. We planted the seeds in our community garden plot, and although we had to compete with the browsing deer, we got a decent sized fall crop. Oh my goodness! I had never tasted kale that was so tender and delicious.
Go to a well-stocked grocery store, your local food co-op, or Farmers Market to look for a wide variety of kale and other greens (hopefully locally grown). Then what to do with them? The best, best, best book I have found with lots of ideas for cooking and eating greens is Spinach and Beyond: Loving Life & Dark Green Leafy Vegetables by Linda Diane Feldt, Moonfield Press, Ann Arbor, MI, ©2003.
Check your local independent bookstore for a copy, or it is also available to order from the publisher www.moonfieldpress.com/ and Amazon.com.
As I was looking in this book today, I even found a recipe that I had completely read over (i.e., not remembered at all!) during my earlier meanderings through this lovely book - dog treats made with greens!! Oh yea! Our 'grand-dog' Kaya just LOVES vegetables of all kinds, so here is another way for her to enjoy them (plus no worries on my part about the ingredients in the ones from the pet store).
So eat (and enjoy!) your greens. Yum, yum and woof, woof!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD