Monday, December 19, 2011

Spicy Peanut Kale

Only one week left until Christmas.

This year has flown by. I feel like I blinked and it was December. While it's tempting to work my way through the end of the year with all the projects clamoring for my attention, it's worthwhile to take a few days off to reflect on the year. And prepare for 2012, which should be a great year.

Just to let you in on my state of mind, I've been listening to "A Long December" by the Counting Crows quite a lot. It especially rings true to me because he talks about living in the canyon (where I live) and how it's getting cold in California. And how he hasn't seen the ocean in a long time.

I'm guilty of that as well.

My hubby and I are off to Floyd, Virginia on Wednesday for a week. While I wish the Adorable Monster could come with us, he's off to Mutt Maniacs. I'm sure he'll have a blast.

Over the holiday, we'll be seeing a lot of movies (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and War Horse), cooking up a storm, drinking tons of delicious vino, petting various animals (including, but not limited to dogs, cats, and horses), and enjoying the quiet of the countryside.

But before I fly the proverbial coop, here's a great winter recipe for Spicy Peanut Kale. It was inspired by one of my favorite side dishes at M Cafe on Melrose. We all know that kale is a superfood—and I always try to sneak it into any dish that I can. But kale, like most greens, can be a bit on the bland side if it's not prepared properly. Well, folks, this recipe is anything but bland.

The kale is quickly blanched and then tossed with a spicy peanut sauce made from soy sauce, fresh lemon juice, peanut butter, fresh ginger and garlic, and chili flakes (red pepper).

This dish is also great, if not better, leftover the next day.

Spicy Peanut Kale
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free
Print Recipe

  • 1 big bunch (about 8 cups) of kale, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (red pepper)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled

  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. To blanche the kale, quickly cook it in the water for about two minutes, or until tender. Once it's cooked, plunge the kale into cold water to shock it (this will preserve the color). Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
  2. To make the spicy peanut sauce, place the peanut butter, tamari or soy sauce, lemon juice, chili flakes, garlic, and ginger into a mini food processor. Process until blended together. It should be creamy and not too thick (a little water may be added if needed to thin it out). This step may also be done by hand (just mince the garlic and ginger first and then whisk the mixture together).
  3. Toss the kale with the spicy peanut sauce. Enjoy!

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