Fall is not my favorite season.
Yes, I know, blogland abounds with people raving about fall and there are Thanksgiving recipes everywhere. The cooler weather, the colors of the leaves, frost on the pumpkins, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin whatevers….
Yes. All that is fine, but the truth is I miss my garden.
I miss eating veggies and grilling out every night on the back porch.
I miss going out in my shorts and t-shirt every day at 3:00 to pick whatever looks good for dinner.
I miss iced mint tea on hot days and, well, you get it. Tomorrow it is supposed to snow…
So in an effort to extend the growing season here I planted a little fall garden when I harvested the garlic. Kale, Arugula, Spinach, Radishes, Green Onions, and Beets. And more beets. Can’t have too many beets…
We’ve been eating lots of Arugula salads with radishes and our last peppers…
But the kale…
I just don’t like it much. I know how nutritious it is. I know it is filled with vitamins, minerals, and all those omega good-for-yous. I know people make green smoothies from it. I just wish it tasted more like spinach. I wish our spinach had grown as well as the kale is growing.
So last week I decided I needed to pick some of that kale and eat the stuff. Kale Chips. Anything with olive oil and salt on it can’t be bad, right?
I watched a video.
From the video I deduced how it went wrong last year: I didn’t dry the leaves enough after washing them, and instead of becoming crispy little chips, they were soggy green leaves with burnt edges.
I washed each leaf thoroughly because the first one I picked up had a
little big green cabbage worm on it. I don’t like the thought of eating green cabbage worms. I stopped growing broccoli years ago for that very reason.
So I hand washed and dried every leaf, cut out the stalks, and sliced each leaf into 3-inch pieces. I left them on the counter to go check what the oven temperature should be (anywhere from 275 to 350 depending on whether you watch the video or go by Guy Fieri’s Food Network recipe).
When I returned to my neatly sliced, diced, seriously studied kale leaves, there it was.
And so I checked every leaf on both sides again.
Scrupulously. Somehow I can’t imagine the perky blonde cook on the video finding cabbage worms in her kale. So I’m mentioning it to you because no one else does. If you grow or buy organic kale, you’re going to have cabbage worms. (One way to get rid of them is soak your kale in salted water for 10-15 minutes; but honestly, that seems to me like diluting the minerals that kale is loaded with, so I prefer to get rid of them by hand.) Next year I’m going to try Swiss Chard instead…
I tossed them with olive oil and salt and baked them in a 275 degree oven for 22 minutes. They were
okay actually pretty good. And if there were any cabbage worms in there, at least they were dead and crispy.
…and for cooking regular greens, I’m using beet greens because cabbage worms don’t bother the beets.
And if you aren’t a greens fan, here is a great tip: Take 5-7 leaves of whatever fall green you like. I mix them usually. Stack the leaves and roll them lengthwise. Slice into quarter inch rolls, and then chop them again so you have little pieces. Throw them into your sautéed onions and garlic and then mix them into whatever you are cooking. It ramps up nutritional value, they cook down and one hardly notices them.
Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to count your blessings and eat your greens.