Have you heard the news? Kale is a trending vegetable. Kale is out in the Twitter world with its very own hashtag. You know something has ‘arrived’ when that happens. Until quite recently, I was not sold on the wonder of kale.
Let me take a gardening digression, here. Many years ago, my father-in-law presented me with an envelope that had the words Russian Kale written on the sealed flap. He proceeded to tell me, “I brought these seeds home from the prairies on our last visit. It’s a particularly hardy variety of kale. It might grow well where you guys are.”
Truer words were never spoken. That year we planted a few of those kale seeds. Not understanding that this type of kale is best eaten when it is young and tender, we let it grow and we weren’t wild about the strong taste when we tried it. We didn’t bother with the rest of it and a few of the stalks got as thick as a small child’s wrist, overwintered and flowered the next spring and into the summer. Quite pretty, really – assuming, of course, one didn’t realize the inevitable outcome – four or so feet high, delicate green leaves with deep purple veins and yellow flowers. These huge plants, bearing innumerable seeds, eventually found their way into the compost.
Suffice to say, we never planted kale again. Every single year we get carpets of tiny kale plants coming up everywhere that we had spread compost and even some spots that I am sure we didn’t. What a pain! We patiently weeded these kale plants out, letting a few go to flower for the drama of it all. We were not kale eating fans.
This year all that changed. We discovered how wonderful the small kale is as a salad green. I tried out a recipe for quinoa/kale patties that we simply love. Kale, chopped fine and layered into lasagne – let me just say, you will not miss the spinach. Our newest garden strategy is to allow those baby kale seedlings to grow. As they get to be 3 to 4 inches high, we thin them out and use them. Eventually, the other plants take over.
Here is my somewhat adapted recipe for the quinoa/kale patties. There is a bit of chopping involved, so I like to make a double batch and freeze the excess. You can tell from the photo that these are the frozen ones – we ate all the fresh ones before I could take a picture – darn! They were so good, though.
- 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa – I use an organic red variety
- 4 cups of kale, chopped small
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ cup chopped chives – I’ve used fresh parsley or basil or a combination of all three
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup grated cheese – I used a really strong Romano last time and it was great.
- ¾ cup finely ground bread crumbs
Form into patties – this is a cinch since cooked quinoa is really sticky. Fry on each side, in olive oil, for approx. 5 minutes. And there you have it – a delicious treat with two super popular foods rolled into one yummy package.