Monday, March 7, 2011

Cooking in the Garden Lenten Edition--Spring Greens

As my Zimbabwean friend says, we need "to tame the flesh." We Americans live lives of indulgence and entertainment. Lent is a way of building up our spiritual muscle gone flaccid with the ease of modern existence.

Being introduced to Christianity in a tradition that does not accept the blessing of a Liturgical Year, my friend answers the call to periodic fasting by choosing January, the month of his conversion. He understands the need for periodically calling yourself to a higher standard, for pitting your will against your desires. As Americans, we do indeed need to tame our overindulged lives a bit.

This year, our family is taking the plunge and going meatless for Lent. So the recipes over the next several weeks will have a Vegetarian spin to them. In addition to the discipline of abstaining from something we want and enjoy, we see this as an opportunity to broaden our palate, explore new recipes, and save some money.

While trying out some recipes in anticipation of Lent, we discovered Kale. My kids barely allow me the chance to get it cleaned before they are sneaking bites. I prefer mine cooked and in quantities! It is so incredibly good. Maybe this will entice you to give it a try, too.

I didn't take a picture of mine, this is from the Food Network.
Too many onions!
Gingered Kale
1 medium onion chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
1 dash ground ginger (or 1/2" slice of fresh, finely minced ginger)
1 bunch kale washed and stripped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Toss in all the ingredients and saute until the onions are translucent and the kale wilts. Serve warm.

To wash and strip kale
Fill a sink full of cool water and swish the kale to remove dirt. Let drain in a colander. Pat dry with a towel. Strip the leaves, being careful not to include too many of the stringy stems. My five year olds love to be in charge of this job, but I have to be watchful that there is enough left to cook after all the nibbling!

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