I offered my husband two dinner choices when he got home tonight. He seemed excited by both choices: squash pot pie or black bean enchiladas. And then I realized preparing the squash would take too long, and that I was missing ingredients for the enchiladas. Uh oh, disappointment. Should we order something?
Why can't I just be prepared lately? I'm always like 90 percent, realize I've forgotten something, with nowhere to go buy it nearby, and end up throwing out the ingredients I did buy when they go bad later in the week.
I ended up making a mish-mosh of things. It was one of those multi-ethnic prepared-food meals supplemented by a fresh cooked vegetable. I can't even imagine the concoction I've created in my belly right now. I started with warmed tortilla chips with salsa, as I set to prepare enchiladas. I finished some white wine from last night. I fried a few Macro Vegan Thai Dumplings we bought 2 weeks ago. I baked some Gardein tenders and Alexia red potato fries for a main course. And then, I managed to put the Kale to use, as well - also bought 2 weeks ago, yet still fine... miraculously.
The Kale was actually really good. It didn't seem like it was going to be. I made it up as I went, and in following the same "I didn't plan any of this" theme, it refused to be cooked at the same time as the tenders and potatoes. At first it was stubbornly tough. So I gave in and added water and covered it on a simmer while we ate the rest of our dinner. When I uncovered it, what a doldrum-dark shade of green it was! Not attractive.
I brought it straight to the table for eating, bypassing my lamp-lit photo area, thinking it was not going to be what I'd hoped. Not worthy of sharing, or admitting. But, it was just tender enough, with slight bitterness. The onions added their sugars to give it a sweetness and textural contrast. Most importantly, toasted almond topping makes everything green taste better.
Braised Kale and Onion Almondine
Approx. 40 minutes
1 bunch of Kale
2 T olive oil
1/4 C onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C vegetable stock + water or stock as needed
2-3 T white wine
Salt & Pepper
Toasted almond slices
1. Rinse the kale and remove the rib of each leaf by folding in half and running a chef's knife down the inside of the rib. Chop the ribs finely, and set aside. Chop the leaves into manageable pieces.
2. Heat olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they start to get tender, about 8 minutes. Add the kale ribs and garlic, cooking 4 more minutes.
3. Add kale leaves a handful at a time, letting them wilt before adding more. When all leaves have been added, add the stock. Cook until stock evaporates, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper. Add the wine. You can add a dab of vegan margarine or butter at this point to give more flavor.
4. When the wine cooks off in a few minutes, add a bit of water or stock, enough to stay a bit liquid in the pan - a couple tablespoons. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes until kale is tender. Season as needed and serve topped with almonds.