coconut kale with filipino garlic fried rice

Taranee pointed out this recipe to me because it’s quick and easy to make for a weeknight supper. I jazzed it up by adding her coconut kale to it, not that it needed it, but I’m not cooking as much and I need to move some of those vegetables before they spoil! The kale added just the right color to complement the eggs, and were satisfyingly chewy, coconut-flavored, and spicy. I also used up some leftover rice. Fried rice is good for that. This recipe was lightly garlicky, chewy;  a nice contrast between the slightly bitter kale, the bland eggs, crunchy green onions,  and al dente rice.

Coconut Kale with Filipino Garlic Fried Rice (adapted from The Kitchn)

Serves 4

2 teaspoons butter (optional; can also use vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
12 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 whole head of garlic, depending on the size)
4 cups cooked long­ grain brown-and-white rice (ratio 2:1)
4 cups kale, trimmed and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon coconut oil
red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce or fish sauce, to taste
2 green onions, chopped

Heat 2 teaspoons of butter or oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Beat the eggs with a dash of salt and pepper. Pour them into the pan and cook until the center is set. Roll up the omelet with a spatula. Turn the omelet out onto a plate and set aside. When it is cool enough to handle, cut it into strips about 1/4­inch wide x 2­ or 3­inches long.

Using the same pan or a separate wok, if you prefer, heat a tablespoon of oil over moderate heat and add the minced garlic. Fry the garlic, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning. When the garlic is crispy and golden, remove it from the pan (leaving the garlicky oil in the pan) and set aside.

In the same wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil until it just becomes fragrant. Add the kale and stir fry until it becomes wilted and turns a bright green. Sprinkle a little red pepper flakes all over and toss.

Stir in the rice. Make sure all the rice is coated with oil and then spread it across the pan in an even layer. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir and repeat this process until the rice is heated through.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or fish sauce into the rice, toss and taste, adding more if needed. Remove from heat. Serve the rice garnished with egg strips, scallions, a little more red pepper flakes, if desired, and the fried garlic.

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baked kale chips

Baked Kale Chips

Ingredients
1 large bunch of kale
1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon seasoning salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper or Cajun seasoning

Cut the stems and spines off each kale leaf and discard. Wash the leaves and make sure they are thoroughly dry. One way to dry them is to lay them out in a single layer on paper towels

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, put the washed and dried kale leaves. Add the oil and seasonings and toss gently. Spread the seasoned leaves in a single layer on the prepared baking tray. You may need to do this in two batches. Bake 10-15 minutes until the leaves turn dark green and become paper thin and dry.

Remove from the oven and let the kale chips cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Repeat the process with the second batch of leaves. Eat when cool. If there are any chips left over store them in an air-tight canister. Delicious! They are like eating roasted Japanese nori seaweed leaves.

Variation

  • Instead of Cajun seasoning, sprinkle red pepper flakes to taste on the kale leaves.

pictures of pretty (delicious) things to eat

I had such a busy week wrestling with the dissertation that I didn’t have time to post something, but I did have time to cook! What can I say? It’s therapy. So I made this Smilebox collage, and I  set it to Joni Mitchell because Chelsea Morning is all about food. What we’ve got here (clockwise from the top) is: black bean veggie burger on an iceberg lettuce “bun,” roasted sweet potato wedges, and cilantro dipping sauce; zucchini pie with chopped turkey ham; brown rice sautéed in coconut oil; chicken with vegetables; and finally, a simple spinach sauté with a poached egg hat.

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Taranee’s golden tofu and stir-fried kale in coconut oil

One warm night in Jamaica when I was a little girl, my Dad and I couldn’t sleep. So we went quietly to the kitchen. He didn’t turn on the kitchen light. Instead, he turned on the gas burner. In the blue light, I watched him  pour two inches of coconut oil into a heavy skillet and when it was hot, he tossed in a handful of colorful plastic-like disks that immediately puffed up into pale pink, white, and green chips that smelled vaguely of shrimp. They were warm and crunchy and salty. When I was growing up in Jamaica, coconut oil was not marketed for its health benefits. It was cheap and we bought it in huge cans.  Coconut oil eventually fell into disrepute but it is now enjoying an expensive comeback as a healthy fat. At Whole Foods in New York City it is sold by the jar, the cheapest being  $7.99. Instead of the oil that I remembered,  it is a solid resembling Crisco all vegetable shortening, and has a light coconut aroma.

Taranee’s Golden Tofu and Stir-Fried Kale in Coconut Oil

INGREDIENTS           

1 package (14 1/2 ounces) firm tofu, drained, cut crosswise into 6 slabs 3/4 inch wide), each slab halved horizontally and cut into triangles
1 1/2 pounds kale
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2-4 teaspoons canola oil
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (optional)

Preparation

1. To prepare the kale, fold each leaf in half and using a sharp knife, remove the main rib and stem and discard. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels. Top with more paper towels and another baking sheet; weight with canned goods. Let tofu drain, about 20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a skillet. Fry tofu triangles in a single layer. You may need to do this in batches. Fry until golden brown on one side; flip and fry. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, add 2 remaining teaspoons canola oil in a large skillet. Toss kale in oil until just wilted and bright green. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Spoon on the coconut oil and heat through until melted.

4. Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar (if using) and wasabi paste (if using); set aside.

5. Serve tofu and kale with hot cooked brown rice and the dipping sauce on the side.