I'm excited to report that a couple of writerly friends and I have started a writing group. I'm supposed to send them some writing, in fact, tonight, but because I'm terrified of the commitment that comes with being in a writing group, whatever that is, I'm blogging instead.
So! Back to kale! How stimulating a topic is kale? It's a leafy green sort of thing whose leaves resemble something you might configure into an impromptu sort of umbrella if you found yourself in a sudden downpour in a tropical jungle. It's a big, thick, dense kind of leaf that's totally unsuitable for wussy salady types of dishes. You'll never find kale cavorting with iceberg lettuce. If kale was featured in a piece of fiction, it would be the steady, darkly witty, fatherly character who nevertheless carries on clandestinely with the ladies in smoky underground bars and was a prize-winning bodybuilder in its youth. It would have villainous tendencies that it would spend its life overcoming, ultimately proving to itself (and to you, the avid reader) that the kale spirit is sufficiently strong to overcome those flaws inherent in its bitter, leafy nature.
More relevantly, kale makes a mean-ass fried snack.
And this is how: Take your kale leaves and tear them into 2" pieces or so. Scatter them across a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil over. Sprinkle on some salt. Spread them out in a single layer. I've heard it works better if you lay them across a metal rack on the baking sheet, but we don't do fancy metal racks around here (since we don't have any), and the non-rack method worked well enough to addict me to these suckers. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. The kale is done when it's stiff and crispy and yumster. I had to remove the done bits from the sheet and return the rest to cook longer in order to get them all crispy (a result of the no-metal-rack-method, presumably).
Kale! The End!
Also, here's a recipe for freash mint leaf ice cream. This stuff is like God's Gift to people who like to find leaves in their yard and make ice cream out of them. It's from Jeremy Jackson's book "Desserts That Have Killed Better Men Than Me" which thus far has never done me wrong:
Mint Leaf Ice Cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
35 mint leaves
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat the yolks, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl until pale and thickened slightly.
Heat the milk over medium-high heat until it just starts to bubble. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, stirring steadily.
Heat this custard mixture over simmering water for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until it's a little thicker than heavy cream. Pour it into a clean bowl and stir in the mint leaves. Stir in the cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Before making the ice cream, strain the mint leaves out. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. For soft ice cream, serve immediately, or freeze for a couple hours for harder ice cream.