08 February 2011

Kale and Potato Bake With a Honey Soy Glaze

It turns out kale may be my favorite vegetable. I keep having it at lunch - sauteed or baked; cut into strips, leaves, or tiny bits; served by itself, mixed in with a stir fry, even on pizza. Its prevalence could be simply a seasonal thing and my desire for it fleeting, but I eat it whenever I get the chance. One thing I don't eat a lot of are potatoes; I'm usually a rice-for-my-starch kinda guy. But I found myself at Whole Foods, trying to find some exotic flours, staring at fingerling potatoes as I considered dinner. The flour expedition was half a success - I found myself with a modest amount of spelt flour but none of the desired durum, but my bag of fingerlings looked delicious. So it goes.
I also walked out of there with a bunch of mushrooms, a star-shaped yellow squash, a zucchini, and a bag of kale. Can't forget the kale. What to do with these? Bake them! Except the kale, which can be baked to make delicious kale chips as a snack, but should mostly be cooked in a pan. A note to aspiring chefs: different ingredients have different baking times. Mushrooms don't take long, nor does zucchini, but potatoes and squash want quite a while in the oven. Whoops.
My olive oil is running low, a fact I wasn't aware of, so I improvised for the baking sauce. I was thinking Asian-influenced; sesame, cayenne, walnuts, soy sauce. And honey, just because I like it and thought the spice of cayenne could use a little sweetness. And for the kale I was adventurous and went with a very light steam/sautee with no oil instead of the more common heavy-on-the-oil sautee where you turn it to mush.
Kale/Potato Bake with Glaze: (serves ~2 if you have something else on the side, like bread or soup)
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 5 (or more) fingerling potatoes
  • 1 small box of mushrooms
  • 1 small squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 handful walnuts, crushed by hand
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400. Slice mushrooms, potatoes, squash, and zucchini into bite-sized cubes. Put cubes into mixing bowl and throw in the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and cayenne pepper. Toss to mix ingredients around. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and stick in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Dice the kale into tiny pieces. About ten minutes before the bake comes out of the oven, heat a frying pan over medium with the kale in it. If the kale is wet, add ~1/4 cup of water; if it is very dry, up it to 1/2 cup. Continue stirring. When the water is mostly sizzled away and the kale shrunk by about half (no more than 10 minutes), squirt in a small amount of lemon juice and toss in the walnuts, cooking for another few minutes. Don't let the kale get too mushy.

Pull out baking sheet and combine baked ingredients with sauteed ingredients; eat.

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