Saturday, November 20, 2010

lacinato kale with turnips and yogurt

I stare at the vegetables, trying to decide how to satisfy my leafy green vegetables addiction, and I always go home with lacinato kale. This time I grabbed a bunch of greens I'd never seen before. They looked like gigantic dandelion greens, big but tender, their colour a light green. I had no idea what they were. Then this woman came up to me and said that she had asked and found out that they were a variation of kale. Didn't look like it, but what do I know. And she said she cooked them, and they were not good at all. She had the demeanor (and looks) of an old hippie from a commune from the sixties, and I figured I had to trust her on matters of green vegetables. So I dropped it and went home once again with lacinato kale.

I wanted to try something a bit different. I decided to continue my experiments with root vegetables from last winter and combine the kale with turnips. I also wanted to make a yogurt sauce, because I miss the Turkish spinach with yogurt. (I miss it because they don't sell washed, clean, mature spinach here, and I get a severe reaction if I wash the spinach by hand. I swear. So I never make spinach.)

Slice one onion thinly and saute in oil.
Add to it seeded and sliced Fresno peppers (1 or 2, depending on how hot you like it).
Add the washed lacinato kale, sliced into one inch strips.
Add the peeled turnips, cut into one inch chunks.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add a bit of stock or water, and braise until almost done.

Combine about one cup of plain yogurt with one tablespoon of flour.
Add two teaspoons of tomato paste.
Mix well with a whisk so there are no lumps.
Add a quarter cup of the liquid from the kale to the yogurt mixture, to temper it.
Add this mixture to the kale slowly, in a steady stream, stirring continuously.
Bring back to simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
Adjust the consistency of the liquid in the pan by reducing it if too thin or adding more liquid if too thick.

You need to make sure that the flour gets cooked. Otherwise it'll be blecchy. Yup, that's a technical term.

So what do I think about the turnips in this dish? Meh. They had very little taste and no interesting texture. I think I'm through with my attempts to come up with something glorious with turnips. I don't mind eating them, but I haven't found a reason to choose them over something else when I'm cooking. I wouldn't crave them unless I was stranded on a turnip farm in the middle of a famine.

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