Do you ever get a word stuck in your head? I do. A lot. And I’m not talking about some chorus from a song or a jingle or a saying or the constant nagging from your various family members that has just become a soft, unintelligible constant hum every time you think of anything and what kind of sick joke is this humming anyways?
Nope. None of those things. Just a single word. For me, it used to always be “balsamic.” Go on, say it in your head. Feels good, right? Now do it 1000 more times.
I bring this up because the other day I was sitting amongst friends and suddenly “braising” came to mind. Just…braising. The thing is, I didn’t know what “braising” entailed.
“I think it’s like a quick cook in water?” – Friend A, who was thinking of “blanching.”
“I think it’s a character from Golden Girls?” – Friend B, who was thinking of “Blanche Devereaux.”
Further investigation explained it to me this way: braising is when you lightly fry something, add liquid and let it simmer, covered, for like 15 minutes.
And then, with “braising” running circles between my ears, a beautiful thing happened: The Union Square Whole Foods had 2/$4 kale. Of various kinds. Do you need a minute to take that in? I did. Then I knocked over a tower of oranges with my backpack. Minute done! Brisk escape underway! Dinosaur and Curly Kale in hand!
If you’re not in New York (wait – has no one ever told you it’s all happening in New York?), feel free to use whatever similar greens you want and then move to New York. If this 2/$4 kale deal is going on in every single Whole Foods nationwide, please do not tell me.
After you’ve braised your kale, you might feel a little like doing something crazy with it. It’s a totally normal reaction. So here’s what you do: you bake a sweet potato when you get home from Whole Foods because you’ll probably have use for a sweet potato in an hour maybe, scoop out the inside, and stuff it with braised kale. The sweetness of the sweet potato (that’s the defining feature of sweet potatoes, fyi) plus the slightly bitter greens is nice and stuff. Keep the scooped out potato to mash or mix it with the kale for an even wilder time. Everyone loves sweet potato boats. Except for people who are boating. People who are boating do not like sweet potato boats. Something about buoyancy and “Molly, you’re an idiot.”
BRAISED KALE in…SWEET POTATO BOATS
feeds 6 or so? It’s a lot of kale but that’s never stopped anyone hip ever…
- 2 big bunches of kale, de-ribbed and chopped
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste (or use some awesome Beautiful Briny Sea Campfire Salt like I did.)
- cooking spray (you can use olive oil too, just I don’t)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- some sweet potatoes
boating with molly!
Preheat your oven to 400. Toss however many sweet potatoes you plan on making into adorable boats. Bake for an hour.
Halfway through your sweet potato baking, get out a large sauce pan. Spray a generous amount of cooking spray in there over medium heat. Toss the shallots in and let them fry for a couple minutes. Toss them around some so they don’t burn. Add the garlic, cook another 30 seconds or a minute. Throw in the kale. It’s a lot of kale, I know. If you have to make it in two parts, do so (I did so). The kale will shrink, however, so if your pot is big enough, go cray on it. Spray a bit more cooking spray in there and toss the kale with the shallots and garlic. Season with your spices or the smoky salt if you have some. Toss some more and let the kale cook a minute or so. Add the vegetable stock (or water) and bring the it down to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and delicately spoon out the insides, leaving a ¼”ish wall. Either mix the scooped out sweet potato with some of the braised kale or just stuff them in the sweet potatoes as is. Eat!