Kale is easy to grow in our climate, and can grow year round except in the most extreme cold winters. The taste of the leaves becomes sweeter as the winter progresses, making it a wonderful cold weather vegetable when little else is being harvested locally. There’s even a variety of kale called “Hungry Gap,” a British term for the time between summer growing seasons.
Besides the leaves, kale flower buds are also an edible delicacy (see photo). When the plant starts to “bolt” as weather warms, a long shoot grows from the center and flower buds form on top. They look a little like broccoli florets. If you pick the buds before they start to open up into flowers, they are tender and delicious raw on salads, or lightly sauteed for 2-3 minutes.
Stems of kale leaves are large and a bit tough. To prepare kale for cooking, remove the leaves from the stems. You can do this quickly and easily by grabbing the leaf loosely just above the stem end and dragging your grip along the stem toward the top. The leaves pull free as you go.
As you’ll see in the recipe below, you’ll want to prepare a lot more kale than you think you’ll need. As with other leafy greens, the leaves cook down to a much smaller volume.
This recipe also includes quark, an ingredient which might be unfamiliar to you. It’s a cheese product similar to ricotta in texture. The flavor is a little more tangy. It’s delicious!
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready In:
1 hr 25 min
- 1 large head kale, about 1-3/4 pounds (home garden)
- 1 Tbsp butter (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- 1/4 lb. of garlic scapes (Broadview Farm, Everson)
- 1/2 tsp salt (see Exceptions)
- 4 large eggs (neighbor’s roadside egg stand, Lummi Island)
- 1 container (16 oz) quark (Appel Farms, Ferndale)
- 3/4 cup milk (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
- 3/4 cup grated aged gouda cheese (Appel Farms, Ferndale)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-1/2-inch deep dish glass pie plate or rectangular baking dish with butter and set aside.
Pull kale leaves off tough stems, and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 inch square.
In Dutch oven or large deep pot, heat butter until hot. Add garlic scapes and salt, and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add chopped kale leaves until wilted and excess moisture evaporates, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix eggs, quark, milk, and grated gouda. Stir in scapes-kale mixture.
Spoon mixture into pie plate. Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted 2 inches from center comes out clean and top is nicely browned.
Serve with Raw Kohlrabi Salad or any fresh salad.
Appel Farms Cheese Shoppe, 6605 Northwest Road, Ferndale (open Mon-Sat 9a-6p)
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham
Roadside egg stand, Lummi Island