Prepping took a little longer than expected because I had to carefully rinse away aphids that were still attached to some of the leaves. That’s the downside of buying organic, pesticide-free vegetables. I was getting rushed for time, so I decided to use a short cut. For years now whenever I’ve shopped at Trader Joe’s, I’d stock up on Dorot garlic and basil frozen herb cubes. The garlic has 30 mgs sodium per cube, while the basil has just 5 mgs sodium per cube. A few days ago I was perusing the frozen food offerings at my favorite local grocer, when my eye caught the bright red Dorot logo. I just about started jumping up & down with joy when I discovered that the store now carried both the garlic and basil cubes. But even better, they carried the red pepper (0 mgs), ginger (10mgs), and cilantro (10 mgs) cubes as well. Of course, I had to snatch up all three.
Back to the kale – I poured some olive oil into a sauté pan and added two garlic cubes and one red pepper cube. Once everything was sizzling, I tossed in my chopped and now aphid-free kale leaves and added about 1/3 cup of water. Normally I use NSA chicken broth, but I really was rushing. I covered the pan and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes. That was it. Greens are definitely a personal preference: some people like them well cooked and very, very tender while others want them still crisp. The kale I made was tender but still had some texture.
I really liked the flavor of this particular kale variety. It was great warm, and tonight I’m going to serve it cold, drizzled with homemade balsamic vinegar syrup. (Instructions for making your own balsamic reduction are found near the end of this earlier post.) So, there you have it – Kale Kubed!
If you can find these cubes, don't hesitate to buy some. They're great during the winter months when fresh herbs are often hard to find. And this particular technique for greens can be adapted to other vegetables as well. For an Asian spin, use a light flavored oil and add some ginger & a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. For an Italian adaptation, add a sprinkling of oregano. For a Greek twist, omit the red pepper if desired and add some lemon juice right before serving.