Kale-fornia Knows How to Party
By Finola Rodriguez - Project Specialist and Former Health Educator
A story of how I accidentally ordered and happily consumed 20 bundles of kale in less than a week.
As a perk of working with API Forward Movement, I have the opportunity of ordering local, sustainably farmed fresh Asian produce from one of our programs called, “Food Roots.” Rather than rolling through my usual grocery stores, I wanted to be able to support the Asian American small farms and other farmers of color in California by ordering some produce for my weekly meal prep.
Little did I know that by ordering a half case of kale, I would not only have predicted 2-3 bundles but a giant box nearly spilling with 20 dark green leafy monsters! In utter disbelief, I immediately contacted the program manager, because there was no way I paid only $6 for this much kale…
Reason being, I had always paid about $5 for a small plastic case of greens at the store and now I, a less than five feet tall filipina, needed to think of ways of how not to waste this beautiful produce!
Pulling a Forrest Gump
If you have not seen this 1994 blockbuster hit, there is an unforgettable scene where the main character and his best friend, Bubba, cooked shrimp a trillion different ways. One hilarious quote of Bubba is stated below:
“Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea.You can barbecue it,boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried.”
Thinking like Bubba, I came to find out that there were actually tons of ways to incorporate this superfood into your diet! On top of it I was blessed with a vegan roommate who was more than happy to relieve me of some of the load. I even used this abundance of kale as an opportunity to feed the homeless. Not to mention I experienced multiple health benefits since incorporating it into my diet!
2. Crispy, Spicy Kale Chips. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F, remove the ribs, and use scissors to cut into small pieces. Lay onto a baking sheet covered in foil then toss with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and olive oil. Set a timer for 15 minutes and Viola! A delicious, nutrient dense chip substitute.
1. Boiled Kale: I simply boiled water and added some coconut aminos, and sprinkled salt and pepper. It took less than 10 minutes and served as a lovely warm side vegetable next to a protein and grain.
4. Strawberry Poppyseed Dressed, Broccoli Kale Salad. Every month my church’s young professional’s ministry and I get to adopt a meal at Pasadena Union Station. We took some time to massage the kale to reduce some of the bitter flavor and to make it easier for our guests to chew. We chose a sweet strawberry poppyseed dressing to counter the strong taste, and folded in some pre bagged broccoli slaw. Last, we added some extra olive oil and lemon juice because kale is notorious for sucking up moisture, and received many compliments for the recipe!
3. Smoked Salmon Salad. I literally whipped this together in less than 7 minutes. Buy pre-smoked salmon and throw it on chopped salad. I added some taiwanese cucumbers, bell peppers, sugar plum tomatoes and Hass avocados. There was so much flavor from the savory fish I needed less than a tablespoon of dressing!
Benefits and Background
I most likely will not be ordering this much kale, however, I enjoyed the challenge and will continue to order from Food Roots for the superb quality of their produce. Little to no kale was wasted in this experience and I saved so much money by not eating out. Not to mention my teeth and gums felt so healthy from all the chewing and surprisingly, my skin was GLOWING too! Check out https://www.foodroots.co/ for more information on our program and happy cooking to you all!