The plated diva

There are some fruits and vegetables that you know you can rely on no matter what – say your average carrot, celery, apple or tomato. They can be eaten raw, taste delicious cooked and are so laid back that they don’t even need you to peel or slice them before tucking in.

And then there’s kale.

Don’t get me wrong, I love eating kale – but let’s be honest here, a lot of work goes in to bringing a bunch of these dark, leafy greens to the table. First the bunch has to be washed carefully and the woody spine cut away from each leaf. After that you need to roughly chop the deveined leaves and sprinkle them with salt. Once the salted leaves have sweated it out for 5 minutes or so you have to give them a quick rinse & spin, and then it’s back into the bowl for an olive oil massage and some chill out time in the fridge.

Greek goddesses have turned up to parties in less time, and with less pampering, than it takes your average bunch of kale to agree to appear in a salad.

I’m sounding harsh because tonight’s salad – green & purple curly kale with pear & sweet potato – took nearly as long to prepare as the main dish. Having said that though it was delish, and the perfect accompaniment to Vefa Alexiandou’s Baked Giant Beans (from her book Vefa’s Kitchen 2009 Phaidon).

Vefa’s beans were amazing. I was at the San Fransisco Farmers’ Market last week & picked up a packet of giant Lima beans from the Rancho Gordo stall. After soaking them for 24 hours they came up perfectly in this dish – creamy and tender and not at all crumbly.
I simmered the soaked beans with celery, carrot & bay leaves for an hour. Then I drained them and placed them in an ovenproof dish.

To make the tomato sauce I sautéd onion & garlic in a little olive oil & then added a jar of passata (sorry Vefa! There was no time to strain a kilo of tomatoes tonight). When the heat was off I added salt & pepper, a pinch of sugar and about half a cup of chopped parsley.

After spooning the sauce onto the beans I topped the dish with sliced tomato, ground pepper and oregano. I then placed the lid on the dish & baked it for an hour in a 350F oven.

And an hour was just about the length of time I needed to prep the kale salad. No that’s not true – it’s a quick salad once you’ve prepped the leaves, but it’s great if it can rest in the fridge for an hour before serving.

The kids had never seen baked beans done this way & they loved it. And fortunately for me there’s enough left over for my breakfast tomorrow… But I’m not making a kale salad to go with it – who wants to get up at 5am for all that prep 😉

#vegan #kidfriendlyvegan #mindfuleating #wholefood #vefaskitchen #kale

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