Out of all the vegetables I've grown thus far, my lacinato kale has been the easiest and most productive; growing right out of grass and weeds with little fertilizer and no irrigation. The kale you're likely to find at the grocery store is frilly and curly looking, but lacinato kale plants have long and strappy leaves that make them a standout architectural plant in the garden. Kale is not touted as a summer crop here in Florida and is always recommended for the winter growing season, but my lacinato kale has been resilient with highs in the mid-90's. I'm still harvesting now, and it's summer.
To harvest, I either cut off a whole head several inches above the ground so that new stems will regrow, or I just remove the lower leaves and allow the plant to get taller and taller. The ribs in the center of each leaf can be tough, so I cut them out with kitchen scissors before cooking. I used to use a knife but scissors are a lot easier... not to mention more fun.
Quitting Takeout Week Two
I started off the week by picking a handful of datil peppers from the garden and steeping them in white vinegar to make my own 'pepper vinegar'. Creative name, right? You can find this condiment all over restaurants in the Southeast and I thought it would be a good way to put my overly spicy datil peppers to use without setting my tongue on fire. I'll be sure to share a recipe or something in an upcoming post.
|This was Monday's dish... yummy, but nothing compared to the kale skillet.|
But on Tuesday I perfected my kale and sausage skillet recipe by adding two ingredients: Bacon and pepper vinegar! So far this has been our favorite dish, out of everything else I've ever made. The recipe has been tweaked a few times and I definitely think that the tangy spiciness of the pepper vinegar and the sweet smokiness of the bacon made all the difference in the world.
Savory Kale and Sausage Skillet
1/3 Box Vegetable Penne Pasta (or plain)
1 lb Italian Sausage
Pepper vinegar to taste (or a dash of hot sauce)
2 rashes bacon, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
Make pasta according to package directions (al dente is best), rinse, toss with a small amount of olive oil and set aside.
While waiting for the pasta's water to boil; rinse kale, pat dry and cut out the large ribs with a knife or cooking scissors. Toss out the ribs, grab a bunch of de-ribbed leaves and cut into small pieces.
Chop bacon into small pieces and cook in a frying pan until most of the fat has been rendered. Add Italian sausage and break apart, stirring until browned.
Once the sausage has browned, add the kale and chicken stock - and stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the kale is tender. Turn burner off and stir in pasta. Serve and enjoy!
Stay tuned for the next day's dish: Datil Salmon with cheesy bacon grits and pan-fried okra, with bourbon peaches a'la mode for dessert!