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Friday, March 28, 2014

Coconut Creamed Kale

Because alliteration is adorable.

Creamed spinach is a thing.  So is creamed corn.  I'm not sure if I've ever had either of them, but they've been on my mind lately.  I can't explain why, that's just how my brain works.  But I got to thinking, if you can cream spinach and corn, can you cream other veggies?  Peas?  That's a thing, too.  What else?  How about kale?  Specifically, the half bunch of kale left in my fridge from last week's recipe?

Of course, I couldn't just go and follow someone else's recipe for this sort of thing.  It had to be creative, otherwise I wouldn't have anything to blog about!  I've had a can of lite coconut milk in the cupboard for a while, and I liked the name "coconut creamed kale" so much that I figured I just had to make this happen! 

Traditional creamed spinach starts with a roux (butter and flour) but I decided that the coconut milk had plenty of fat without the added butter [besides, I'm trying to watch my girlish figure these days].  So I used cornstarch as a thickener.  And instead of traditional nutmeg, I added a dash of Chinese 5 spice.  Best. Idea. Ever.  Seriously, don't skip this ingredient- it totally makes the flavor of this dish.

So again, this is a side dish, I would guess it yields about 4 servings.  (Hard to say since I eat all of my meals solo these days and I have no sense of portion control.)  So I served mine with pan-fried tempeh, which I was originally going to include in this post as well but honestly, it wasn't that great.  I ended up smothering it with BBQ sauce.  Oh well, any excuse to eat BBQ sauce is good enough for me.

15 oz can regular or lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Dash Chinese 5-spice
Salt and pepper
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped or torn

In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, cornstarch, and 5-spice.  Blend on high for a couple of minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic on medium heat with about 1/4 cup of water.  Cook for 5-7 min until onions are soft, adding more water 1 Tbsp at a time if veggies start to stick.  Add the coconut milk mixture and increase heat to allow sauce to bubble and thicken, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook another minute or two, adding a little more salt and pepper as desired.  Toss in the kale and stir to completely cover with sauce.  Cook on medium heat for 6-8 min, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted and heated through.  Serve hot.


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