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Posted on Jul 28, 2007 | 13 comments

Purple kale lunches

Purple kale lunches

Purple kale lunch

Contents of my lunch: Pork and Chinese spinach gyoza (boiled) with soy/vinegar dipping sauce, sauteed purple kale with garlic and red wine vinegar (loose recipe below), curly green-leaf lettuce, tiny black Corinth Champagne grapes, and a fresh lychee. I didn’t know that Zante currants are actually dried black Corinth grapes, and not actually true currants! The purple kale was strikingly beautiful in the store, and cooked up simply with a basic recipe from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. I turn to the Chez Panisse Vegetables book when I’ve got an interesting new vegetable from the farmer’s market but haven’t yet figured out how to showcase its flavor — trust Alice Waters to bring out the peak flavor of fresh, local produce.

Morning prep time: 12 minutes, mostly because it took a while to bring the water to a boil for the store-bought frozen dumplings. The kale was leftover from dinner, and I used pre-filled sauce containers for speed.

Packing: I used the curly leaf lettuce as an edible divider to keep the kale away from the fruit. I drained the kale in a mini strainer and bowl before packing to keep the sauce from leaking into the rest of the lunch, and for better packed lunch food safety. Packed in a 500ml Leaflet bento box.

Potsticker lunch for preschooler

Cooking: Saute a head of chopped, washed, slightly wet kale leaves (minus stems) in a little olive oil. Once the kale has reduced down, add a little extra water and a minced garlic clove, cover, and cook on medium-low heat until tender (5-15 minutes, depending upon the maturity of the kale). When tender, remove lid and let the remaining water evaporate. Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar per head of kale (or to taste), salt and pepper, and serve. I added a teaspoon of sugar in hopes that Bug would eat it (taking the edge off of the bitter greens), but no go. Big hit with the adults, though!

 

Contents of preschooler lunch: Same as mine, with the addition of a cheese triangle and plum tomatoes. Bug appears to be on a strike against purple food, though, as he was unimpressed with the purple kale (green seems to be okay, though).

Packing: The cheese wedge acted as a divider to keep the flavor of the kale away from the rest of the lunch. Bug ate (inhaled?) the gyoza with his hands — it’s one of his favorites. Packed in two tiers (180ml & 280ml) of a 4-tier nesting Thomas the Tank Engine box.

Purple kale lunch

My husband loves kale, so he got extra. I pre-peeled the lychee to make it easier to eat. Packed in a 600ml two-tier box.

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  1. ohhhhhhh i love kale, thanks for reminding me about it because sometimes i forget about these vegetables i love!!! lol. was the recipe for the kale easy? i have red wine and garlic, how did you sautee it?

  2. Oh cooked red or purple kale is food winter here, actually it’s a christmas dish. The weird thing about that is that it is NOW that the kale is a new veggie and cooks the best but how do you change tradition huh?

  3. @1 from Summers Love:
    Yes, super easy! Saute the chopped, washed, slightly wet kale in a little olive oil. Once the kale has shrunk down, add a little extra water and a minced garlic clove, cover, and cook on medium-low heat until tender (5-15 minutes, depending upon the maturity of the kale). When tender, remove lid and let the remaining water evaporate. Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar per head of kale (or to taste), salt and pepper, and serve. I added a little sugar in hopes that Bug would eat it (take the edge off of the bitter greens), but no go. (Edited the post to add the recipe…)

  4. hi, love your blog and all your fantastic bright colors and compositions. I am a longtime food packer but just starting to make a bento foray. One question: do you guys microwave whatever you’ve brought along? Did you guys eat those gyoza cold? I can’t figure out how to deal with different temperatures within the same container, and a lot of bentos are not microwaveable (esp. if metal obviously). I am sure you’ve dealt with this somewhere but I didn’t see it…

  5. Love all your bentos, tips, and mama-musings! I was thanking you a few days ago when I grabbed one of my pre-filled sauce containers in a hurry. I am also organization0-obessed and mama, I think you rock! :D

  6. Okay, so my superpower is making milk and being able to deliver it fresh while typing at the same time…you thought it was my spelling? lol

  7. @2 from Jessica:
    That is funny — I assume that purple/red kale is around at Christmas too, though? It really is beautiful in the markets now…

  8. @4 from Bess:
    These particular lunches were eaten at room temperature (it was a cool day here in San Francisco), but that’s not to say that you can’t pack a lunch in separate containers according to what temperature you’d like to eat it. So maybe hot foods in a thermal food jar or a microwaveable container, and cool/cold foods in a regular container with an ice pack in an insulated lunch bag…

  9. @5 & 6 from Kym:
    (bwah ha hah) Hey thanks, Kym! Had to laugh at the typing/milking line; the kittens and Bug do their best to get in the way over here, but I’m not sure what my superpower is yet…

  10. @7, Biggie, right that’s what I mean. You have it as a wonderful new veggie now but lets wait to have it until christmas?!? I haven’t seen many recipes using kale in regular cooking outside of that christmas dish.
    I have never been that fond of it to be honest, although kale on a whole is a wonderful source of nutrients. Kale cooked for christmas here is more like a relish, not a meal in itself. You know how fondness of some food items is decreased when the spirit of foods is cooked out of it, rather it is bashed to death and then stomped on it ;)? That has unfortunately been my experience with kale. I did however recently cook a pasta recipe using radicchio and I threw in a tiny bit of fennel as well as a little bit of endive because they were so gorgeous. Turned out great. The base for the sauce was bagna cauda.

  11. @10 from Jessica: I hear you on how great ingredients can be ruined — such a pity. On your pasta, though, just last week I made a dinner pasta with radicchio and Italian pork sausage that was really lovely — the sausage was an excellent counterpoint to the slight bitterness of the radicchio. Turns out that sausage and radicchio is a classic flavor combination; now I understand why.

  12. @11. Biggie, I was pretty against radicchio and endives before cooking this dish, although something tempted me into trying so something can turn me around on kale I am sure. And I had never tried bagna cauda. It was the most fragrantful sauce ever prepared in my kitchen, need to re-work that recipe some but it should turn out great.

  13. kale is in my top five favorite vegetables EVERRRR! (I would’ve done well w/ hubby’s box hehe.)