I have been waiting for you for such a long, long time.
And now that you’re here, you’re playing games with me.
One minute, we’re pure magic—all fresh breezes and warm sunshine. Bailey and I go for an evening walk, his paws trotting past tiny green buds peeking out of the earth and I breathe in the new air, cold and clean, inhaling it down deep and sighing, happy sighing, the kind filled with satisfaction yet anticipation. The next, you’re waking me up in the middle of the night, my eyes swollen and my throat tight, while what feels like a hundred tiny hammers bang against my head and nothing—not the Vicks VapoRub® or the warm compress on my eyes or the two tablets of pain medication—makes me feel well again. I always forget about this part. Every year.
Then, just when I’m ready to give up on you—to say I’ll bide my time and wait for summer’s long, hot days—my mom buys and brings me a neti pot, a small contraption in the shape of a genie’s bottle that, when filled with lukewarm saltwater, clears my nasal passages and frees my airways and makes me breathe again, so I can taste your sweet, windy gusts that burst through my windows, signaling the rainstorm that will come, along with the temperate days and green, green grass.
Spring, I take it all back. I think I love you.
When I look at things clearly, I say you’re like kale. Does that make sense? Kale is dark green, leafy, sold in thick bunches wrapped with bands, filled with promise, the kind of produce you want to take home with you because it’s beautiful and healthy (!) and, you know, there will be a way to enjoy it. Even though it’s usually considered a winter vegetable, kale is easy to find on days like these in March, just like natural light and rainy evenings and smells of charcoal grills wafting through the sky.
But after I’d made a failed winter vegetable gratin and a botched attempt at blanched kale, I was ready to give up on kale. And then.
Essentially, this is what you do: Wash your kale and break it into pieces, then toss it with olive oil and vinegar. Lay these pieces flat across a parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
In the fast heat, the kale loses its moisture and becomes crispy, airy, full of the flavors of olive oil and salt. My friend Jackie said they reminded her of potato chips, and a few other testers said they couldn’t get enough. In fact, they’re so surprisingly tasty, you might not even realize you’re eating something filled with vitamins K, A and C, not to mention maempferol, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
It’s indeed possible, after having some of these, to find yourself forgetting preconceptions and declaring your affections boldly and loud, kind of the way you might after walking through wet grass, under blue skies, on a day before spring comes, like a girl in love.
adapted from ChowMama’s recipe posted at The Kitchn
1 bunch organic kale, torn into 1/2? pieces
3 Tablespoons organic olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash kale, and toss it in oil and vinegar until thoroughly coated.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 15 minutes or so, until crispy.