Kale, Lentils, Egg

After examining our horrendous monthly spending on groceries on mint.com [the most fantastic expense-tracking software ever], Evan and I decided to be more conscientious of prices when we go to the grocery store. This basically means no, “hmm, I’m hungry. mmmm maybe I should go to Whole Foods and buy ten dollar-a-piece ribeye steaks tonight even though I have a mountain of dried beans and frozen chicken back home.” Okay but seriously, the last time I went to Whole Foods and got ribeye steaks at ten bucks a pop, they were effing delicious, and so easy to cook in my kitchen, on my stove top. I’ve been dreaming about repeating the experience ever since. When I do, I will grace you, all zero of my readers, with photos of my delectable ribeye steaks.

BUT no steaks today. Instead, I thought, hmm, perhaps I’ll stop by the farmer’s market at Duke on the way home — Duke organizes a CSA pick up slash farmers market in the parking lot across from the Sarah P Duke Garden pavilion every Tuesday from 4-6. It’s mostly for people who are CSA members, but usually they have farmers selling veggies to vitamin-deficient losers like me who don’t want to commit to eating an entire box of vegetables every single week. Feeling all antsy pantsy from the 80 degree weather yesterday, I head down to the parking lot with Napoleon, the most obnoxious dog in the world, and look around for the heaps of veggies. Specifically, I was hoping for truckloads of kale, and possibly some red cabbage. I am 90% positive I have an iron deficiency, hence the cravings for steaks and kale, but its nothing that a regimen of ignoring-and-hoping-it-will-go-away  won’t cure. REGARDLESS. I get down there, and theres ONE TRUCK there. And they have a checklist with people’s names on it who have prepaid. However, I couldn’t tell at first if it was a CSA truck or random helpful farmer truck, so I got out of my car and meandered around the parking lot, acting like i was taking my dog for a walk, then meandered over to the pavilion to see if i was in the wrong place (if you get confused, don’t ask the douche who is sitting inside at the desk. He has no idea that there is supposed to be a farmers market in the parking lot), then meandered back into the parking lot, while the Vallmer Farm Representative stared me down with his beady little eyes (okay, so, hyperbole. I’m sure there was just nothing else interesting to look at), and I was hoping to get away with not looking like a lost idiot, but then Napoleon decided to take a huge dump about ten feet in front of Farmer Joe. I frantically pat my pockets, hoping that I’ll get lucky and that previous-me stuffed a plastic baggie in them. Nothin doin’. Freshly washed jeans. Damn. I look around to see if anyone other than Hillbilly Hal saw Napoleon take an unsanctioned poo. Immediately I spot a couple in their early thirties, sitting in their blue Lexus SUV, staring at me accusingly. I know what they’re thinking. It’s so obvious. Pick up your shit. You don’t have a baggie? what an irresponsible dog owner. i bet you let your dog run off leash too. And I stare right back at them, mentally communicating across the blacktop. So what if i let my dog run off leash every once in a while? You’re so proud of yourself for owning a Lexus SUV. Why don’t you go home and think about all the baby penguins you murder every single day? i bet you go to Pentecostal Church too. After a staring battle that consisted of them staring at me while I stared at the ground, hoping that they weren’t actually thinking evil thoughts about me, they won. It wasn’t the simple fight of Irresponsible dog owner vs environment killer — it was so much more complicated than that. Apparently leaving your dog poop out in the open contaminates local water supply, making me BOTH an irresponsible dog owner and an environment killer. Thus shamed,  I go to my car, hunt around for a baggie, and go back and pick up Poley’s turd and put it in the trash. Now who contaminates water supplies, BITCH? I mentally do that thing where I lunge forward at my enemies, thrusting my arms back and my head forward in a display of physical power, but in real life just shyly duck my head into the protective insides of my 40 highway-mpg-hyundai elantra. Melissa:1. Lexus Owners: 0.

So after this flood of emotions, I am disappointed that i won’t be getting any kale. I return home in shame, my stomach grumbling and my mind mentally pawing through our refrigerator and ghetto open pantry. Soon after arriving home, unfortunately, Napoleon starts flipping his shit. We drove by the park, and dumb dog thought he was going to get to play fetch. After the yapping doesn’t cease, I decide to walk to Whole Foods, and to drag my miniature beast along with me. On the way there, I continue to mentally paw through my freezer, and I come up with the bacon that i’d stuffed in there last month. SCORE!!! FLASH OF BRILLIANCE AND WHITE LIGHT: Fry bacon, and then cook kale in bacon grease, and have leftover curry lentils on the side. omg. anything fried in bacon grease is always really, effing, good.

I get home, and get started. (P.S. Two bunches of kale at whole foods is $3.05. wtf.)

Napoleon is successfully exhausted, as you can see from the photo of him resting upon his window-sill throne that Evan covered in royal red plush blanket using his man-skills.

Napoleon's about to pass out

All right so, step one: Take cast iron dutch oven and heat it up! Medium high, high, medium, whatever. Supposedly with cast iron you don’t have to heat really high because it holds heat really well, but i find that searing hot cooking surfaces are the bomb. [and i also find sometimes that there is no better way to express emotions and feelings than by using expressions i learned in sixth grade]. Step 2. Remove bacon from freezer. Don’t bother defrosting, defrosting is for pussies. Chop bacon into small bits while frozen using huge chefs knife that one of your awesome relatives got you for your wedding (this is not to discount the dutch oven, which was a surprise gift from family friends, and happens to be my most highly valued but previously-undesired present).  Step 3. Prepare yourself for the onslaught on your senses. Make sure nobody is around to argue with. Throw bacon in to the dutch oven.

Okay now, onto the kale. So i have spent many countless hours wondering whether or not you should wash organic vegetables, and I’ve decided the answer is, “kinda.” Its not like there are any pesticides, but there is probably some dirt, and maybe some bug poo residue. So I halfheartedly wash the kale, and then cut the stems, because they take longer to cook, and toss those in with the bacon so they can fry longer than the rest of the kale.

and its..simmer time! like Hammer Time, only for cooking. After bacon is sufficiently browned…in goes the rest of the kale

yummyyyy

a little panic that there might not be enough bacon grease to go around results in me adding some canola oil (probably should have used olive) and some butter, add sea salt, stir kale around a little bit, get all the oil soaked in evenly and get it cooked down — its a super bitter food, so it really needs a good cookin’. Pull out leftover indian lentils you made the day before, stick in microwave…

and…plate!

plate of food

measly attempt at reproducing the NYTimes delectable photo of swiss chard and red onions

so my eggs were a little overdone, but i guess thats what you get for taking pictures while cooking. They definitely do NOT show how to do that on MasterChef.

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