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Tenderizing kale and other foodie tricks

 
pollinator
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I have to confess, I have never been a fan of raw kale. It's just too, well, kale-y for me. I'm not entirely sure if that is bitterness or texture or some combination of both. Tonight I had a very different experience with kale. My daughter made a salad that was really good, and told me afterwards she had scrunched up and rolled the kale to make it tender. Later I looked it up online and discovered, yes, *massaging* kale is in fact a thing. Not something I ever would have thought to do.

So now I'm wondering: What other processes and little kitchen tricks do you use that give foods a boost?
 
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I usually put dressing on my kale salads as early as is practical. The dressing can do some of that tenderizing on its own.
 
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Location: Zone 5b Ontario
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Pre Salting the kale and making a slaw out if it can make it more tender, also I find its more tender and less bitter after it has had a frost. Verity also makes a difference I have found, I have one I use in salads more often and others usually for cooking.
 
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something similar is salting vegetables and letting them "ooze" before cooking, which makes the process faster with less water (i'm thinking quick stir fry of zucchini, for instance, where it makes a WORLD of difference). Or to avoid oozing into your yogurt sauce or tabbouleh (you want to amp up your hummus/tabbouleh game, salt your cucumbers/onions/tomatoes and let them drip for an hour before you put them in).
I find most of the best cooking hacks are things that have a high time investment (roasting your tomatoes for sauce, for example, soaking things, salting things).
 
Andrea Locke
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Nice! These all sound like great ideas. Something else I learned recently is to soak rice for a half hour before turning on the rice cooker. Not sure if that is all kinds of rice or just some varieties, though.

For many years I've been the person responsible for growing the food, and my main kitchen activity was preserving food... but circumstances made me the main cook in our household, and after three years of cooking on autopilot I am trying to be more conscious about how and what I am cooking. I think I'm not a terrible cook, but these little food hacks are not things I've ever put any thought into, definitely not second nature, and I hope learning them will elevate my kitchen skills to the next level. If I'm cooking with great ingredients from the garden it's a shame not to present them at their best.
 
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