Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kale and potato "leftovers curry"

Kale and potato "leftovers curry"
Here's a trick I often play when I want to make something interesting for dinner but don't have any specific ideas kicking around inside my head trying to get out:

1. Check the refrigerator to see what we've got, particularly leftovers in boxes or tubs and produce rapidly approaching its "sell-by date."

2. Go to Chef Google and key in "Dishes using (a), (b) and (c)."

Then - and here is where being a fast reader helps out - quickly read the summary lines for the first 10 or 20 hits, discarding those that don't seem interesting.  Give a little less weight to the "corporate" Websites and a little extra love to individual sites that appear to be labors of love from good cooks.

That's how it was tonight when I found (a) a big tub of leftover cooked, chopped kale in its cooking liquid, and (b) more potatoes than seemed reasonable, all still good but a few showing signs of incipient softening.

So okay, Google, what you got?

First up were a bunch of colcannon-type dishes, mashed potatoes and pureed greens whipped together, and a gratin that looked a little too much like work.  I could do that, but wait! What's this!?  Kale and potato curry?  Don't mind if I do!  I glanced at the recipe, but frankly, when I do this kind of thing I'm more often simply looking for a theme to riff on, and now I had mine.

Off we went.  First, peel two medium baking potatoes (I would have used waxy boilers if I had them), and simmer in salted water for 5 minutes or so or until crisp-tender but not over-done. Drain, shock with cold water to stop cooking, and set aside.

Then, throw in a bunch of chopped onions (one large one) in coconut oil. Add a good ration of minced garlic and ginger (3-4 garlic cloves and a peeled one-inch length of fresh ginger) with red pepper flakes, black pepper and a little salt.  Get 'em good and brown, then add 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric and Madras curry powder and about 1/2 cup of leftover coconut milk, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, a shot of soy sauce and a squirt of lemon juice.  Bring up to a simmer, then stir in the leftover kale and finally the potatoes.  Gently mix, simmer briefly and serve. I might have garnished it with some leftover cilantro leaves but decided I was tired of working and ready for eating.  It was fine.