Russian Kale with Thai Basil

We were wandering through the farmers market this past weekend and fall is without a doubt the best time to shop. It’s just dawning on me that THIS is why the fall is called harvest season…duh!

So we saw our first Fuyu persimmons which are a huge favorite. These persimmons are quite sweet and lack the tannins that make the more common varieties pretty nasty to eat raw. Not so the Fuyus! Check them out if you get a chance, you will love them.

We also saw Russian Kale and Thai Basil on virtually every table we came to. I will try to get photos of both these when we make it back to the market…we ate everything we bought within a day so no photos. The Russian kale is a small, narrow leaf. It cooks down quite nicely but it is a bit tough so you typically want to throw it in early in the cooking process. The Thai Basil in contrast is pungent and tasty but quite delicate. You need to add this at the end of cooking or even raw after meals have been removed from heat. The exception to this might be curries in coconut milk in which you will extract the volatile oils into the curry and not just cook them away. It’s nice to make the house smell of good cooking but it’s better to keep those flavors in the food!

So, the meal. We had some grassfed ground beef from Trader Joes, a large hunk of ginger, olive oil, mushrooms and the aforementioned kale and basil. I covered the bottom of the pan with olive oil and added finely diced ginger…a large piece about 2x the diameter of my thumb. Essentially I fried the ginger for about 2 minutes to infuse the oil and cook the ginger down. I then added the beef and crumbled it up as much as possible. When the beef was mostly browned I added the mushrooms and kale which had been chopped fairly small. I threw a lid on this and let it cook down for 4 minutes. I then added the basil, mixing the concoction until the basil was wilted. The deed was now done. I don’t think the photo does the meal justice, it was fantastic. Check out your farmers market and let me know what you are cooking up!

Categories: Cooking, Recipes


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  1. says

    Looks great.

    Quick question that has probably been answered elsewhere….why do you cook in olive oil not lard or beef fat? I’ve always been told that olive oil is not for cooking….

    Hey Chris-
    I tend to cook on a pretty low heat with the olive oil. If I turn the fire up I switch to coconut or palm oil for the stability the sat’d fats offer. The lard and tallow are certainly good options, especially if you have a grass-fed source.

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