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November 30, 2012     Cape Gazette
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84 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30 - MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 Cape Gazette ale is one of the pretti- est winter greens. Al- though the spell- checker wants to turn it into a member of the mint family, I'm actually referring to green leafy vegetables that pre- fer cool winter temperatures. One variety of kale is aptly named Hungry Gap because it's available from January through April when little else is growing. 'q-Kale and cabbage share a com- mon botanical ancestor, but loose-leafed kale is considered more primitive than the tight- headed cabbages bred by Euro- peans during the late Middle Ages. From green to purple in color, long and shapely kale leaves have tough center stems and ruffled edges. Sown from seed, tender kale is harvested after a frost has mellowed the potential bitterness of its flavors. The English called it cole or cole- wort; the Scottish used the name kale (or kall). In Scotland, a small kitchen garden located next to a cottage was known as a kailyard. During the 19th centu- ry, the "kailyard school" of Scot- tish writers was distinguished by their unrealistically senti- mental portrayals of rural life. In earlier times, kail was a generic term for dinner or food in general, because kale was one of the staple foods of the Scot- tish diet. Today, the Scots word karl means both a type of cab- bage and a dish made from cab- bage. No matter how the word is spelled, many countries have a signature dish that features kale and (quite often) potatoes. Colcannon is a traditional Irish mash of boiled potatoes and kale (or white cabbage). The British have Bubble and Squeak, typically made from leftover vegetables and featuring pota- toes and cabbage. Portuguese caldo verde is a soup of pota- toes, kale and onions often served at parties or for a late supper. Along with potatoes, another welcome companion to kale (es- pecially in soups) is any type of bean. I've included two recipes for kale and bean soup, one with chickpeas and exotic spices, the other a creamy puree with white beans and tomato. Depending upon what's in your pantry, you could readily substitute another kind of bean in either of these dishes. And, if you want to please the meat-eaters in the family, add saut6ed sausage slices to the soup. In northern regions of Ger- many and parts of Scandinavia, kale is the focus of a festival called Griinkohlessen. To cele- brate the autumn harvest of a curly-leafed kale variety called Grtinkohl, communities organ- ize scenic walks through the brisk cold to a designated local pub. Here theyYe served kale, potatoes and sausages, along with great quantities of adult beverages. The highlight of the event is the crowning of the cab- bage king (or cabbage couple) who will organize the next year's festivities. Although we're not likely to plan a kale party, there are many cooks who enjoy this versatile ingredient in a wide range of dishes. Kale can be saut6ed, steamed, grilled or baked; it's delicious plain or garnished with olive oil, salt or lemon. Tender young leaves may be EVEN THOSE WHO HATE GREENS chips. tossed into a green salad to add color, texture and interesting fla- vor. Chopped leaves can be cooked in soups, stir-fries or as a pizza topping; kale can replace spinach in quiche or creamy dips. Before making the kale chips in the photo, I sorted through dozens of recipes, trying to fred consistency, Each version listed a different oven temperature and cooking time, so I opted for a lower setting to keep the thin leaves from burning. I also ig- nored instructions to drizzle the leaves with olive oil to avoid a soggy mess: The technique that worked for me was to pour a small amount of olive oil onto a piece of . . waxed paper and scatter the JACK CLEMONS PHOTO can enjoy the light, crispy texture of kale leaves across the oil to collect just a bit of coating. A generous sprinkle of sea salt added both texture and brightness to the crunchy results. This low-calo- rie snack is a terrific replace- ment for potato chips. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse - loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxi- dants and fiber - no wonder people hold festivals in its hon- or. Kale Chips 1 bunch kale 2 t olive oil sea salt Preheat oven to 200 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Wash and com- pletely dry the kale leaves. Trim out the tough center stem and Continued on page 85 reat ideas for your grantee who would like to know about wine. These are easy- to-acquire gift ideas. A short finder's guide, reference list of three separate web pages fol- loWs: www.corkquiz.com, www.snooth.com/articles/holi- " day-giftguide.com, and lastly http:// earomas.com/ ?gclid=CN6jxqP 7bMCFQ_Sf4Ao dVGsA1QThis last is a tool I use with great success in wine-tast- ing classes I conduct. It's a pricey place to start, but an ab- solute must for serious cellarers and those who wish to fully in- form their nose and palate. The number of scents provided drives the price. Think of it as a collection of half-ounce bottles of carefully made perfume. If you go this route, don't be penny wise. The minimum is the 24, but the 54 is a tremendous value. The little scent bottles pro- vide for 20 years when proper care is taken. The only problem I had was frequent washing re- moved the lacquered-on num- bers. I have owned Le Nez du Vin since 1981. Since then, I have only replaced the 12 bottles used most. See if you can guess which. I'll give you the easier ones: vanilla, apple, smoke, currant, tobacco and cherry. Now you pick the other four. Snooth published its top 24 in the $25-50 premium category. In one easy read: from the joy of victory - 19 were reviewed here this year - to the agony of defeat that means I missed five "Well, let me tell.you, Pil- grim," there's still time, and I will seek out and review them before the end of the year. La Ri- oja Alta Gran Reserva 904 has been on my things to do list, but Voillot Volnay ler Cru 2001, Nu- manthia Toro and the Renwood Amador Ice Zinfande12009 were not. The Amador write-up claims, "This dessert wine has aromas of watermelon and cin- namon; the flavors are rich, complex, balanced and lush." I don't think I will be spending $60 to find out. D' Arenberg Dead Arm Syrah 2009 was in the wings. You know my thinking on that. Quirky name, confident wine- maker. This is a McLaren Vale Shiraz, which take coaxing when young to allow them to open. Dark violet, inky with potent, very complex bouquet of fennel, flowers, ripe dark fruits and black pepper touched by oak These are muted and allow fruit, rhubarb, earthy notes, dried herbs, and some tones of savory (an herb) to develop. The palate is also very complex with grippy tannins, tight acidity, anise, black pepper, dark cherries and min- erals in the front and mulberry, plum, licorice and Asian spice through a pleasing long finish. Typically WE and WS don't rate this vineyard as well as my favs: Jancis Robinson, Tanzer, Oliver and Halliday, They all say 93 or better and WE and WS say 90- 91. Smart buyers here will order the 2006, rated 95 points by McD, Robinson and Halliday, and 93 by Tanzer, and enjoy a great, complex wine in 2014. The 2009 needs lots of cellar. For the arborists out there, "dead arm" was considered a problem related to a disease named Eutypa Lata, which may infect vines where recent prun- ing has occurred. Viticulturists discovered it also results from phomopsis viticola. These diseases also affect trees such as'cherry, apple, plum and walnut. The disease was for- merly considered a terrible blight, but the folks at D Kren- berg figured out that the death of branches actually concentrat- ed the juice without having deleterious effects on the wine, but rather enhancing it. This same dead-arm syndrome rarely turns out well in baseball pitch- ers. With the holidays coming, you may wish to lay in some bubbly, Stop groaning, regulars, I'm not touting Cliquot. Many say I'm in love with the "old la- dy" and I am. However, in the interest of diversity and an eye for festivities to come, this sea- son I'm touting a beautiful salmon-colored Billecart- Salmon Bru Ros6 This Champagne is the color of smoked salmon. Strawberry and raspberry fruit on the nose, with hints of soy sauce. The palate is rich and creamy, with elegant tiny bead. On the palate, straw- berries cream, spice cake, proper acidi y and a nice, clean Finish. As most are aware, NV Champagne' is a blend, and its flavor proffl is the same every bottling. Therefore you will find no vintage date on the bottle. This wine is a bit pricey, but it is per- fect with sashimi or sushi; 92 points when priced under $75. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo.com.