When I was a kid we lived in a tiny apartment that overlooked the sea. Our kitchen, which consisted roughly of a sink and a stove and a fridge cranked next to it – that fridge that my mom always yelled against because of its nonexistent capacity – had a window that opened on a view of the whole bay, dotted with pine trees and hills and a harbor lined with colorful buildings unchanged from the sixties (or so I’m told) lining it like a row of flower vases. From that kitchen, my mom often made burgers, my favorite food. I tried to enter the kitchen and she’d shoo me away as there was too little space. From that window, she could see the hotels of which the kitchens had captured her for her whole life, when 5 months a year they swallow her whole only to spit her out, back broken and feet hurting from her 12 hour shifts, when September came. I still have a fond memory of those burgers she cooked for me, though today I make mine meatless. This was the ’90s and vegetables such as kale were not to be found in markets.
This recipe feels like such a contrast in my head. I took a memory from my childhood and mixed it with an ingredient that did not even exist back then – kale. It was common in Tuscany, but it didn’t make it here on the coast until these past few years. As we walked along the market the other day, she said, almost befuddled: I have no idea how such variety of vegetables even made it here.
I took an old mom’s recipe and mixed with new vegetables – kale, which did not exist yet in my memory.
A few days ago I happened to watch again an episode of Bref, a French TV show on Canal +, called ‘J’ai Grandi Dans Les Années ’90’ which translates as ‘I grew up in the ’90s’, (if you understand French, you HAVE to watch this!!) and once again I was stunned at how similar France and Italy were, and still are: All the cheese. A penchant to drink wine with meals, or without. Lazy night of outdoor dinners in the summer. I thought of Paris, which took shape in my mind as a woman with red lipstick sitting with her legs crossed, and I thought of Rome, a woman who walks naked in her home and waves her hair nonchalantly and has big breasts and talks too loudly. I thought of that little kitchen from where I could see the coast and I thought that never in my life I lived in a place where I could not see water. I thought about how I’d love to see the coast of France, a place I have longed to visit for years now. I decided that I will make it happen this summer.
And then I thought about all the things I read about copy, and about writing, and about always being on top of the game and I thought that maybe I can’t write efficiently and that maybe I’m not fit for writing a blog.
But what is writing, if not putting into words those things that make your heart soar? Just as I thought about my tiny old kitchen and I felt the need to write about it, and that is what sharing should be about. Writing for businesses is different, but this is my blog, which is pretty much an extension of my life. It can’t be all clogged up in a thread of views, likes, algorithms, and the like. The more I think about those things and the less I feel like writing. When it comes to writing for an agency, there is strategy and numbers and algorithms are part of the challenge and it is exciting to find ways about it.
But if I were to tell a new blogger what to write, I’ll just tell them to gather up all the things they can’t help loving and put them on paper. To share thoughts and doubts and be as transparent as they are comfortable with. My blog might be part of my business but it is still that part of me that longs to share a joy or a worry with someone, hear other people’s experiences, and that can only happen if those who read know that there’s a person behind the writing. So I’d tell them to write things that made them as happy as the very thought of that burger in that little kitchen made me.
As happy as we were when we got a phone call and there was no ID caller in the ’90s.
As happy as I was that I would have still been able to see the sea in my new place.
But it is not the ’90s anymore and I a glad that kale exists in my life. It should be an addition to everybody’s diet.
KALE is basically divided into two main groups: Curly Kale and Tuscan Kale. Both share the same benefits:
– They are one of the most nutrient dense foods ever, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxitands and fiber;
– They can help lower cholesterol;
– They have antioxidants known for their anti-inflammation power;
– They are low in calories , high in fiber and fills you up a lot;
– They are really high in iron AND vitamin C, which naturally helps iron get in the body.
The only thing I might have to say against kale is that it might irritate your intestine if you can’t handle fiber, as it can really be one of those ‘windy’ vegetables if you know what I mean.
So here is the recipe for this wonderful Kale burger. I am always very happy when I manage to make any kind of veggie patties/meatballs/etch that don’t taste like cardboard and this one certainly doesn’t. And it is tied to a good memory, which makes it taste all the better.
Don’t you think?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plis more for the baking tray
- 1 small leek, trimmed and minced
- 5 Kale leaves, stems discarded and
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon minced rosemary (or other favorite herb of yours)
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup grated Grana cheese (or other cheese of choice)
- Salt and pepper
- 5 kale leaves
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
- Radicchio or lettuce leaves, dressed with a little olive oil and salt
- Vegan mayo, thinned out with a little almond milk and honey mustard
- Some 'sottoli' if you like (I used grilled zucchini preserved in olive oil)
- Your favorite whole wheat bread or burger bun
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the leek to a pan, and cook until the leek is translucent. Add the kale, add a splash of water (or veggie stock) and cover. Cook until the kale is tender, then uncover to let all the water evaporate.
- Add the cooked vegetables to a mixer with the rest of the ingredients, and mix until you obtain a paste that you should be able to form into patties or small balls (which is what I did). Check for salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C˚ / 390 F˚. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and oil it well, then line the patties/balls and oil them a little bit on top as well.
- Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Let them cool a little before handling as they will be less soft.
- Tear the kale leaves with your hands, and toss them in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil and salt, and a pink of pepper and maybe paprika if you like. Spread on a tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C˚ / 390 F˚ until crispy. Careful as they burn fast. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.
- Heat the bun and pile in all your favorite toppings, and enjoy right away with lots of crispy kale chips!