So. I have a bit of a thing for Deborah Madison. She cooks the kind of food I want to eat, the kind of food that would make Michael Pollan's heart sing the sweetest tune imaginable. A prolific writer, her books have become subtly simpler over the years and Vegetable Literacy, her latest, is, I reckon, the best yet.
I'm in the middle of writing something for The Guardian about simple dressings, things you can make ahead of time when you have a moment or two, that can turn plain things into much worthier meals. Toying with the idea of sharing Madison's kale pesto (below), the decision to share it here, instead, is one I feel far more comfortable with. Puts to good use just a fraction of the kale I planted in the flower garden, and it's something I've made often this winter. Took a tonne of photos, too.
Grab yourself some kale, enough to fill a litre (quart) measuring jug once trimmed and stemmed.
Then you get about this many porcini (you know it means little pig, right?) 'shrooms,
and gather your other ingredients (4 thick slices of onion, a couple of cloves of garlic and 2 teaspoons-worth of chopped rosemary) while the kettle boils. Pour a little boiling water over the porcini while you heat some oil in a frying pan and cook onions, garlic and rosemary until they are soft.
Add the washed-but-not-dried kale, the porcini plus their soaking liquor and a little bit of salt to the pan. The kale needs to be tender, so turn it over in the pan with tongs from time to time and let it wilt. About 6 minutes should be right.
Cool slightly, then whizz in a processor until (nearly, in my case) smooth, adding additional oil as required to make it do so. Great stirred through minestrone, eaten with a spoon from the jar, spread on toast, tossed through white beans, melted into hot polenta...