Curried kale cakes for My Plate, My Planet

Savory and crunchy kale cakes are delicious on their own or served with a little bit of yogurt herb sauce.

The Garden of Eating
Use a brown paper bag when making curried kale cakes to catch the extra drippings after frying them in them in vegetable oil.

Greetings, Earthlings. Have you heard about My Plate, My Planet? It's a new campaign that aims to get sustainability included in the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans. Meaning that the environmental impacts of our diets would be taken into consideration for the first time, well, ever! Kind of a huge deal.
 You can help by sending a comment to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture by the May 8th deadline this Friday.
In honor of this worthy effort, I created an Edible Earth made of curried kale cakes floating in a sea of blueberries – two sustainable superfoods in one meal. Kale and blueberries are the kinds of foods that are healthy both for us and also for the planet – providing a lot of nutrition without requiring a lot of resources or taking a heavy toll on the environment. And they also taste great – so there's that.

The Garden of Eating
Curried kale cakes and blueberries

These kale cakes are rather addictive, if I do say so myself. I used some ragged jack kale (seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library) from our garden that I'd blanched and frozen back in September. The plants PRODUCED and although it was kind of exhausting to keep up with them, I've been so grateful that I took the time to blanch and freeze that kale all winter long. And we're coming to the end of the frozen goodies right as we begin putting this year's seedlings in the ground. Perfect timing.
 While the kale was defrosting, I grated a small mountain of Parmesan cheese and sauteed a big onion. You can never have too much onion, in my opinion. I beat a couple of pasture-raised eggs (more on what pasture-raised is and why it's so much better) and mixed them with a bit of yogurt.

Then I mixed all that together with a generous dose of breadcrumbs (you can use a gluten-free flour mix, instead, if you prefer), lots of garam masala and a little dried thyme from our garden, a few pinches sea salt, several grinds of black pepper, and mixed.
 Then came the frying. I like grapeseed or peanut oil for frying because they've both got a nice, high smoke point and a neutral taste. I like to drain greasy things on a used paper grocery bag – way more absorbent than paper towels and less wasteful. Then I either toss the used bag in the wood stove or put it in the compost.

Every bite was savory, moist, crunchy and good. Delicious on their own eaten out of hand or with a little yogurt herb sauce or sour cream.

Curried Kale Cakes
 Serves 4
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 bunch kale, rinsed, washed, dried, ribs removed and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and minced
1/2 cup yogurt
3/4 cup bread crumbs (or use a gluten-free flour)
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala or curry powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Milk or water to thin the batter, if needed
Roughly 1 cup grapeseed, peanut, or sunflower oil to fry in
 1. Heat a few teaspoons of the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute, stirring often until softened. Add the kale and saute briefly to get some of the moisture out of the kale. Pour the onion-kale mixture in a medium sized mixing bowl and set the skillet aside – you don't need to wash it as you're going to use it to fry the cakes in.
 2. Add the breadcrumbs, spices, eggs and yogurt and stir well to combine. If the batter is too stiff, add more yogurt or a little milk or water to thin it a bit.
 3. Heat the rest of the oil in the cast iron frying pan until hot but not smoking. Test it by dropping a tiny bit of batter in and if it sizzles nicely, it's ready. Ladle large spoonfuls of the batter in and fry until the edges are browned and the cakes are solid enough to flip over then fry for another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes and how hot your oil is.

4. When the cakes are nicely browned on both sides, scoop out and drain on a paper bag (this works better than paper towels and is less wasteful –  you can compost the bag when you're done with it) and serve warm with sour cream or an herbed yogurt sauce. Chutney can be a nice accompaniment, too.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Savory Corn Fritters with Red Pepper & Herbs

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