Throughout the years, I've seen several different ways of achieving perfectly wilted kale. Growing up, my mom would pan-fry the dark, leafy green, smothering it with soy sauce and diced red bell pepper to offset its bitter flavor. When I was in culinary school, I was taught to blanch and shock the kale, then sauté it à la minute. However, I think I've discovered the most simple method of kale preparation — steaming — and it requires less than five minutes and only one pot. Put away the sauces and oils and bust out the old-school stainless steel vegetable steamer, because you're going to love steamed kale, unadulterated.
Steaming is arguably one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables, but that doesn't mean it's boring. Not only do properly steamed vegetables retain most of their nutrients, but the brightly colored vegetables are incredibly appetizing and full of flavor.
There are a few tricks to perfect steaming — and they don't necessarily involve having to own a steamer!
Firstly, the water should be boiling before you add the vegetables to your steamer basket to ensure even temperature throughout the cooking process. Try not to crowd the steamer with too many vegetables and take care to either properly layer your steamer basket according to cooking time or just cook up several batches. Firm vegetables like potatoes and carrots take longer to steam and should be placed toward the bottom of the steamer basket, while green beans and spinach take much less time and can be added later to the top.
Timing Is Everything
The most important part of steaming vegetables is the timing. Oversteam, and you'll suffer through bland, nutrient-poor, dull vegetables. But practice makes perfect; you'll soon learn what timing works for you.
For more steaming tips, keep reading.
One of the easiest ways to cook artichokes, which are currently in season, is to steam them whole. However, instead of using water, I recommend cooking the chokes in something with a little more complexity. A mixture of chicken broth, white wine, lemons, herbs, olive oil, and garlic is my preferred method. Don't forget to season the liquid with salt and pepper before placing the artichokes inside, upside-down. These simple ingredients give the artichokes a more delicious taste and depth of flavor.
How do you cook artichokes?
- The Pioneer Woman's guide to the ultimate Fourth of July party.
- The Pioneer Woman's guide to the ultimate Fourth of July party. — Kitchen Daily
- Chef Paul Prudhomme talks about the Gulf seafood crisis. — Eatocracy
- 12 horribly cheesy World Cup food and drink advertisements. — Huffington Post Food
- Summer reading for the food obsessed. — Chow
- How to steam in a wok. — Serious Eats
- Five amazing cheesecake recipes. — The Epi-Log
- What a food critic is good for. — The Atlantic
- An inside look at the 2010 Jell-O mold competition. — Eater
A helter-skelter Monday doesn't have to equal a chaotic late night meal. One surefire way to save time is to use leftovers from yesterday to save yourself the hassle of shopping and prep.
Instead of grilling sea bass, opt for a steaming technique that poaches the fish, yielding a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. A pat of butter, serrano pepper, and ginger infuse the dish with fragrance, flavor, and richness. For the recipe — which doesn't even require a steamer! — keep on reading.
I am dealing with a late-season cold, and the congestion is overwhelming. While hanging out, sipping tea, and blowing my nose frequently at a friend's house, my host surprised me with a bowl of fragrant steamy liquid. I was told I needed to steam. My friend and budding herbalist added essential oils to the hot water to help open my nasal passages and I must say, it worked! I have read in a number of places that eucalyptus oil is a powerful decongestant, but my buddy thinks alone it is too overwhelming, so he blends eucalyptus oil with lemongrass and peppermint oil. It smells divine.
Here's how I steam with essential oils:
- Boil two cups of filtered water into a glass or metal bowl.
- Add two drops each of eucalyptus, lemongrass, and peppermint pure essential oils.
- Place face over bowl and inhale deeply through nose. The oil mixture will smell intense at first, so start at least 12 inches from bowl. Then lower your head closer to the water as needed.
- Keep breathing in the scented steam until bowl is no longer steaming.
- Repeat throughout day.