July weather has arrived and with it summer cooking. Now summer cooking means no cooking or baking on the stove or in the oven between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. We have a single window unit AC for the whole house and it is not powerful enough to overcome the heat generated by the stove. So for a few days in June, and August, and for most of July we end up eating salads. Lots and lots of salads, with the occasional grilled meal thrown in. Most salads contain a starch or grain cooked either early in the morning or after the kids have gone to bed, and then mixed into the salads after they have cooled.
In late January and February, when the days are still short and cold, and it seems like winter will never end, and summer never return, I look forward to summer cooking. Because summer cooking is really all about the vegetables. It is as fresh as it gets, with vegetables picked only hours or days before they end up on our plates. It really is a good time of year for cooking!
Kale originates in the Mediterranean region and is a cultivar of the Brassica oleracea species, which among others includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. While growing, kale leaves do not form a tight head (think cabbage and Brussel sprouts) and kale is thought to be more closely related to wild cabbage than some of the other cultivars in the Brassica oleracea species. Kale is thought to be the first cultivar of the wild cabbage to have originated. Kale originated sometime in the 5th century BC, following many generations of selective breeding of for ever larger leaves on the ancestral wild cabbage. For a fascinating read on the history of the entire cabbage family, check out the University of Saskatchewan website.