A distressed mother barges into a Rabbi’s study:
“Rabbi, my son has gone meshuge (crazy)!”
“Calm down, lady, have you taken him to a specialist? What makes you think that?”
“Specialist-shmeshalist! Who needs specialists? I am a mother, I know!”
“But, dear lady, what does he do?”
“Oy, Rabbi, he eats pigs and dances with girls!”
“Listen,” – says the Rabbi with a sigh, – “If it were the other way around, that is, if he were dancing with pigs and eating girls, you would have a cause to worry. As it is, he is young and is simply going through a stage.”
Unfortunately, even the great Salvador Dali could not come up with a way of pickling time or preserving it in any other way. Therefore, we’ll have to listen to the Rabbi and do it “the other way around.” We’ll pickle kale, and we’ll let a specialist teach us how to chunk time while working at home which is something that many of us are doing during the lockdown.
Thanks to lovely and lively Carol at Retired? No one told me!, I have found out that this week is an International Pickle Week. Following experts’ advice, I have dedicated a chunk of time to pickling.
I’ve been making kale chips (please see here) practically every day – we are meshuge (crazy) about them! The first step in making them is to remove the stems, and what should I do with a huge accumulated bundle of “superfood” stems? So I dice some into soups and stews, and I pulverize some to make Green Garlic Galettes (please see here), but the bundle still grows exponentially, threatening to take over my refrigerator space – “The Invasion of Superfood”! An intrepid adventurer, I pickled them. I figured, with lots of garlic and a little bit of time, it won’t go wrong!
And it didn’t! I used a slight variation on my standard pickling recipe (please see here): I used cilantro instead of dill and added grated ginger. Why? I have no idea! I felt that kale, cilantro, and ginger should be friends, so I introduced them to each other and gave them a couple of days to get better acquainted.
This is the incredible African American tenor and movie star Harry Belafonte singing in Hebrew: “How good and pleasant it is for brothers to be together” (Psalm 133). Searching through many variations of songs using this Psalm, I almost cried when I found this one. It is the one we used to sing saying our farewells to friends and relatives who were allowed to leave the Soviet Union, while most of us were left behind the iron curtain. It is the one that would get us arrested more often than not, yet we kept singing it, defying the communist dictatorship that separated brothers and promoted suspicion and hatred for foreigners, instead of love.
It is truly good and pleasant for all of us, brothers and sisters around the world, to be together and learn from each other. It is also good for kale stems, chunked and combined with garlic, ginger, and cilantro, to be together and enhance each other’s flavors. It takes from one to a few days, depending on the temperature and sun exposure. It is ready when the stems lose their bright green color and the brine turns muddy. I asked my husband to taste, to make sure it was ready. So he tasted, and tasted, and tasted… That’s about how much I was able to save to take a picture!
- 2 cups of kale stems, cut into 2 – 3 inch (5 – 7 cm) lengths
- 1 head of garlic, peeled, cloves cut lengthwise
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) ginger, grated
- A loose handful of fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 3 cups boiling water
- Place all ingredients, except cilantro, into glass, ceramic, or enamel container, shake lightly to distribute evenly.
- Dilute salt in boiling water, pour into container. Make sure kale stems are covered with saline solution. More saline solution should be added, if needed.
- Place cilantro on top, cover tightly.
- Keep in sunny room temperature place until stems lose bright color and brine looks muddy. Refrigerate when ready. Drain before serving.