Today is Monday dressed up in Thursday's clothing. Of this, I am certain.
Unexpected company for the last two days led to Tuesday and Wednesday's schedules taking on the traits of Saturday and Sunday respectively, with a weekend-ish pace to boot. But that didn't mean we were exempt from the requirements of midweek days, so that was packed in too.
Today is back to its usual routine, behaving decidedly like the start of the week rather than the end.
But the calendar says it is Thursday, and the fourth Thursday of November at that, which makes it American Thanksgiving. But then, all the chatter about turkeys and pies and pumpkins conjures memories of the Canadian holiday of the same name, which we celebrated in October. On the second Monday of the month to be precise.
Here we are, back to Monday. On Thursday. I'm not sure if I should be coming or going, getting ready to face a new week or eager to bid goodbye one.
Thank goodness that on this Monday-ish Thursday there is still some kale around. Kale might not sound like a consolation, but when your mind is awhirl, a plate of kale is as good as a spot as any to choose to settle gently. In fact, I would say that on a rainy fall evening that nothing is more soothing than sitting someplace comfy, tucking your feet up, and scooping up your supper by the emerald forkful.
This kale is roughly torn, with some of the bitterness blanched out of its leaves before it slumps into a pile of soft onions and garlic. As it hits the heat, the resulting steam is savourily-aromatic, damp and dense with the vegetal essence of sturdy greens. After cooking the kale softens to supple leatheriness, its sinewy leaves still hale and hearty but more relaxed. Fleshy crowns of walnuts add autumnal bulk, and cranberries give both a tempered sweetness and an appreciated touch of acidity.
The final effect is one of Rudolph among the evergreens, complete with the white flecks of a light snowfall; and as this Thursday is the last before December, it might be perfect timing.
1 pound kale, washed well, trimmed of tough ribs and torn into large pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Boil the kale until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Immediately plunge the greens into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cooled, drain well but do not squeeze.
In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occassionally, until the onion is fragrant and beginning to turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Tumble in the walnuts, tossing to coat well with the butter/oil. Continue to cook until the nuts are golden and lightly toasted, around 2 minutes. Stir in the cranberries.
Using your hands or tongs, separate the kale as best as you can and add to the pot. Stir to combine, and continue to turn the leaves through the onion and walnut mixture until they are warmed through and softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.