Catherine Walthers wrote two cookbooks that gave salad the center stage — Greens, Glorious Greens and Raising the Salad Bar. Then she turned to the drink. Evidently, all that health and roughage leads to a yearning for a stiff cocktail.
In fairness, Ms. Walthers was researching a new book based on craft cocktails, but somewhere along the way — perhaps after a few lemongrass martinis and grapefruit/cucumber gin and tonics — the garden started calling again, waving its potassium-rich leafy fronds her way. Ms. Walthers began reassessing her proposed book plans and decided to double down on the garden, this time focusing on just one very special plant — kale.
Hold on a minute, you say. An entire book devoted only to kale? Not even a rabbit could devote that much love to one plant, even one that comes in over 50 varieties and is rich in iron, omega fatty acids, potassium, plus heavyweights lutein and zeaxanthin, too. Well, Ms. Walthers proves the naysayers wrong by digging deep into the richness that is kale with recipes for soups, smoothies, salads, pizza, cocktails, the list is long. There are sections on how to grow kale, how to store kale, how to denude kale, how to wash and dry kale, how to shop for kale, how to make kale skirts, kale earrings, kale hairdos and kale hairdon’ts. Okay, maybe there aren’t any chapters on kale fashions, but everything else you wanted to know about kale but were afraid to ask is in this book.
The book is called Kale, Glorious Kale.
Of course, the heart of every cookbook is the recipes and whether they sound both appetizing and easy enough to make. Kale, Glorious, Kale succeeds on both levels. Ms. Walthers and her family ate kale-related foods for 130 straight days. The result is 90 recipes and at merely a first glance already about 20 recipes leap off the page and demand to be made now. Luckily, fall is the best time for kale — it grows sweeter in the cooler temperatures — and so anyone purchasing the book will have ample material to cook with.
Veggie burgers with kale, quinoa and kale salad, summer pasta with no-cook kale and tomatoes, kale with raisins and pine nuts, all washed down with a kale margarita — one feels healthier just reading the words.
Kale, Glorious Kale hits the stands this month and Ms. Walthers will be signing copies of her new book at the artisans fair this weekend, held at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. She’ll be there from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; talking kale, eating kale and maybe wearing kale.