As you all know, I’ve grown up eating kale. From the time I could eat solid foods, kale was one of them. But it was not until the last five or so years that I started eating kale creatively as in raw salads, grilled or just trying out different things. So up until that point, I ate kale steamed. With a little secret sauce.
From previous Kale Mondays, The Kale Project has introduced you to hemp seeds and gojji berries and today I’d like to introduce Umeboshi vinegar – which is what I would normally dress my kale with while growing up.
mother, who talked all about her kale stories this past Friday, created a “go-to” sauce using Umeboshi vinegar.
My family had a running joke that the sauce was a big secret. My mom would make it, serve it and we devoured it, but never really knew what was in it and she didn’t want to tell. Some days it was a bit saltier and some days it wasn’t. Either way, Sharzie’s Secret Sauce was just what perfect for a kale dish during the first chilly autumn evening.
Umeboshi is not a very commonly known ingredient, but by far an ingredient that once you incorporate into your vegetable dishes, you won’t be able to turn away. In fact, when I was in elementary school, I would trade my Umeboshi vinegar steamed green beans for Little Debbie Ho-Ho’s. This was when I was not “allowed” to have sugar and would sneak it at the lunch table. Of course now, I would never eat something like that now, but the point is that Umeboshi vinegar is so good, my friends who were bringing Ho-Ho’s to lunch were begging to trade for my green beans.
Perhaps Umeboshi vinegar is the savior for American school-lunch reform?
Why is Umeboshi vinegar good for you?
Made from a Japanese plums-salty plums to be exact-they are very common side dishes in Japanese cuisine. Because they are considered an alkaline food, Umeboshi plums are frequently consumed in a macrobiotic diet and the vinegar is a healthy seasoning to add to steamed or sautéed vegetables. In Japanese culture, the Umi plum is said to aid in digestion, fight fatigue, hangovers and cure nausea. The first meal I had while visiting Japan, which took me back to my roots, was an Umi plum inside a rice ball wrapped in nori (seaweed) at the Tokyo airport.
So for the first time ever I present:
Sharzie’s Secret Sauce (makes enough for one bunch of kale)
*works lovely with lightly steamed kale-
1. Pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a jar with a secure lid.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of Umeboshi vinegar.
3. Create a thin top layer of dill on top of the oil/vinegar mix. The dill can be added to taste.
4. Shake and add onto lightly steamed kale.
One thing to keep in mind is how much Umeboshi vinegar is added. Sharzie normally does 2:1 olive oil to vinegar. Yet she also recommends starting out with maybe a little bit less vinegar as it can come across quite salty. As my mother always says with anything in the salt category, “you can always add more but you can’t take away!”
What is so great about the Secret Sauce is that it is so versatile on so many dishes. If you think the combination will be nice on something, try it and let me (& Sharzie) know!
***At this point, I am in the search for Umeboshi vinegar in Paris. Have you found it? If so, where? If not and you would like a special Paris delivery in early October, let me know. I am heading to the states for a quick wedding trip and am happy to pick a few bottles up for project supporters.