0726 Mushroom Tart, Sautéed Kale

I’ve always thought that the concept behind  Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee was a strange idea.  It feels like a throw-back to an era when processed food was glamorous – you don’t need to roast your own chicken or make your own gravy or biscuits or even chop your own vegetables to make chicken and dumplings! Just open a couple of packages!

On the other hand, I suppose this sort of show does make cooking more accessible for those who are intimidated by glossy food magazines and too-perfect tv chefs – and that’s a step in the right direction.  I’ve read in a couple of places – and now can’t recall any of them specifically – our culture now fetishizes the chef (or the eater) while at the same time abandoning cooking ourselves.  This NYT article from Michael Pollan is problematic but gets the point across – as a country, we are becoming morbidly obese on processed food while drooling over ridiculously complicated foods prepared on Top Chef or disgustingly huge portions on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  And I quote: “What can possibly be the appeal of watching Guy Fieri bite, masticate and swallow all this chow?”

In this context, anything that will get the average person cooking is a step in the right direction.

I mention all of this because tonight’s dinner would qualify as semi-homemade – an entree from the freezer with a side dish from the garden.  While the Tarte aux Champignons (um, fancy thin-crust mushroom tart with Emmentaler and other cheeses) from Trader Joe’s heated up in the toaster oven, I washed, chopped, boiled, and sauteed a bunch of kale with onions and smoked paprika.  While the kale could’ve used more paprika and/or garlic, it made an earthy counterpoint to the rich cheeses of the tart.  I enjoyed it, but it was all a bit rich for Shane.  A worthwhile experiment, though, and one that somewhat vindicates the semi-homemade style of cooking.  Somewhat.

Recipe:
Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika from Bon Appetit

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