Now that I’ve gobbled up as much turkey and dressing as I can, it’s time to push the carbs aside and replenish a few vitamins and nutrients.

Here’s a little nod to healthy fare at the family table this week. That’s right, just a nod because bacon is hot right now, and who am I to fight such a trend?

But what if I add it to oh-so-healthy kale, which is also trending big?

You’ve likely heard kale heralded as one of nature’s most nutritious foods, a “super” food, if you will. Kale belongs to the same family of greens that includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and collards.

After initially dismissing it as just another “it” food (that smelled like someone mowed a cabbage patch), I have found that freshly picked kale can be delicious if cooked properly. Like many of its green cousins, it can be a little bitter, so adding a few pinches of sugar and a splash of lemon juice cuts the bitterness and brings out the deeper flavors. Blanching also reduces bitterness and softens thick kale leaves.

While I was at the farmers market harvesting some kale, I also got some fresh Gulf shrimp.

The salad I planned has a smoky flavor from the bacon and earthy flavor from the kale, and warm chili shrimp seemed like the perfect complement.

These recipes blend smoky, sweet and spicy so perfectly, you’ll forget you’re eating some “it” food — unless you add some Sriracha, you hipster you!

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at