On a cold November night in 8th grade, I went to the first showing of Twilight at our local movie theater. I had heard of the books years before, but despite my friends’ claims that they were amazing, they always sounded too dark and creepy to read. I mean, a 100-year-old vampire who falls in love/simultaneously yearns to suck the blood of a high school girl? No thank you. When the movie came out, however, my best friend (a recent Twilight convert herself) convinced me to come along. Not counting Harry Potter (which is lightyears above and beyond any other story I’ve read or movie I’ve watched in my entire life) it was one of the best movies I’d ever seen. I now cringe to admit this, but it’s true. I don’t know what it is about middle-school girls, an actor with big hair and a bad American accent, and vampires, but it was honestly a swoon-worthy movie for all my friends and me (and probably every other girl in the theater). I may or may not have gone to it three nights in a row!
I then proceeded to read through the four books in the series, loving them all. The following year, I read them all once more and counted down the days until the release of movies New Moon and Eclipse. It wasn’t until my second time reading the last book, Breaking Dawn, that I started to realize how weakly written they actually were. My mom had always had an issue with Edward, wondering what exactly his redeeming qualities were, and while I had unwaveringly vouched for him in the past I began to see that she was on to something. Even Bella started to bug me, with her weirdly deep, dark depression in New Moon to her annoying habit of washing all the dishes and doing way too much laundry. She just didn’t seem realistic, even though the author worked extremely hard to make readers think she was. By the time the two final movies came out, my Twilight-mania had ceased for the most part. I still enjoy the stories and characters, and would go as far as calling myself a Twilight fan, but I don’t love them anymore. This series is strictly in the friend zone. Note: all these opinions are strictly my own. I mean no offense to Twilight lovers, Twilight haters, or those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about. 🙂
Even though I have mixed feelings about the books I could never go as far as missing the final movie, which I saw back in November. Two friends and I went to dinner beforehand at one of my favorite restaurants. I ordered the Chickpea and Kale Sauté, and I may have enjoyed that dish just as much as Breaking Dawn Part II later that night! Crisp chickpeas, tender kale, garlic cloves and olive oil all topped with crispy shallots and tomato coulis made up this fabulous little meal. For some reason it crossed my mind when I was thinking about what to make for dinner the other night, and I immediately knew that I wanted to recreate this healthy and delicious dish. The version I came up with is a little different than the original, but equally as good. It literally took about 20 minutes, start to finish, and was the perfect accompaniment to our roasted chicken. Filled with vitamin- and fiber-rich kale, protein-packed chickpeas, tender shallots, flavorful garlic, and zesty lemon, this dish is a keeper for sure.
Lemony Chickpea and Kale Saute
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, diced
6 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 head of kale
Zest from half a large lemon
Juice from half a large lemon
Wash and dry the kale. Tear the leaves away from the tough stems and coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick pan. Add in the shallots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and salt and sauté until chickpeas are golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Add the kale and pepper flakes (if you like spice) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Serve warm.
(Recipe adapted from Live to Eat)