Friday, April 26, 2013

Kale Chips!!

Okay, I figured I owed you some nutritional penance to make up for the bunny snack mix recipe I posted-- here it is (and relatively painless!)--- kale chips!

If you are like me, you've been hearing about these as they've been rocketing in popularity over the last year or so. I'm never one to jump on the bandwagon right away (especially when it comes to food fads!). But once again, the box of veggies that magically appears on my doorstep once a month has forced me to get out of my food rut and try something new.

A few weeks ago we ended up with not one or two but THREE big bunches of kale in the box. I took that as a sign that I really needed to try some kale recipes. Even though I've really been enjoying the chard (I even planted some in my garden!) the dark green and potentially bitter kale leaves still had me apprehensive.

After rejecting an assortment of recipes for soups and salads, I came across recipe after recipe after recipe for kale chips. After the beet chip debacle, I was a little leery. But it really seemed like a veggie chip recipe that has a minimum of fussing and would get consistent results. Turns out that you can do (pretty much) anything to kale and the results are (practically) fool-proof!

If you haven't tried kale chips, they are worth an experiment. Once cooked, they have the texture of the lightest potato chip ever. Just very light and crisp. A great snack!

For this recipe, I'm using one bunch of kale. After the first test batch passed the rigorous testing from the hubby (a noted crunch-o-holic), I found that Trader Joe's (and other stores) sell bagged kale pieces. All you need to do is sort out any big stems and you are ready to go!

As a side note, I made a big batch of these to have at a game night we were hosting at our house. I was using a bagged kale which was mostly curly kale. The curly leaf bits end up thinner than the flat leaf kale. One guest described them as "ephemeral". They were sooo thin and fragile that we had a bit of a problem with tiny kale bits dropping around the table (and unfortunately getting stuck in guests' teeth!). They were enjoyed nevertheless, although we did have to break out the box of toothpicks at one point. If you are bringing this dish to share, stick with flat leaf varieties (and if you are eating at home, check your teeth before you go out!)

Recipe: Kale Chips

1 bunch (or bag) of kale
1-2 Tbs olive oil
salt to taste

1) Wash and spin or pat dry your leaves.
2) Remove woody stems and cut or tear leaves into chip (1" x 2" ish) pieces
3) Pour 1 Tbs of olive oil into a gallon size baggie (recycled produce bag okay, too)
4) Add in kale pieces. Twist top of bag to trap air inside with leaves. Shake, shake, shake until all leaves are coated. If you have a lot of leaves and the oil isn't coating them all, add the extra olive oil and repeat.
5) Pour out leaves onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silpat. Try not to overload the tray. The leaves will need some air space to dry evenly.
6) Lightly sprinkle with salt (I found a little goes a long ways here)
7) Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Stir leaves so outside leaves get to middle & vice versa. Try to separate clumps and space out pieces for even drying.
8) Bake for a further 10 minutes. Check for doneness. Dry leaves will sit loosely on the tray and if you shake it, they will slide and make a little dry leaf-type noise. If all the leaves are dry, take out tray. If not, stir and cook for 5 more minutes. Repeat until all leaves are dry.
9) Let cool for 5 minutes. Eat!

These make a great substitute for light snacks like potato chips or popcorn. By making them yourself, you are saving a ridiculous amount of money. I saw this week at the grocery store, a small potato chip size bag of kale chips (an ounce or less) was running $5.99. That's just INSANE. A whole bag of chopped kale cost me $2.29 and made about 6 servings. So let's see that's a savings of over 90%. Nice!

If you are looking for fancy flavors, we gave garlic/parmesan a try and it was a big hit. I just added a teaspoon of crushed garlic to the oil before adding the kale and then sprinkled parmesan over the leaves before cooking instead of salt. I think next I'll try substituting sesame oil for some of the olive oil and sprinkling on sesame seeds.

For more ideas, try looking at this site: . They have suggestions for 10 different flavorings to try.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think or how this worked for you! Feel free to comment below. Click the "like" button to add us to your facebook newsfeed.

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