Thursday, August 15, 2013

Good Eats: Kale Chips

Today's Subject: Kale

Lots of people tout the nutritional benefits of kale. It's chock full of vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, and lots more. But mostly, kale just looks healthy because it's leafy and green. So, maybe some of you are asking: What do I do with this kale? Don't feel alone. I asked that same question when I got a huge hunk of it in my CSA* share last month. In fact, the first time I got it, most of it went bad because I didn't know what to do with it. :(

Well, there are plenty of things that you can do with it: use it in salads, steam it, make chips out of it, etc. Today, I'm going to focus on the last one. Kale Chips! Maybe you've seen kale chips at the grocery store before in the natural foods section. Maybe you haven't. If you have, you've probably noticed that they come with a huge price tag for a tiny amount of product. Yes, these kale chips are delicious, but they are also very easy to make at home for a quarter of the price.

So now I'm going to share my super simple recipe for kale chips.

Ingredients you'll need:

-a big bunch of Kale (You can't make Kale Chips without the Kale!)
-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (other oils would work, too, if you have a preference)
-sea salt (or regular will do)
-garlic powder

Optional Ingredients:

-Nutritional Yeast (a staple for vegans, can be found at health food stores near the vitamins and supplements)
-Crushed red pepper powder (if you prefer a spicier flavor)
-Cashews, soaked overnight, drained, then crushed into a fine powder in a food processor

First, you'll need to preheat your oven to 275 (Fahrenheit) and get out your baking trays. Next throughly wash and dry your kale. Remove the ribs and cut (or rip, if you're lazy like me) into 1 1/2 inch pieces (chip size).

See my fresh, leafy kale before I added oil, spices, and dehydrated it?

Once you have your pieces ready, dip both sides of each piece in the oil. Not too much oil, you're not frying them! The kale doesn't have to be soaked, just wet enough that the dry ingredients will stick to it. Then, lay the pieces as flat as possible on the baking tray. You can put them pretty close together, just don't let them touch unless you want one massive kale chip. Next, sprinkle with your salt, garlic powder, and whatever spices or optional ingredients you prefer. Flip them over and repeat the sprinkling. Then, stick them in the oven and set your timer for 8-10 minutes. After 8-10 minutes, flip your chips over (They will have shrunk significantly.) and put them back in for another 8-10 minutes.

Take them out and woila, delicious kale chips!

I know, I know, it's not the prettiest picture! But believe me, they really are amazing!  Also, I put a little too much olive oil on mine.  Don't do that!  They were still great, but I had to mop the excess oil up with paper towels like you do with a greasy piece of pizza!

Kale chips cool pretty quickly, so they're usually ready to eat in about a minute.

If you have extras, put them in an airtight container or Ziploc baggie (preferably with a piece of paper towel or something to absorb the moisture from the oil) and save them for later! They can probably keep for up to a week or two, but they most likely will be long gone before then because they're freakin' delicious!

*CSA= Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you pay a set amount before the season starts and in return, you get fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs once a week until the season's over. (Generally, June-October.) I just joined one this year. I only got a half share, but it's still a lot of food for two people. It's a great way to start cooking healthier, fresher foods and learn some new recipes, too.

For more info about CSAs, check out this website .  It's called Local Harvest, and they also have a lot about farmer's markets and all kinds of hippie wonders!

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