Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kale Chips

Today Sam and I went to the Richmond Country Farms Market.  I bought many bags of vegetables, including but not limited to:
Golden Beets
Swiss Chard
Spagetti Squash
Purple Potatoes
Roma Tomatoes
Other tomatoes which I can't remember the name of
Russian Red Garlic
Crimini Mushrooms
Multicolored Peppers
Pink Lady Apples

Doesn't that all sound yummy?  It's all locally grown... I bought so much I couldn't carry it and it only came to $38!

There are a few things in that list that I've never tried before, one being Kale.  If you don't know what Kale is, it's often used as garnish in average sit down restaurants... it's the really curly, sort of rubbery green leaf that sometimes holds your condiments...

Well, it's not only a garnish, it turns out you can actually eat it! One way is to steam it and eat it as a hot side vegetable.  One other way is to rip up the leaves, massage them with olive oil and sea salt and let them sit... the salt and oil helps break down the fiber and it becomes a bit less rubbery.  The third and so far my favorite way, is to bake it into chips!  That's right, KALE CHIPS!

Here's how!

Rip up a few big handfuls of kale.  Rip them right off that stalky stem.  I did four stems worth.  You don't want more than will fit in a single layer on your baking sheet (which you've covered with tin foil).
Wash the Kale.  If you have a salad spinner, you can make the chips in a single session.  If you don't, you need to do this part first and then let them dry.  It's not just 'suggested'... the kale leaves must be BONE DRY before baking.  If you have a salad spinner, spin like crazy and then take them out and dry them some more.  If you don't have the spinner, you'll need to pat dry, leave, turn, pat dry... you get the picture.... BONE DRY!

Once they're dry, put in a bowl and massage with Olive Oil... I used about a table spoon... you don't need much...Once coated, lay out on baking sheet and then sprinkle with seasalt.  At this time, you could use any other seasonings you like... garlic or onion powder, curry, paprika... any and all... I put Trader Joe South African Smoke Seasoning on mine... 

Pop into a 350 degree oven for about 12 min, turning half way through... now, here's the tricky part... you want to cook till they're crispy and dark dark green but you do NOT want them to turn brown at all.  It's a very small window when they change, so don't wander away... 

The other thing I did tonight was to make a salad by softening with olive oil and salt and then I tossed in some sliced mushrooms and purple pepper and drizzled balsamic over the whole thing.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

 Four stalks, leaves ripped off
 This is the drying time... don't skip this step!
Once they're cooked... they shrink down quite a bit
Salad, all dressed and ready to eat.