Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kale Chips

We eat a lot of dark, leafy greens. I crave them. I heart them. Chard, kale, spinach, arugula... we have them almost daily, because at the end of summer and all through the fall and winter, they are easy to grow here in Northern California, and so good for you. Our CSA supplier, Live Earth Farm, must grow them by the ton, because they're in our box for months on end. They're very versatile, and even the girls have developed a taste for them. This is Violet's favorite way to eat kale, and it is so easy to prepare, it's stoopid. When something is this quick, cheap and simple, it makes it really fun to experiment with flavor combinations, because if one doesn't work out, you're only out about 15 minutes and a couple of bucks.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8-10 mins
Ingredients:  2 (unless you're gettin crazy, which by all means, you should!)

Preheat oven to 350. Wash kale well, then tear it into bite-sized chunks. Remove the vein towards the bottom, because it won't cook long enough to soften. Spin chunks in the salad spinner, dump out the collected water, then spin them again. Remove to a towel, and dry thoroughly. It's very important that the leaves are completely dry, otherwise they won't crisp up when you bake them. In a large bowl, combine kale with 1 tbsp. oil, and a couple of pinches of seasoning. This is where you can go nuts with the creativity and whatnot.

Olive oil, salt & pepper
Peppercorn chili oil & ground, toasted sesame seeds
Toasted sesame oil, salt & white pepper
Peanut oil, salt and garam masala
Olive oil, smoked paprika, salt & lemon lemon pepper
Do you see where I'm going with this?

Lay the kale chunks on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Do not crowd the leaves, otherwise they won't crisp up. Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking frequently for signs of burning (brown edges). If they brown they will take on a slightly bitter taste, but to be perfectly honest, I've burned many a batch of kale chips, and they still taste good to me. After removing chips from the baking sheet, you can eat them as is, or grate lemon zest, salty/sharp cheese, or nutmeg on them. Or dip them in hot sauce. Or crunch them over salads. Or sprinkle over a stir-fry. Or if you're Violet and me, eat the entire batch straight out of the oven, and wash them down with something cold and bubbly (root beer and beer, respectively).

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