Thursday, 18 August 2011

Kale me now.

I eat too many chips. I could blame it on being a student but I'm not sure that flies. I try to pick the "healthy" ones. Actually I love the root vegetable kind seasoned with tomato. Unfortunately that is also the most expensive bag of chips I can find at the store, and there is not much in the bag.
I would like to make an effort to stop eating so many empty calories in the form of chips and replace my snacks with something containing a couple vitamins, maybe some anti-oxidants.

I present to you today, replacement option 1: Kale chips. These are all the rage right now and, thanks to Mike's parents' bringing over a gigantic bushel of kale, I finally had the chance to try making them.

It took several tries to get the hang of it, but the key to a perfect kale chip is: don't take your eyes off of them.

Kale Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. I cook on a pizza stone in the middle of the oven.
  2. Wash the kale and tear the leaves into chip size pieces, the size of your palm (if you are a girl with small hands) or smaller. The smaller ones are always the most satisfying, the ones you can just crush in one mouthful. Avoid incorporating any stems into your batch, these dont cook as fast as the leaves and will be chewy rather than crisp.
  3. Dry the leaves (shake or let sit on a towel for a couple minutes) and put into a large bowl. Drizzle on your topping (I mention a couple below) and toss to coat with your hands. You dont need a lot but try to coat evenly.
  4. Spread the kale out evenly on a baking sheet. I dont overlay the leaves, I will do several batches instead. Before you put them in you can sprinkle with a teeny tiny bit of salt. If you are making an asian flair chip you can also sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  5. Put the tray in the oven. You can let them go about 5 minutes unattended but after that I start to check on them. I take the tray out and touch one of the leaves. If it is done it will be brittle and dry, like a fallen autumn dry leaf. If it is still floppy, leave it in the oven. If the leaves are turning brown, they are over done and will taste bitter and burnt. In my oven, 8 minutes is about perfect. But some leaves take longer than others so I remove them as they are ready. You can eat them as soon as they come out.
*Note: my mom found better success with making these using a lower temperature for longer (150F for a couple of hours). So maybe depending on your oven or time constraints you may want to play around with these two variables.

Kale Chip Seasonings

Asian flair
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • a dash or 2 of togarashi shichimi (chili, salty udon spice) - if you dont have this I would use chili powder and seasoning salt
  • Toasted sesame seeds
Citrus salt
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 minced/crushed garlic clove
  • Seasoning or sea salt

Note on seasoning
Mix your own proportions but be careful with the salt. The leaves shrink when you cook so the flavour really concentrates. I dont put much salt in the mix but do a very sparse sprinkling over leaves when they are spread out on the baking sheet just before going in. If you make them too salty, learn from it and try again.

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