Friday, March 23, 2012

Crunchy Kale Chips

I never met a salty snack I didn't like and kale chips are no exception. However, unlike many deep-fried salty snacks that have little nutrional value, kale chips are loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A and K, and the small amount of oil used in this recipe actually makes it easier to absorb these vitamins.

Making kale chips is simple. Wash and dry a bunch of fresh and sturdy kale leaves. Remove the stems. Break into bite-sized pieces. Toss with oil. Add salt and pepper, if desired, as well as any other flavorings. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until crispy.

Some recipes call for baking the kale in a hot (400 degree F) oven. However, I find it's much easier to control the doneness of the chips in a moderate temperature oven. It will take a little longer, though. If you have a food dehydrator, you can skip the oven altogether and simply dehydrate the chips. I think you get the best product using a dehydrator, but the oven works just fine if you don't have a dehydrator.

Kale chips are addictingly delicious and since they are rather delicate, they don't do particularly well as dippers. However, they're wonderful crumbled onto salads or fresh-popped popcorn. And keep in mind, they can get soggy, so use them quickly or store them in a air-tight container.

1 bunch kale
1 T olive oil
1 t salt, or to taste
pepper to taste
flavorings to taste (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees F.

2. Wash and dry the kale. Remove the stems and break into bite-sized pieces. You should have 6-8 C of loosely packed kale leaves. Place in a large bowl.

3. Drizzle the oil over the kale and toss gently until the oil is well-distributed. Add the salt and any other flavorings you prefer. Toss well to distribute evenly.

4. Spread kale in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove from baking sheet and serve.

It's best to avoid any liquid flavorings that are not oil-based. However, once you coat the kale with the oil, you can add a small amount of liquid such as a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice, or a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Be sure to toss well to distribute the flavorings evenly.

If you want to get a little fancy, you can try Master Food Preserver, Amy Goldman's recipe: Blend 1 C cashews, 1/2 bell pepper, juice from 1/2 lemon, 1/2 C nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Toss this mixture with the kale and dehydrate or dry in the oven.

Today's bounty included:

From Massa Organics: CA-grown organic brown rice;

From Sage Mountain Farm: Red sails lettuce, shiraz beets, red Russian kale, and green onions;

From Underwood Family Farms: Japanese turnips, Easter radishes, bok choy, fennel, Zutano avocado, purple kale, Romesco cauliflower, broccoli, yellow carrots, and romaine lettuce;

From Weiser Family Farms: Red thumbs potatoes;

From Jaime Farms: cabbage, red onions, brown onions, hot-house red bell peppers, hot-house zucchini, cilantro, dill, free-range eggs, and hot-house Better Boy tomatoes;

From Rancho Santa Celicia: navel oranges.



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