Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kale Chip Virgin... No More!

Can you believe this intrepid dietitian has never made kale chips?  I know, living in the Pacific Northwest where kale is practically a food group, I'm not sure how it's possible either.  Ben and I were grocery shopping on Sunday and a lovely young lady was giving out samples of raw kale chips flavored with vegan nacho cheese.  I'm still on the fence about nacho cheese-flavored anything, but I was sold on the kale chips!

I've been fabulously busy seeing patients and teaching at Bastyr and doing a bit of consulting but today I had three (!) cancellations, so I decided to play a bit with my new photography lights. Today is a quintessentially grey Seattle day, the type of grey that seems viscous, reducing all activity to slow motion; the type of day that makes you want to start an IV drip of hot cocoa and watch a marathon of some terrible-yet-lovable TV show.  Instead, I put on my galoshes and picked the few remaining good stalks of lacinato (dinosaur) kale out of my tiny garden patch to try recreating the morsels from the grocery store.

Did I tell you that my garden patch is dying?  There's been an empty lot behind my home for years, but this past spring its owner decided he wanted to do more than store stacks of two-by-fours on his property. He has proceeded to build two monstrous townhomes about 15 feet from my kitchen window.  My little kale plants have put up a valiant, sunless fight, but this is the last year of gardening in my little patch of earth.

Being as this is my first time making my very own kale chips, I learned two very important facts:

First, kale chips are DELICIOUS!  Crisp, covered in olive oil and a touch of salt, I consumed the entire first experimental batch (with the help of Duncan the dastardly dachshund, who deemed them lovely, if a bit difficult to chew).

Second, you really need to remove the stems.  I thought I could get away with stems in the baby lacinato straight from my garden, but even the freshest of kale stems are too tough to chew once baked.  I've been eating kale chips like a maniacal cartoon character whipping through ears of corn on the cob.

Kale Chips
To make your very own kale chips, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Stem and chop whatever type of kale suits your mood.  Add a bit of olive oil and massage until all the leave are covered.  Toss on a pinch of salt and whatever other seasoning you desire (wouldn't smoked paprika be divine?).  Lay them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the leaves are crisp and begin to blacken (but not burn!).  Let them cool, then snack away.



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