Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kale Chips

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Kale chips have been the buzz on the food blogosphere for quite sometimes, but it seems rather odd to me, so I didn't make any effort to try it. One day, I was at the Ferry Building downtown San Francisco when this all natural food company was giving away free kale chip samples. Curiosity told me to just take the little paper cup. As I nibbled gingerly at the crunchy leaves with a slight hint of salty cheese, I thought to myself "LeTran, I think you made a mistake ignoring this kale chip trend." So, here I am, making kale chips, following the trend.




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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

I got about 3 handfuls (be warned, I have tiny hands) of the chopped and ready to eat kale from Trader Joe's. They were all washed and ready to eat...or so the packaging said. If you get a bunch of kale from the market, just wash it and dry the leaves in a salad spinner.

Take some time to remove the hard stems in the middle of the leaves. I forgot to do that for some of them and it was not tasty at all.

The important thing is to put the kale in a large bowl. You want room for the kale circus.


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1 tablespoon of olive oil. When I read the recipes floating around the interwebz, they all said to use only 1 tablespoon and I thought that it was too little. But I was wrong, it was just enough. The leaves shouldn't be drenched in oil, it should just be coated in oil.


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It took me about a minute of tossing to get all the leaves coated.


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I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder. I forgot the salt picture. Oh well!


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The juice of about 1/4 of a lemon joined in the fun. Seriously, if I hadn't been such a silly duck, I would have used lime instead. Lime + pepper + salt = a good thing. Always.


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I went back to tossing everything really well again to distribute the seasoning evenly. I used some parchment paper to line a baking sheet and spread the kale evenly. The idea is to go with single layers so that you won't end up with some of the leaves soggy and the other ones crunchy.

Remember the preheated oven? Yeah? I made good use of that preheated oven by baking the kale in it for 10 minutes.


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I ate the whole bowl by myself. No sharing! It was delicious.

A note: It's best to buy the whole kale leaves and cut it up yourself. That way, all of the chips would be roughly the same size. This prevents the problem where the big pieces will still be limpy while the smaller ones turn brown. But if you're lazy like me and get the ready cut leaves in a bag, just eat the brown ones like a winner. They're still tasty.


Some thoughts:

1. Would it still be tasty if I use butter instead of oil?
2. If it doesn't take long to eat, is it a good idea to add in the mix some bacon bits? I already know the answer to this one.
3. I might use the Japanese rice seasoning to season my chips next time.
4. Maybe the chips can be broken into small bits to be used as toppings for soup, rice, poridge, etc.


Note:

If you don't eat the chips right away, they will lose their crispiness and you will end up with limp chips. Who wants that?

Some people said to put a bag of those desiccating beads in to keep the chips dry. I have no idea how effective that will be. However, I've tried putting my kale chips back into the oven for a couple of minutes to dry them again. That worked out pretty well but I had to keep an eye on them all the time in case they burn.

My overall advice is to make the chips and eat them within 1 hour. Spicy Kale Chips

Ingredients:

3 large handful of cut kale (or 1 bunch of whole kale leaves)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice from 1/4 of a lemon or lime

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove tough middle stems. Wash and completely dry kale.

Add in olive oil and toss to coat all pieces evenly.

Add salt, pepper, and lime. Toss again to incorporate seasoning.

Spread kale leaves on a large baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

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