Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kale As a Snack? You Betcha!

We were in a grocery store together last fall when my sister said to me, “Hey! Let’s split a bunch of kale and make potato chips!”

“Make what?” I asked. I have a bit of a hearing problem but I thought I heard her say potato chips from kale.

“Potato chips,” she said again. I did hear her right. “Well, not exactly potato chips, but just like them. I just read this article in a magazine about them. You break up the kale and bake it and it’s a great snack. No calories!”

Kale. The word conjures up no pleasant memories. I may have eaten kale once or twice in my life, maybe in a soup, certainly not by its lonesome. And I know I never bought it to cook at home. As adventurous an eater as I like to think myself, that’s one good-for-me vegetable I’ve not shined up to.

Worth a shot. We broke a bunch of kale in two at the checkout. A bunch of celery, too. Just like two little old ladies living alone.

We happened to be at a grocery store together only because we were seeking sanctuary from a deluge that marred the ordinarily very pleasant fall festival in Franklin, Pa., called Applefest. My sister and I live about 60 miles from each other and Franklin is a good half-way meeting point for us. It had been raining all morning and we were getting weary of dodging umbrellas and just being more than a little wet. But instead of ducking into a coffee shop for a break, we chose to, first, go to the library ($1 book sale!) then, to finish our day, window shopping in a grocery store, the same as we would have at the craft booths at the festival, just to see if this store had anything new and different from our “home” grocery stores.

So we each went home with our parcel of kale.

The directions were so simple, my sister had already memorized them. When I got home, I made them. Wow! She was right! It was uncanny! They really did taste, if not exactly like a potato chip, very much like the salty, crunchy snack I so often want. And to think they really are healthy!

When I talked to my sister several days later and asked if she liked her “kale chips” as much as I did, she sheepishly said that she’d let her bunch sit too long and she had to toss it. I assured her, though, that she had a great idea and she had to try them.

In the past few weeks, I have seen a couple food bloggers talk about kale chips, so I got the urge to try them again. And I think they were even better the second time around. I was singing their praises all last weekend. I have to admit, people look at me skeptically at first, then attentively as I described the process. One friend – a fierce bread and potato lover -- was particularly interested because he has been a faithful Atkins dieter for months and was growing a gnawing craving for something just like this.

So here’s how to make them. (They don’t store particularly well; all the more reason to eat ‘em up!)

Baked Kale Chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and thoroughly dry one bunch of kale. Remove the stems and thick stalks and tear into bite size pieces (think chips!). Toss torn kale in very large bowl or pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread out on baking sheets without crowding them. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure they’re crisp and just beginning to brown at the edges. Cooking too long will make the kale bitter.

(I’ve also read people put Parmesan cheese on the chips, too.)

1 comment:

  1. Well, we were enjoying a Saturday morning in the Strip. A block down from the main area, there is a local farmers market. As Renae and I enjoying the smells, I noticed a fresh bunch of Kale. I thought, "Let's make some chips." Thanks for the tips. Dan And Renae


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