Friday, June 22, 2012

crispy kale, anyone?

It's been a bit of an obsession of mine....and while I'm getting better and not staying on it for hours (yes, I said hours), I'm still checking it daily.  Pinning and repinning awesome sounding recipes, DIY projects I'd love to do, tips for getting healthier, ideas for my classroom, random tips for household organization, and wish lists upon wish lists of outfits, shoes, jewelry, hair styles, and makeup I'd love to have, buy, fit into, and pull off someday.  

Basically, I'm warning you that a lot of my posts may be Pinterest-inspired.  :)

One day a while back, I repinned a recipe for baked kale chips.  It was something I heard about once....I believe it was on Rachael Ray's TV show.....and I thought it sounded not only easy, but very nutritious.  And I'm constantly trying (and often falling off the wagon) to get more veggies into my diet.  

The only experience I had with kale was wilting it into a couple soup recipes (like you might do with spinach) and I found it didn't have much taste in the soups.  It gave me some extra veggies though, and that's all that mattered to me!   So, when I heard about this idea of making a snack out of kale, I was intrigued for sure.

I did a huge grocery shop the other my effort to eat healthier this summer, I spent a lot of time in the produce section.  When I saw the kale, I remembered that "pin" that I wanted to try and bought a huge bunch of the green veggie.

Here's the link to the recipe I started with....and true to my blog, I put my own twist on it.  Not that I think this author's recipe wouldn't work-- I just couldn't resist adding a couple things. :)

Start by washing a bunch of fresh kale.  I only used half of the bunch I bought, and it still made two pans of chips.  (Just to give you an idea of how much you could get out of it.)

Once you wash the kale, strip the leaves from the tough stalks and tear into whatever size you'd like your chips to be.  Personally, I think the smaller ones worked best.  They were super crunchy!

The washed kale will hold the water pretty well, so you want to dry it first.  I used my salad spinner.  I knew that thing would come in handy some day!!
Here are three of the four ingredients I used on the kale: fine sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic powder.  The reason the fourth is missing is because I didn't think of it until I made my second batch.  I'll keep you in suspense on the mystery ingredient...;)
This goes off from the original recipe, which just calls for the salt and oil. 

I couldn't resist adding some garlic- I have an unhealthy obsession with garlic.  It might need to take out a restraining order on me. 

Oooh....maybe I should try roasted garlic next time.  But....I digress...back to the recipe!

Toss the kale pieces with the above ingredients. I don't really measure things as much as I should, so I don't have exact measurements to give you.  I apologize if that sends you into a panic, or makes you question my cooking abilities.....but, that's how it is folks.  

This is the best I can tell you:  I drizzled the bowl of kale once, tossed them around, and then drizzled it again.  I know....fantastic measuring, right?  As for the salt and garlic did turn out a little saltier than I like so I would go a little lighter on those next time.  I pretty much did the same process with those....sprinkled them both on top of the "oiled" kale, tossed, and then repeated.  Next time, I think I'll leave out the second sprinkling.  Again, I'm really sorry for the inexactness of my recipe.  I'll try to be a little more helpful next time.  :)

As suggested by the original recipe's author, I put parchment paper on my baking sheets.  Easy clean up!!  Then I arranged the oiled and seasoned kale pieces on the first pan, and put it in my oven which was preheated to 350 degrees.   They should be crispy and delicious in about 10-15 minutes.  It really depends on your oven as well as how crispy you like them.   I liked the crispier ones I say keep them in longer.  But, that's just me.
And here's where I had a stroke of genius!  The mystery ingredient is.......grated Parmesan cheese!  Actually, this is the more sophisticated (i.e. expensive) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese because I had some extra in my fridge from another recipe.    So I sprinkled some of that onto the second pan (and yes, I said "some"- no measuring again). 

I do have to say that I liked this batch much better.  But I'm almost as obsessed with cheese as I am with garlic.  Okay, it might be a tie.

Here's what the kale chips looked like when I took them out of the oven.

And here are what was left of them after I was snacking on them straight from the pan. 

They made a fabulous accompaniment to my dinner that night....which consisted of reheated meatballs with a homemade sauce (a Pioneer Woman recipe that I made months ago and froze the extras), and garlic mashed potatoes (storebought from the dairy section- mostly because it's summer and I wanted to limit the amount of heat in my kitchen).  So within ten minutes of the kale chips being done, I sat down to this delicious and well-rounded meal. 

As for the leftover kale (I still have a half bunch in the fridge)....I'm looking into a new use for it.  I have a few ideas, but am welcome to any suggestions you might have!


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