Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Currently in love with ...
... kale chips.
We belonged to a CSA a couple of years ago and while I loved it, I got so sick of box after box of kale during the winter months. I was the only one eating it and most of it landed on our compost heap because I just couldn't stomach another bite. That was before I discovered the wonder of kale chips. Now I actually go out of my way to buy kale every week at the farmer's market while it's in season, just so I can make these chips! I totally cannot stop eating them. They are THAT good. Really!
If you've never heard of kale chips, well, they're exactly what they sound like they would be. Crispy, crunchy chips made from kale, a leafy green vegetable that is super healthy. If you're the type that craves crispy/salty stuff, this is the snack for you. Kale is in season during the cool months of late fall through early spring, so if you happen to be located in the northern hemisphere, your farmer's market and/or grocery store probably has some right now. Howsabout we make chips out of 'em? C'mon, it's easy! We'll do it together!
I think the hardest and most intimidating thing about making kale chips is looking at that giant bunch o' curly greens and knowing you have to somehow wash them, dry them, and convert them into bite-sized pieces. Fortunately, if you have a salad spinner this is super easy!
Just tear bite-sized pieces of kale off the stems with your fingers and drop them directly into the basket of your salad spinner.
Then trot the basket over to the sink and give your kale a good wash. (You'll want to put the stems in your compost heap. Or feed them to your rabbit. Or maybe not. Maybe rabbits aren't supposed to have kale? I have no idea. Anyway....)
Once you've washed them up, just spin the crap out of them so they get nice and dry.
And then toss them onto a couple of rusty baking sheets! See? Easy!
If you don't have a salad spinner, your best bet is to wash the kale while it's whole, dry it really well on some paper towels, then cut or rip it off the stem into bite-sized pieces. THEN whomp it onto your rusty baking sheets, as above.
Anyhoodles, that was the hard part. I know, right? I told you this was easy!
Now you've got some choices. Normally I just drizzle the kale with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle it with kosher salt, and toss it in the oven at 300 degrees for maybe 20-30 minutes, depending on how much kale I have and how much oil I've used (too much oil makes the kale soggy, which means it will take much longer to crisp up).
The most recent time I made it (and the only time I actually remembered to take photos), however, I used a recipe from the May 2011 issue of Everyday Food magazine for sriracha-spiced kale chips. Hello, that is GENIUS. I love sriracha on everything. I've even been known to eat it plain on Ritz crackers. I might have a sriracha PROBLEM, is what I'm saying.
But don't let that stop you from trying this recipe. Unfortunately it's not yet up on the Everyday Food website, or if it is I can't find it, but it's just sriracha mixed with olive oil, you guys. That's all there is to it. If you don't have sriracha, I imagine any hot sauce will do. In fact, I may try this someday with my second-favorite hot sauce, Trappey's Red Devil.
Here's the raw kale all loaded with sriracha-laced olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and then tossed around so that all the leaves are coated.
Then all you've got to do is pop your rusty baking sheets into the oven at 300 degrees for half an hour or so, tossing the kale around with tongs every 10 minutes to make sure everything is crisping up the way it's supposed to. It'll get a little bit brown around the edges, but don't let it get too brown.
Oh, and also? Your house might not smell great while this is cooking. It'll smell kind of cabbagey, to be honest. Don't worry about it, the kale chips will still taste great! I promise!
While you're waiting for the kale to cook, you might get distracted by the evening light coming through your kitchen window and making your tomatoes look all pretty.
Oh hey, the kale chips are done! They've cooked down a bit, as you can see.
Wait, was that two things? Well, whatever. They're delicious!