Back to my journey of the vegetable and the fruit. Last week there were apples and nectarines and broccoli. I was having a difficult food week, meaning I was hyper sensitive to texture and had a hard time gagging down things I normally like. Kamel has resisted the broccoli, so I got some of the pre-cut heads, did a quick steam, and added them to mac and cheese. I made 4 servings and popped them into glass tupperware and they served as lunch for 3 days. 3, because I could only gag it down for one of the days (when usually this is one of my favorites), and Kamel had to finish the rest. And you know what he told me? He loved it. He actually enjoyed the broccoli. And then when we had chinese food later in the week and got veggie chow mein, he actually picked out the broccoli and ate it. I call that success.
But on to the Kale…
Monday night, after a fabulous long weekend, I decided to tackle the Kale Chip. The Kale had been chillin’ in the fridge for about a week and I’d just been waiting for a minute of down time to dive into it. I used run-of-the-mill green Kale. Apparently there is less curly Kale, but I was lucky to find any at all at the Safeway.
I only used a portion of the Kale since there was a ton in the bunch, and making Kale chips does take a bit of time. I listened to what everyone had said: make sure to dry them thoroughly, don’t use the tough stem-y bits, really work in the olive oil because the curls will resist it.
The curls were definitely difficult to dry. They held water like a mofo and I was worried they wouldn’t crisp up if I wasn’t diligent, so I used some TLC.
This was the time consuming part – handling each piece, tapping it dry, really working into the curls, etc. Once I felt everything was dry, I did a deeper inspection of the tougher vein-y parts, and cleared more of them out. Then, I added 1 tbsp of olive oil to the mix and really worked the oil into the leaves with my fingers, making sure to get into all of the curls.
After this i added sea salt … after tasting them at the end of this, I added way too much sea salt. This was my only real mess up. But it was incredibly hard to see if the salt was sticking or not, and hard for me to tell how much was needed since I didn’t know quite what they would taste like after they were cooked. I definitely would cut down my sea salt usage by 1/2 and just trust that the salt I do use is making it’s way into the leaves.
Parchment paper was my biggest success. Hooray for parchment paper!! It kept them from sticking and meant I didn’t have to wash the pans. For the win.
I set a timer for 20 minutes and when they came out I worried a bit that I had burnt them. I also worried they would be soggy, but upon inspection (meaning… my gentle tap on the leaf) they were super duperly crispy. They were not soggy, they were not stuck to the paper, they were totally perfect (minus the over salted factor). I felt proud. And then I fed them to Kamel, who was still working on name cards. On a scale between 1 and 10, 10 being I want them every day and 1 being I can’t even swallow this, Kamel said they were an 8, and would have been higher if I hadn’t poured 1/2 a bottle of sea salt upon them (not really, but almost).
We polished off the two pans I had made and then promptly looked up the nutritional benefits of Kale, just so we could pat ourselves on the back.
Kale is considered to be the most nutritious vegetable in the world with extremely powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory.
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.Boiling decreases the level of the anti-cancer compounds; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.
So basically, eating Kale will make you live longer, fights cancer, and will one day save the world. I’m in.
The only thing I would change, aside from the salt, is the timing. We ate them pretty late at night before bed, and they were a little harsh on my stomach. They definitely give your intestines a work out and my body was pretty much like, “what the eff is going on down there?!” But all in all – crunchy, light, uniquely flavored and easy to eat. We’ll be munching on these again soon (possibly with a little vinegar added, as was previously suggested!).
What else is going on in the vegetable/fruit world? Have you tried anything new lately? We’re in peak Farmer’s Marget time! It’s a perfect excuse to take risks. Do you have any more fruit or veggie tricks you swear by? In the next few months I’ll be picking up a cook book, but right now I’m depending on you, and the internet, for my trials into the produce section. Thank you for all your help!