Fooding: Kale And The Crunch

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.

Wikipedia says:

Kale is considered to be the most nutritious vegetable in the world with extremely powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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!

13 thoughts on “Fooding: Kale And The Crunch”

  1. ahhh those look awesome! so how much was “too much” salt? I might have to go get some kale and try this out.

    do you like brussels sprouts? we grilled out this past weekend, and while the burgers were cooking I quartered a bunch of BS (heh) and put them in some foil, added a couple bits of Smart Balance, and then fresh cracked pepper and salt, sealed up the foil and threw it on the grill. not suuuure how long it cooked, I’m guessing like 15 mins (we let it cook while we ate the burgers). I took a while to warm up to the BS but this was pretty delicious. Could probably easily do this in an oven as well, on a cookie sheet instead of wrapped up in foil, at 400? Guessing?

    1. Yes!! I actually bought some BS not last week, but the week before and just haven’t had time to get to them… they not be good anymore, but maybe I can save them by peeling away the first few layers. Roasting in foil is surprisingly new to me. And way easier and tastier than roasting on a pan sometimes (sometimes it can dry it out and it takes WAY longer) so I’m def going to try this. I have not won over Kamel to the BS yet. haha

      1. ooh also, I had some BS left over so I peeled off all the leaves* and threw them into a casserole with chicken (boiled and then pulled), red peppers, onions and whole wheat rotini, mixed it all up with some 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (thought the lowfat kind might be awful but it wasn’t!), about half cup of milk, lots of fresh cracked pepper and some parmesan and paprika – baked at 375 for about 35 mins.. YUM. I could hardly taste the BS, so if Kamel doesn’t like it just roasted or whatever, you can hide it in a casserole. IF the BS you have is still good. if you have to peel off all the outer layers this prob wouldn’t help you! haha.
        *I just used the greener leaf layers, set aside the white cores for another time, wasn’t sure they’d cook all the way in the casserole.

  2. We’re in the throes of the short Ontario asparagus season, so we’re trying to make the most out of it. (No really my pee has been smelling for days.) Nomnomnom, I love asparagus.

  3. Oh my, I LOVE kale. I actually had kale chips for the first time yesterday, and really liked them, but prefer it sauteed. The best way I’ve ever made it is steamed in a little bit of broth, and then sauteed with peanut butter, olive oil, garlic, and tomato. With a little bit of rice, you even get a complete protein. Perfection!

  4. Yaaay I’m so glad they turned out! And don’t worry–about every 1 in 5 batch of kale chips I make, I WAY over salt them. Either it’s incredibly easy to do, or I’m incredibly liberal with my salt.

    I keep eyeing rhubarb in the farmer’s market…it looks beautiful, but I don’t really know what to do with it (beside throw it in a pie). I should probably give it a shot…

  5. Not sure if you’re only after green vegies but I’ve always loved pumpkin scones (similar to a US biscuit). They’re the only thing my grandfather ever cooked so they’re considered a big treat in the family. Adding the pumpkin seems to be a fairly Australian thing to do. The following is an Australian recipe and I think our cup measurements may be slightly different to US cups, so you may want to check an online conversion chart

    You need:
    1 Tblsp butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1 cup mashed pumpkin (cold)
    2 cups Self raising flour

    Beat together butter, sugar and salt.
    Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in the flour.
    Turn on to floured board and cut into rounds using a cookie cutter or a glass dipped in water.
    Place in tray on top shelf of very hot oven 225-250 degrees celcius for 15-20 minutes.

  6. i just thought you should know that i bought kale today and came back to THIS website, right here, for instructions on how to make chips out of it. i’ll report back when i’m done.

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