Thursday, January 13, 2011
These are totally not my idea, but as usual, I have managed to put my own spin on them. It is hard to be passionate about leafy greens. These are a vegetable of a different kind, though. Maybe I am not passionate, but I am engaged, so to speak.
Let's face it. Nothing can compare to the real thing--potato chips, corn chips--all those good tasting carbs that are quite terrible for our bodies. We have to get over it, addictive as these little goodies are, no one is going to mistake them for a Lay's potato chip. They are ugly step sister of snacks for sure. That being said...
I just ate the whole pan of nutrient dense Kale Crispers.
I have tried spinach chips before. Not for me. I like kale. Use it in my spoon salad. Well, it again met my criteria for the week. Low calorie, good for me (remember that new year resolution) and inexpensive (at least this week). I had heard of kale baked before--I may have even tried it myself with less than stirling results. But maybe I only dreamed that... but thought I'd try again.
After a test batch which was good but not great, I struck upon a formula I can live with--and might even bother to do again when the munchies strike. Many recipes out there--and there are tons, as this is no secret recipe-- call for an oven heated to 350 degrees. That is what I did on my first batch and they were done in half the time the recipe I went by called for. Granted, I did use the curly kale, which I suspected would crisp up faster than the flat variety. It was done in about 7 minutes. Almost too done. I really did like it, but decided I had added too much salt.
Second batch, I lowered the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Much better. The kale crispies tasted almost nutty and had no bitterness. So, armed with new knowledge, I think I will try to use the last of my bunch of kale for the preschoolers at school tomorrow who are studying nutrition. We will see if they pass the kid test. Hmm. They do still look remarkable like vegetables, not snack food. I bet I know what their reactions will be.
One more note about ingredients before I share the method. The oil of choice for me, in many applications these days, is MCT oil. That is medium chain triglyceride oil. This stuff is supposed to be much healthier for us. From the makers of NOW MCT: "MCT's are metabolized very quickly in the liver and are reported to encourage an increase in energy expenditure, while decreasing fat storage. Numerous studies suggest that substituting MCT Oil for other fats in a healthy diet may therefore help to support healthy weight and body composition." Hey, I am willing to spend a little more if it can help burn body fat. I order it through Netrition.
1/2 bunch fresh Kale
MCT oil in a spray bottle, or olive oil pan spray
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Tear off the leaves from the tough spine. Arrange the torn leaves in a single layer, not clumped, on a lined cookie sheet.(I use a silpat type liner, but I am not sure if this is necessary) Spray the leaves lightly with the oil and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt. The flavors will intensify in baking. Place in oven and bake for about 6 minutes. Check the kale by removing one leaf. If it is very light and crisp, it is done. Leaves with center stems may take a little longer in the oven, up to 10-12 minutes. Do not let them turn brown, or they will taste scorched. Check them minute by minute until they are crisp. Let cool on the sheet. Best if eaten fresh.
I have heard of those who can keep these around for a couple of days, but everyone in the blogosphere seems to say they are better freshly baked. There are tons of variations for spices to add, but I remember from my experimentation with spinach leaves, that I prefer simple salt. Quite a few enthusiasts toss the leaves with a bit of vinegar before baking as well. I may have to try that one. But to do that, I will definitely need more kale!