Thursday, August 1, 2013

make it yourself: kale chips

When you first encounter kale in a CSA box or in the grocery store, you think - oh yes! Kale! That leafy green everyone says is the ultimate health food! But what do I do with it? A simple saute in olive oil doesn't do it for me - too bitter. I like it in stews or braises where it's cooked low and slow. But what about in the summer when it's too hot to make a thick stew? How about kale chips?

Sure. Last year I attempted kale chips and had disastrous results. They had a burnt and bitter taste, like they were the scrapings off someone's dirty grill. But this weekend, faced with two bunches of kale that was starting to wilt and zero inspiration for use of it in a meal, I decided to try again.

Enter Martha Stewart and the advice of the Everyday Food blog. I decided to try the Sriracha version, since we're big fans of the rooster sauce in this house. 

First you cut the stems out of the kale, rinse and spin the water off.

The only toppings are coarse salt, olive oil and a bit of Sriracha.

Mix it all up (and put it in a bright pink bowl).

Bake low and slow, watching the "chips" closely to make sure they don't burn. The recipe above calls for 300 degrees, but because our ovens tends to be on the hot side, I bumped it down to 275.

I stirred every five minutes or so. Once the smaller pieces and the edges were crisp, those pieces were removed and the rest went back in the oven to crisp up.

They ended up being delicious! I want to try some of the other flavor combinations suggested in that recipe with the next kale we get, now that I have a better method for baking them.

Before you store them, don't be afraid to let them "breathe." Mine turned slightly soggy after a night in an air-tight container for some reason. I think they needed more time to fully dry out than I gave them. But I'd definitely consider this a make your own snack food success!

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