Monday, October 24, 2011

Creole Kale Chips

I'm back from my too-brief visit to Columbia.  It was hard to leave that sweet little baby behind, but I have things to take care of from my home base.  I think Puddin was happy to have me back this morning since it gave him a bed to sleep in after my mom went to work.  He's also super stoked to have access to my brown blanket again.

So I promised you kale chips and kale chips you will get.  You should give these a shot even if you're not a big fan of greens.  I've been trying for years to like collards without success, and I wolfed down these kale chips in two days.  Something about making them super crispy and paper thin takes away any reluctance I have to eat greens.  Note: Greens, not green food.

I probably don't need to tell you this, but kale is full of good stuff.  Vitamins A and K plus a good chunk of beta carotene and antioxidants.  Tossed with awesome olive oil and seasoned?  Delightful.  It's not going to replace potato chips for those times when only potato chips will do (watching football), but you'll do yourself a favor if you reach for the kale chips more than the potatoes.  In fact, it chaps my behind when I see a recipe that promises to taste just like the original with less fat/calories/sugar.  Um, no.  If you're making your lasagna and alternating every other layer with eggplant, I'm gonna know.  That doesn't mean it won't be as good or I won't like it, but don't try to trick me into thinking I'm getting the same thing.  I know the difference between eggplant and noodles.  But y'know what?  Kale chips are tasty and aren't going to make you go up a dress size.  So there.

I hesitate to call this a recipe.  It's more of a method.  
Rinse a bunch of kale.  The lacinato or dinosaur variety is better for chips because it's a flat leaf as opposed to the curly variety.
Strip the leaves off the stems.  The stems are tough and won't be good for a chip.  Dry the leaves thoroughly.
Spread the leaves on a large baking sheet, possibly two to prevent a lot of overlapping.  Drizzle olive oil over the leaves and sprinkle whatever sort of seasoning you want.  I used Creole seasoning for a little kick.  Bake them in a 275º oven for 30 minutes, giving them a toss with tongs halfway through.  Let them hang out in the oven to crisp even more after you turn the heat off.
Boom.  Kale chips.  They'll be a dark green and delicately crispy.  
I ate these pretty quickly as a snack and a side to my lunch the next day.  You could do any number of flavor profiles: simple salt and pepper, spicy with cayenne or creole seasoning, a sprinkle of parmesan after they bake, or salt and vinegar.  Whaaat?  I may be making salt and vinegar kale chips tomorrow because I just bought two big bunches of kale to play with.  I'm not entirely sure how long they would last because it's just so darn hard not to eat them!

Creole Kale Chips (makes enough for 2 people to have a nice snack)
method from Joy the Baker

1 bunch of kale (dinosaur/lacinato is preferable)
Olive oil
Creole seasoning
  • Preheat the oven to 275º.  Wash the kale and strip the leaves off the stalks.  Dry the leaves thoroughly.  Spread them on 1-2 large baking sheets.  
  • Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle Creole seasoning over the leaves.  Toss the leaves to coat them with the oil and seasonings.  Bake for 30 minutes, tossing with tongs halfway through baking.  Let cool 30 minutes in the oven after the heat has been turned off.  Store in airtight baggies.

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