Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What the Kale!

Kale: finding its way into your diet in an unexpected, yet delicious way!

Recently, I noticed that kale has a new found popularity among junk food junkies and health nuts alike.
The reason? Kale Chips.

Many of us were already aware of the wonderful health benefits this leafy green brings to the table.  But for many, when cooked a more traditional way, the super food comes off as an unpleasant smelling, soggy piece of lettuce. Not too mention, all of the added fat and calories these recipes drown the vegetable in.

Kale is making a come back with this delicious new snack craze that blows potato chips out of the water! These little bites of green goodness are much healthier, and come packed with all kinds of nutrients. So I decided I wanted to get in on this snacking revolution. After looking up several recipes, with an array of results, I decided to wing it and create my own recipe. I chose to forego using any type of oil (which most recipes call for) because I simply don't like oil on my greens. Of course you could also change my recipe and replace the seasoning with whatever you like; Salt & Pepper, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Powder... the possibilities are endless.

Maryland Style Kale Chips

You will need:

1 Baking Sheet (or two, depending on how much you wish to make)
Parchment Paper
1 Bunch of Kale
Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)

To start, I heated my oven to 350. Then grabbed a baking sheet and lined it with parchment paper. I think using parchment, as opposed to foil helps the chips crisp up. (In my theory:)The Parchment allows the water in the kale to evaporate without condensing and creating steam, much like foil would. Which would leave you eating a bunch of soggy chips. Next, you'll want to rinse your Kale in cold water to remove any unwanted dirt. Arrange your rinsed leaves on paper towels and pat dry. Make sure all excess water is shaken or dried off before you continue.

With a paring knife, separate the leafy part of the kale from the thick middle stem. If the stem was to be left attached to the leaves, the chips would lack their crunch. This is because the stem holds most of the vegetable's water; more water = greater chances of soggy chips.  If there are any unusually thick veins in the leaves, remove them as well. Finally, tear the kale into small, bite size pieces. 

Now that we have our raw "chips" ready, it's time to move them to your parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the pieces out into one even layer and sprinkle them with your favorite seasoning. I used Old Bay because this is Maryland, after all. And well, we would probably eat an old shoe if it were seasoned with Old Bay, and served with a Natty Boh...

 Now you're ready to bake your chips! After 10 mins of uninterrupted baking, check the texture of your chips. If there is any softness still present, put them back in the oven for a few more minutes. When they are ready, they should feel as you would expect freeze dried herbs to feel, very delicate and crisp. They should also have retained most of their color!

Unashamed, I proceeded to eat the entire tray full. Honestly, with very little remorse. And though, I could have munched on them all day, the amount I ate left me full and energized. ( I made about 3 large leaves worth)

In the end, I added a brand new, easy to make snack to my repertoire , and I love it!

What seasonings will YOU try on your homemade kale chips? Share in the comments below!

Artfully Yours,


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