I’m Back! With Kale Chips…Posted: February 23, 2013
So, as I’m sure anyone who ever comes on and pokes around on my blog knows, I have been MIA for a long long while. I completed my undergraduate degree about a year ago, and had lots of grand intentions that I would start blogging like a crazy woman since I was certainly doing more cooking with my additional time. But, as with many things, good intentions don’t always equate to action. Shortly after graduating I was given a promotion at work and took on a large number of additional responsibilities, and then I started graduate school in the Fall. So, these days I’m a pretty busy lady. BUT- I have decided that it is time to prioritize things that I enjoy! It’s just hard to find motivation for creative outlets when you get home after a long day at work, do some reading for school, work on a paper, cook dinner for your family, etc. Sometimes all you want to do is veg out. As time has gone on however, I’m finding that all the vegging I have done just makes me feel lazy, regardless how well-deserved it is. I realized that I am the kind of person who, if I truly want to feel happy and satisfied with my day, week, or month I need to do something that feels productive.
So I’m back in the kitchen with the camera (I was using a point and shoot before, but at this point it’s an iPhone 4S. I’m working on getting a real camera for this stuff…) and I’m trying to get behind the keyboard. The sad reality is, the hardest thing for me with this blog is getting in and actually selecting and editing my photos. Over the past year I have accumulated lots of photos, but have no blog posts to show for it. It’s pretty sad really. But here I am. As many times before in my life, I recently took inventory of things and decided some changes need to be made! Better prioritization and time management, make more of an effort to plan fun activities with my family and friends, and taking better care of myself both physically and mentally. It’s been a little slow moving, but I’m making progress! Yay!
So, with all this change comes attempts at improving my health. I tend to be a salty snacker so finding something healthy to replace your standard fare seemed like a good idea. Here’s the problem though. I am not the kind of person who can replace Lays potato chips with baked soy chips and be satisfied (for those of you who can- more power to ya). If I try and go that far in the other direction it does no good and I end up crawling back to the salty goodness of those Lays. Not exactly healthy behavior. So I was trying to think of a good replacement for potato chips (and similar salty snacks) that packs a better health-punch but is actually good enough to make me forget about potato chips. I have found that snack. KALE CHIPS. I had them for the first time a couple years ago at my sister-in-laws and thought they were great. I tried my first crack at them about a year ago and a couple times since then and they were good but I didn’t have my recipe down yet. This time, they were PERFECT.
I think I figured out a few things that help make a good kale chip. First, use the ruffly kale! The first couple times I avoided the ruffly-looking kale, and tried for the variety that has large, mostly flat leaves. I figured that those would make for a better crispy chip, but after using the ruffly kale I found that all the additional edge created by the ruffles makes for an extra-crispy, extra-yummy chip! The other thing I learned is that using extra oil thinking that it will help the kale crisp up does you no good. It just results in oily chips (bleck). The only downside to the kale chips is that they result in a much smaller volume of chips than the kale you started with. So if you want to make enough that they’ll fulfill your cravings for a few days make sure you get lots of raw kale! This is a great snack for all times of the year, but it’s extra great this time of year when it’s still nice and cold because as you cook the chips you have to prop the oven open to release the moisture. This heats up the kitchen and, in the case of my cozy little place, the rest of the house pretty quickly! So get ready for a nice cozy night in a warm house with some wonderful kale chips to snack on!
9 stalks of ruffly kale, makes about 6 cups cut up (Another thing that I think may make a good kale chip is using baby kale. I have yet to try it, but using baby kale would cut down on the prep significantly. I have seen it in pre-cut, pre-washed packages at my local grocery store. If someone out there tries it, let me know how it turns out!)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 225° F
- Cut the kale into the size that you would like for your chips. Keep in mind that the kale shrinks down a bit once cooked. The easiest way to cut kale for me is to place a stalk face-down then run my knife along the edges of the rib. Then I end up with two large kale leaves that I then cut into smaller pieces. I have heard people say that it’s easy to just pull the leaves off the rib by running your fingers down the rib firmly, but I found that 1- this hurt my fingers (I know, I’m a baby) and 2- it resulted in torn up leaves.
- Next throw the cut up pieces into a bowl and toss them with the olive oil. Make sure that each piece of kale gets a thin coat of olive oil, otherwise you will lose some of that crispy goodness.
- Place some of the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt (as I’m sure you can see, we like a lot of salt in my house).
- Here is where things get a little different. Put the baking sheet in the oven, and using a fork, prop the oven door open. It doesn’t have to be propped open much at all, but just enough that the moisture from the leaves can escape the oven. If you don’t do this you risk your chips becoming a little soggy. Bake like this for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the time to make sure all chips are evenly cooked. Careful when removing the fork! It can get a little hot…
- Once you pull them out of the oven let them cool on the pan for about 5 minutes. After that store them in a plastic or glass container or a zip lock bag in a dry place. I have no experience in storing these longer than 24 hours because in my house they tend to all be eaten the same day they are made, so I unfortunately can’t say precisely how long they are good for. Hopefully you won’t ever know either!