Monday, September 26, 2011

Kale Chips

Oh chips. How I love the crispy, salty, no nutritional value chip. I don't know if I've met a chip I didn't like. My stomach on the other hand, has meet plently of chip binges it did not appreciate. Though I enjoy plenty of sweets, it's my salt tooth that often wins in the late night naughty snacking battle. While healthy boyfriend craves ice cream, I dream of flavor blasted goldfish, sour cream and onion chips, and cheez its. I must find a way to control my need for salt, while also finding healthy recipes that curb the ever present craving.

Now begins my exploration of vegetable chips. I've read a lot of recipes, so I decided to start with one of the healthiest vegetables there is, KALE.
Such a rich green, and mine had purple stems.
There are websites devoted to this fall rockstar vegetable. Kale is like the valedictorian who is also good at soccer and volunteers on weekends. It's a super vegetable, you just can't believe how good for you it is. Especially because many people don't eat it often enough. Dark greens in general are great for you, high in magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and Vitamin A, E, K, and C. Kale is also full of fiber, folic acid and micro nutrients; clearly its just showing off now. Kale, and other dark greens such as broccoli and collards, get you the most bang for your nutritional buck.

If you want more info on kale, here is one of many wesbite that has additional information of this dark green beauty: Kale 4 Life!

It is important to buy organic or local kale if possible. It is one of the "dirty dozen" which are 12 fruits and vegetables that absorb the most pesticides, making them possibly unsafe even when washed. On the other end of the spectrum are the clean 15, fruit and vegetables that you can buy non-organic and not have to worry too much about pesticides. With all the research coming out about pesticides, more and more showing how harmful and unsafe they are for everyone and especially young children, its good to know what to buy organic and what can go either way. I know organic can be pricey, but it's worth it. Of course local is best and cheapest, but you are always limited by your location and season (As we should be, but most of us do not stick to the 50 mile rule). Especially pay attention if you are feeding babies or toddlers. There is research showing the pesticides they spray on food can damage neurological development. Yikes.

Currently I'm buying about eighty percent of my vegetables from the farmer's markets, and encourage everyone to do the same. Nothing better than buying local, supporting your local farmers, and getting food fresh. If you are unable to do this, try your best to pay attention to where your fruit and vegetables are coming from.

I keep a list of the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen" in my wallet so can refer back to it when shopping. To view and print out your own list, click here: Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.

Thank goodness I have a few blog readers because I am terrible at is reading blogs. Of course I do it, and have a few I read regularly, but I would much rather read a cookbook. In fact almost all the blogs I read are ones other readers suggested to me. This recipe comes from an amazing food website Two Blue Lemons. Click on the link to go explore this inspirational site. I've seen a few recipe for kale chips and been meaning to try them for months.
I want a dress made the color of kale. So. beautiful.
Currently kale is brimming baskets at the farmer's market so I will be trying several kale recipes. I bought some this weekend, knowing I this would be the first of many kale purchases.  I'm not nuts about the flavor, I would much rather eat green beans or broccoli, but I will persevere! Your body loves variety, so give it some new nutrients in a different package. Kale is a great fall/winter vegetable, and this particular bunch had purple steams, adding to its already vibrant color. Healthy boyfriend loves kale (why doesn't he just MARRY it?), though does not like it cooked with apple cider vinegar, which is fairly popular way to prepare it around Asheville. So I'll be searching for recipes that use other forms of liquid or flavor to make healthy boyfriend a happy boyfriend. I mean he is with me, so I suppose his happiness is kinda implied given my general super wonderfulness :)-

These chips had a suprising texture when cooked, they almost dissolved in your mouth. Picking up the first chip, I was reluctant to eat it. I want to like kale, but I still am getting used to the taste. I'm in a very eating this because I know its good for me, but not really enjoying the flavor place with Kale. I'll admit these chips were tasty! And what a fun color. Any autumn parties or potlucks should have a bowl full of these so people can munch something green and leafy. They were best hot, but tasted fine at room temperature.

So go on, buy some kale and try them out. You can give yourself a nutritional five when you finish.

Kale Chips
A bowl full of chips that are GOOD for you. Score. 
The Goods: Makes about 3-4 cups
1 bunch kale
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste, a good pinch of each

The Deal: 
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

2. Strip the kale leaves from their stalks and tear into manageable chunks, but not too small. Wash the kale and drain in a salad spinner. You can also use a flour sack (or paper towels) and let dry out for 10 minutes. Try to get rid of as much water are you can.

3. Place kale on the baking sheets and pour the olive oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper over the kale. Using your hands massage the oil and seasonings into the kale, being sure to evenly distribute the oil to all the kale nooks and crannies.

4. Spread kale on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour. Time varies depending on how much water is in the kale and how hot the oven is. Remove kale when all the leaves are crispy and crunchy. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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