Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JOT #9: Kale chips

What? Kale chips you say? Sounds disgusting, right? Kale, like collards, and turnip, and other such greens, is one of those things one does not usually associate with snacks. Until one visits one's local farmer's market.

I did, one day, and came across a free taste of a light, flaky, dangerously addictive green substance flecked with gold. "Kale chips," they announced, and charged me $7 for the yogurt-tub of the stuff. I felt I'd gotten a good deal, and went back next week for two more. My habit had increased to three a week when I decided I couldn't shell out $24 a week simply on a snack like this, healthy as it might be. But the Little One was also hooked, so I couldn't miss an opportunity for such a yummy good-for-you snack.

What IS kale anyway? Turns out it's a green leafy vegetable related to cabbage, full of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and anti-cancer compounds (unless boiled). Can you say super-food?

Turns out organic kale is only $2 a bunch at the farmer's market, and with the help of my trusty dehydrator, I can make my own "chips" at home (an oven works, too). I've only tried the Goddess flavor, which is my favorite by far anyway, but they also make Cashew and Sweet Basil, which are also lovely. (I should note, the other advantage of making them at home is that you can make them as strong or mild as you want, and leave out anything you might not like. You can also hide them from your family so you can eat them in the middle of the night, not that I would ever do that.)

The recipe calls for curly kale, but you can use other types, including plain, if that's not available. Red russian is okay, but dinosaur kale gets a bit bitter (still tasty). The tahini I get is a bit runny so sometimes I avoid the water altogether.

[Edited: amounts a little off for two bunches. Modified.]
Goddess Kale Chips - recipe adapted from Chrissy at RawFoodTalk

2 bunches organic kale, preferably curly, broken into large pieces by hand
2/3 cup sesame tahini
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water (as needed)
2 scallions, or 1/2 leek or 1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
¼ t. salt
¼ cup fresh parsley (oregano also works but adds a different flavor)

Tear the kale into large pieces, setting aside the stalks (use for soup stock!) and place the leaves in a large bowl. Combine all other ingredients in the blender until it forms a paste (add water as needed, or none). Pour dressing over kale and work into the leaves by hand. Be sure to get the kale into the crannies of the kale to cover well on both sides.

Place kale in a single layer on dehydrator sheets (use 2-4 trays) and dehydrate at least 4 hours (about 110oF). Rotate trays as needed. Alternatively, place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and bake at 200oF 20-30 minutes, until fully crispy.

Store in an airtight container.

Other variations: if you want to avoid the tahini etc, try just soy sauce and lemon juice, and dry your chips. Still yummy. I've also used my dehydrator in my solar oven, so on a warm day, you could just let the kale dry out for a day or two.

Happy Snacking!


Anonymous said...

Been meaning to try this since you showed me the $6 container.... last year. Happy to hear it's fairly easy to do at home!

rani said...

Should note: haven't tried the baking myself, but have heard it works.

Also, beet greens, other fairly tough greens, and even fennel greens work and taste pretty good.