Friday, June 17, 2011

Farm Fresh: Kale!

Welcome to my Summertime Foodie Friday series: Farm Fresh!

I decided to take advantage of the abundance of the Summer growing season by featuring a new unusual vegetable each week. These vegetables may be ones you've had before, or ones you've heard of but never dared to taste. Or, they may be ones you had no idea how to prepare to eat. I'll include a bit of information about the vegetable, a simple recipe, and a linky so you can share your favorite recipe featuring the vegetable of the week. (I forgot to include the linky in last week's post about The Artichoke, but it's there now, so head back over and link up!) The series will run through the end of August, and I'll publish a post every week or two.

If there's a vegetable you'd like to see featured in the series, or if you have a preparation tip to add, please let me know in the comments. And don't forget to link up your kale recipes below!

Clockwise from top left: red kale, lacinato kale, green kale
Kale is a type of cabbage, and it is considered to be the most nutritious vegetable in the world with extremely powerful antioxidant properties. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, and it also contains a fair amount of calcium. Kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory, and it also contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. (From Wikipedia's article on Kale.)

I feel like I'm kind of phoning it in with kale this week, because besides being extremely nutritious, it's just such an easy vegetable to eat! It can be used just like you would spinach (or chard) in lots of recipes. My favorite easy way to cook kale is to sauté it in a little bit of oil with chopped onion, minced garlic, and slices of zucchini. But in the spirit of trying new things, I wanted to try kale in a different way, so I thought I'd finally try my hand at making kale chips.

You will need:

Kale (Of course; it's the magic ingredient! I used red kale.)
Olive oil (or another favorite oil)
Apple cider vinegar
Salt (I used Real Salt natural sea salt)
Any other flavorings you're into (Some recipes I saw called for lemon juice, tahini, and various other spices. It's totally up to your taste preferences! I decided to go simple this first time.)
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Wash the kale thoroughly and pat dry.
  • Fold the leaves in half along the spine and cut along it, then discard:

  • Cut or tear the remaining leaves into bite-sized pieces (potato chip size).
  • (Optionally) rinse the kale one more time, to make sure you got all the dirt and critters out of it, then spin in a salad spinner to remove any excess water:
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt. Mix through with your hands, coating the leaves with the mixture. (I estimated quantities for these ingredients, so just go sparingly at first. You don't want to drench the leaves or they might be too soggy to bake up nicely.)
  • Spread out flat on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are browned, but not burned. (I had to cook my bunch of kale in two separate batches.)
    Crunchy and delicious!
  • Remove and eat!
  • If you have any chips left over, store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This will help to keep them fresh and crispy.
You can also make kale chips in a food dehydrator. Prepare the same way, then lay flat on the sheets and set your dehydrator to 110°F for 4 hours. (I did not use my dehydrator this time because it was already hard at work drying herbs.)

The kale chips were a hit at my house! Jaymz thinks they taste kind of like popcorn, and Daniel ate quite a few of them, too. I can't really imagine a much easier way to eat a lot of a green leafy vegetable than in "chip" form. (I hope someone will share their favorite green smoothie recipe—that's how I'd like to try it next!)

How do you like to eat kale? 
 
Linked up at Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance.

7 comments:

  1. I had to LOL when I saw that your Farm Fresh veggie today was kale. Kale is a dirty word at our house because I tried making those kale chips. Word of advice: watch them carefully, lest your house fill with smoke, stinky kale smoke, and your kale turn to little ashen crisps.

    We don't buy kale anymore. Although maybe I'll give it another shot and sautee it instead.

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  2. @Jenn: Oh no! (And thanks for the tip, haha.) I'm so sorry that happened to you...and that it soured kale for your family. I hope you do try it again!

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  3. We love kale chips! Heidi and Piper eat them like candy. I don't have a recipe but my mom always used to make me kale and mashed potatoes - kale put right into the mashed potatoes. Yumm!

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  4. @Amanda: Mmm...that sounds good! I'm definitely going to try that.

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  5. Thank you thank you!!! I've been wanting to try these for a year now and haven't done it. I love your tutorial. I do love kale. I actually love it in soup.
    This will be my very next kitchen adventure. I'm desperate to get off the regular chips, so it's perfect.

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  6. @teresa: You're so very welcome! I'm very happy that you'll be trying your hand at making some kale chips!

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  7. I just finally tried the kale chip recipe... They're awesome! I am completely hooked. Thank you so much for posting it!! :)

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