Monday, October 11, 2010

kale chips...YUM!

Over the weekend I made a delicious treat with some really great health benefits.  Kale Chips.  Despite a little over indulgence with the Celtic Sea Salt (could be worse) the texture and flavor of these shocked me in very good way. Not to mention what a cheap easy potato chip alternative(I LOVE CHIPS).  These are sure to become a staple in our house.
What makes kale so healthy?
Kale is a member of the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage). It has an expected  "earthy" (it's green people!) flavor that ranges from bitter to sweet in nature. Although you can find it year-round its prime season is mid winter to early spring.  This is when its leaves are the sweetest.  To my dismay that means I have planted mine too early.  I have chosen to leave it in the ground for now but will most have to replant in December/January.  Kale is full of Vitamin K, A, and C and has been said to highly preventive with regards to bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancers. It claims to lower cholesterol, has detoxifying properties and contains 45 different flavonoids, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. It contains quercitin, which is great for managing allergies and asthma. The recommended way to prepare kale in order to reap the most benefits is to steam it for 5-10 minutes. There are three common varieties:
1. Dinosaur Kale (what a great name...I am thinking you could call the chips above "Dinosaur Chips" to get the kids excited about them. ) Dinosaur kale got its name from the look and feel it presents.  It has an almost reptilian skin texture but ironically is known to be the most sweet and delicate of the varieties.
2. Curly Kale-this is more common in stores, at least in my area.  It looks just as it sounds, like an amped up version of curly leaf parsley. Curly Kale is typically bitter and peppery.  I am excited to try the above chips with this variety as well.
3. Ornamental Kale--through the research done with this post I realized for the first time that Ornamental Kale does not mean its its not edible as well.  In all fairness it did get its name while being used as a decorative landscape feature but is now cultivated for eating and has been said to have a tender and mellow flavor.
While veggies such as kale can be intimidating, I would encourage you to give it a shot.  The benefits far out way the risk and when you are creative in the preparation it becomes a celebrated part of the household.  Here is my method for making kale chips:

Sea Salt and Sesame Kale Chips:

1 bunch of kale (I used dinosaur this time but curly is fine too)
A pinch of course sea salt
Olive oil (I never measure this I just use what I need)
Toasted sesame seeds

Turn your oven to 300 degrees.  Chop the kale into chip-like sizes.  I removed the stem in the center as it got closer to the base because it can be tough and woody.  Toss raw pieces in a bowl with salt olive oil and sesame seeds.  Lay out on cookie sheet in single layer.  Bake for 20/25 minutes.  TaDA!  Done.  Happy Healthy Cooking with indulgent results!

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