Kale chips

The kale I’ve seen in grocery stores over the summer has been limp, pathetic and unappealing. So last weekend when I saw some gorgeous kale at the Sundog Organic Farm at the City Market, I immediately grabbed two bundles. They were $4 per bundle, but seeing that the bundles were quite large they ended up being only slightly more expensive than kale sold at the grocery store and much more healthy looking.

I stuck some in a soup (this one, but without the beans). And the rest went towards my kale chips experiments.

kale chips

kale chips

I’ve seen kale chips on many blogs, and I was dying to try it out myself. I tried varying some of the measurements but I’ve found that keeping it simple is best. I made about four trays that night. And another two the next day. They’re horribly addicting! And once you master this version you can try variations like adding dried chili flakes, or making salt and vinegar chips.

Kale chips

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil per baking tray
One bunch of kale leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Wash your kale, rip or cut into potato chip sized pieces, and dry throughly. The more dry the leaves are, the better. (I spun them in a salad spinner, and then ended up leaving them to air dry for a while.)

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 Celsius.

On a lined baking sheet, spread out a single layer of kale leaves. Drizzle approximately 2 tsp of olive oil over the leaves. This may not look like a lot, but any more than this and your end product may be too oily. To be honest, I don’t even measure anymore and just eyeball it.

Very lightly sprinkle the leaves with salt.

Pop the baking tray into the oven for approximately 10 minutes. The kale will turn a rich forest green colour during the baking process, but don’t take them out until they start to just turn brown around the edges! If you take them out too early the kale won’t be crispy.

Once the leaves start browning, remove from the oven and enjoy. You can add more salt at this point if you think you need it, but I find that less salt makes these taste better.

How do you know that they’re done? Try picking one up. If it’s crisp enough they will crumble in your hand if you’re not careful because they are very fragile and similar in texture to deep fried parsley.

What to do with kale, swiss chard, and spinach

During Tuesday’s lunch break I surfed through food blogs and thought I’d point out this post from 101 Cookbooks. Similar to the sautéed spinach recipe I talked about previously, this one gives instructions on also sautéing kale and swiss chard. Tuesday was grocery discount day and I was almost out of vegetables. I’ve never tried swiss chard before, so I was hoping to find some fresh stuff to try. Instead I found some beautiful kale, so this will become my second attempt at cooking kale.

I only have half a bulb of garlic left too, and forgot to buy more. I really must remember to add that to my grocery list next time.

Update: Sautéed the kale tonight and it was very, very good. Similar to the spinach, but a bit crunchier. The kale turned a brilliant green while frying in the pan. Beautiful.

Vegetable and bean soup

Vegetable and bean soup

Vegetable and bean soup

In my efforts to eat more vegetables and reduce the amount of daily calories, I took my tortellini soup and changed it up. Took out the tortellini, added more vegetables, and added a can of white kidney beans (cannellini beans).

One of the vegetables I added was a bunch of roughly chopped kale. This is the first time I have ever eaten kale, and it worked wonderfully in the soup. The leaves are quite tough, so the first servings of soup had some still crunchy kale in it. The kale softened in subsequent servings of the soup the next day. If I had used spinach on the other hand, it would have been overcooked and wilted if left in the soup, and I would have had to add fresh spinach every time I ate a bowl of the soup.

The beans added some protein and, together with a piece of whole grain toast, made the soup into a healthy meal with few calories.

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