Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spicy Garlic Kale Chips

I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine.  We don’t really see much of each other until fall and winter, but that’s the nice thing about our friendship, we can pick right up where we left off.  No hard feelings because we haven’t spent a lot of time together.  No guilt.  It’s all good.  I mean, it’s not like I don’t look for this friend all through spring and summer, but  my friend doesn’t really look the best at those times.  I understand, we all have times that are better than others.  I don’t judge.

And, just who is this friend of mine that is so special and understanding?  Well, it’s not really a who but a what.  Kale.  Have you met my friend, Kale?  If not, do yourself a favor, and make its acquaintance.  You will not regret it.  It’s awesome!

Kale is in the cabbage family, but don’t judge it based on that.  Just as you didn’t get to pick who’s in your family, neither did it.  I love cabbage but I realize not everyone does, so I want to make this clear, kale does NOT taste or smell like cabbage.  It has its own distinct personality.

Plus, it’s a superfood.  There are so many health benefits to kale that I can’t even begin to name them all.  But, let me throw out a couple of the big ones.  First, it’s low in calories, high in fiber and has zero fat.  That is a magnificent trifecta of nutrition!  Second, it is chock full of powerful antioxidants,  such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which help protect against various cancers.  In this day and age, who doesn’t need all the help they can get in that department.  Because there are so many good things about kale, I’m attaching a link to a wonderful article so you can read up on this great friend of mine - Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Kale.
I love kale in many different forms, balsamic roasted and in Zuppa Toscana soup, to name a couple.  Tonight's recipe is one that I have never made before, but will definitely be making again.  Kale chips have been popping up in blogs across the web for about 2 years so I am not breaking any new ground here.  However, I would be remiss if I didn't do my part to make you aware of them.  You can season them any way you want.  I just happened to decide on a spicy variety.  It doesn't matter how you want to season them, what matters is how good these things are.  They are a healthy alternative to potato chips, that will have you coming back for more until they are all gone.  No, they don't taste like chips, but once you have them nice and crispy, they shatter on your tongue into a million exciting, little pieces.  Very addicting, and so yummy!
Here's your Cast of Characters.
1 Bunch of kale, rinsed and COMPLETELY dry (this is huge - no moisture or they won't crisp up)
1 Tablespoon olive oil (not pictured because, quite simply, I forgot it)
Sea salt
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Cayenne powder
Preheat oven to 350.
First, remove the ribs from the kale.  I use a sharp knife to cut them out, but you can tear it, too.
Next, tear into "chip" size pieces.

Once you have the whole bunch torn up, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and massage all around, until the pieces are well coated.  If they seem dry, you can add a little more oil, but not too much, or again, they won't get crisp.  For one huge batch, I only used 1 tablespoon and it was plenty. 

Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spread the chips out.  Make sure they aren't crowded.  Sprinkle generously with your seasonings.  I definitely went a little crazy with the chili powder and cayenne, but they were really good!

Bake 8 - 12 minutes, until they are nice and brown, and very crispy.  Just be careful that they don't burn.  Mine took about 10 minutes.

Now, if you don't eat them all, you can seal in an airtight container for one day.  Too crisp them up again, simply put in a toaster oven for a couple of minutes.

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