Tuesday, 22 November 2011

SmartCooks Discovers K-Chips (Kool Krispy Kale)!

November 2011

SmartCooks here. 

Who'd thunk it?  Years, ago I'd never heard of kale.  We certainly didn't eat it in my household in southwestern Ontario.  In adult life, I sailed by it in the vegey section of supermarkets, farmers' markets, and herb and spice stores.  The few times I tried it I found it very bitter.

Well... no more!  The foodie blogs are abuzz with the newest method for eating kale, i.e., as if they are potato chips.  And, before I go further, let me say, I've tried K-Chips half a dozen times and I have become a MAJOR fan. 

What is Kale and Why is it Beneficial?

Research says that kale is a form of cabbage and has high levels of beta carotene, vitamins such as K and C, as well as calcium.   

Once upon a time, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. The plant can have various types of 'curly' leaves, with colours ranging from light green to violent green and brown. 

For K-chips, Red Russian kale is often used as is a classic Italian 'Dinosaur' kale (pictured left), which has deep blue-grey, and long and narrow leaves.  This type of kale is winter hardy and becomes even sweeter after a hard frost.  Tuscan kale and curly types of kale are also well known and can be used for K-Chips (picture, right).  

How to make it

Various websites recommend using a dehydrator to dry the kale (see left). Other sites swear by cooking them in the oven, which is what I did. The directions for oven temperature, though, were all over the map -- from 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  I went with 350 for about 10 minutes (watching closely) and taking them out as the leaves become brown at the edges.

If doing K-Chips in the oven, the other recommendation is to ensure the kale is Dry i.e., wash and spin it several times in a salad spinner. 

K-Chips Basic Recipe
(Synthesized from many websites, picture is Smitten Kitchen )

1 bunch of kale, either dinosaur, Tuscan, curly kale
1 T olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

1) Wash a bunch of kale and spin it in a salad spinner or use a dehydrator to dry thoroughly.  Make sure it is thoroughly dry. 
2) Remove the stems and the centre ribs. 
3) Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces.
4) Place kale in a ziploc bag and toss with 1 T olive oil.  Alternatively use hands to mix. 
*(Note can add other ingredients at this point, see K-Chips Variations below).
5) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay K-Chips in a single layer.
6) Bake for 10 minutes, or until CRISP and edges are brown.  If not ready after 10 minutes, continue baking and watch minute by minute. 
7) Add sea salt for taste. 

K-Chips Variations

There are almost as many variations to K-Chips as there are for potato chips.  I found recipes for salt and vinegar (add sherry, malt or balsamic vinegar), rosemary garlic oil, parmesan, lemon juice, or pickle juice. 

The raw food sites have more complicated recipes and involve a dehydrator.  I haven't included those sites but google away.... 

Nothing quite beats K-chips as a superb low carb and high protein snack. Go wild and pass the K-Chips please! 

Best K-Chips recipe sites:

Totally addictive kale chips:  http://mynewroots.blogspot.com/2010/07/totally-addictive-kale-crisps.html


For more fun, Gwenneth Paltrow (kindof) makes Kale Chips on the Ellen show. 

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