Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Favorite Snack Recipe

Though I enjoy sweets, I don't exactly have a sweet tooth.  I'm all about the salty snacks.  My all-time favorite snack is plain ol' Lay's Potato Chips.  Potato chips aren't exactly diet-friendly, to say the very least, and I rarely purchase them as a result.

I recently came across a recipe that claimed to mimic the crispy crunch of potato chips.  Yet it is very low in calories and fat.  Add some sea salt and you've got a fantastically salty snack.  What is this miracle snack?  Kale Chips.

Stop laughing.  Dangit, I said to stop laughing.  I was skeptical too, but I'll gamely try most anything at least once so I went for it this afternoon.  I was so pleasantly surprised that I've already decided to purchase another bunch of kale so that I can experiment with other seasonings on the next batch.

I'll give the recipe, but let's start with the main ingredient.  Kale.  Can you identify kale in the produce section of the market?  I have a feeling that it's not all that popular, so let me help.  It's a dark leafy green.  It has a relatively long & tough stem and the edible parts kinda look like a curly leaf.  It's usually sold in small bunches of three or four.

Curly leaf kale isn't terribly bitter and it is a pretty verstaile green.  It's a traditional ingredient in colcannon (though I most often use green cabbage), it can easily be added to soups, stews, sauces, or stir-frys, and it can be served steamed or braised like any other green.  You can also drink it as kale juice for a very nutritious beverage.  Now I'll add that it can become your favorite snack chip!

Though it is often found as a garnish in restaurants, kale is a nutritional powerhouse.  It is high in many vitamins, such as Vitamins A, K, and C.  It's also reasonably high in minerals, like calcium & iron.  It is a well-known anti-inflammatory.  Some also claim that it has anti-cancer properties.  Add that it is low in calories and you have a pretty attractive food.

I found a variety of recipes for kale chips and, as usual, I ended up taking what sounded right and losing what didn't to make my own recipe.  Here's the recipe that I came up with to try today.  If you're brave enough to try it out, let me know how you feel about kale chips.

Kale Chips
A couple of curly leaf kale leaves
Non-stick cooking spray
Sea salt

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Wash curly leaf kale and separate the leaf from the stem.  Discard stem and tear the leaf into somewhat uniform pieces.  Place kale on cookie sheet.  I don't have a cookie sheet, but I have a french fry baking sheet (it basically is a baking sheet with a bunch of tiny holes on the bottom) and I used that.  Lightly spritz non-stick cooking spray over kale and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cook kale in preheated oven for about ten minutes.  Let it cool for a moment and then enjoy the salty goodness.  If done right, I think it tastes a lot like a very light & crispy potato chip.

Note:  You might want to check the kale after about 7 or 8 minutes to see just how much longer it really needs.  There seems to be a real fine line between done and over-done.  I made two batches and slightly overdid the second batch.  It was still good, but I think there is a definite sweet spot to find when making kale chips.

Happy Snacking!

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