So, this is a post about kale. Kale is pretty popular right now, with all sorts of supposed “health benefits.” And that’s great, if you’re the type of person with enough self-loathing to subject yourself to kale. You probably also eat chia and quinoa and turkey bacon and brown rice. I would say “enjoy,” but let’s face it, no one of sound mind actually enjoys those things.
You’re probably getting the impression that I hate kale, and you’re right. I hate it with a deep, unequaled passion. Chia seeds are good if you mix them into yogurt or ice cream and eat it faster than it gets gooey. Quinoa makes a decent healthier alternative grain. I’m a vegetarian, so I get to pass on turkey bacon (and those bacon-flavored death strips they call soy bacon and I call facon). Brown rice is sometimes acceptable, if you cover the texture with enough sauce or stir-fry, though its taste can’t compare to good white rice.
The point is, I will endure several awful tasting foods because they’re good for me. I find ways to make it work, to sneak something healthy into my junky diet, or to just replace unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives. But this is completely impossible with kale. There has literally never been a recipe I’ve tried where kale was A.) delicious, or at least B.) well-hidden.
Oh, I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried. Sometimes I’ll go through fazes where I think I like kale. I’ll crave it. My mouth will water for it. As we speak, in my sleepy delirium, I could really go for a banana-blueberry-vanilla-kale smoothie. But every single time has ended in utter failure. Occasionally, I will buy fresh kale intending to cook it somehow although that plan usually ends up with really wilted kale that is extra gross. Other times, like when I go to Whole Foods, I will buy pre-made kale dishes.
I eat kale sometimes, because it is good for me, but it’s a big sacrifice. There’s never been a case where I thought, “this is delicious and it has kale in it!” But today I came close – I finally discovered a recipe that makes kale tolerable!
Step One: Get some kale. My kale was a couple weeks old and wilting. I rinsed it off anyway.
Step Two: After washing kale, dry it in a salad shooter. I don’t even know what that is, so I just shook the kale leaves at my cats until it was reasonably dry.
Step Three: The original recipe called for “parchment paper” but that just made me think of Harry Potter and obviously I don’t have any, so I used wax paper. It’s probably the same. In any case, you don’t eat it, you stretch it over a cookie sheet. Then you tear the slightly-edible leafy part of the kale leaf off of the completely-inedible kale leaf stem.
Step Four: Tear the kale into bite size pieces. This depends on how big of bites you like to take. Personally I think my mouth is average size for my face, but I’m an eater so I like big bites. Too big, though, and you’re treading dangerously close to two-bite-size. Too small and it’s really more a burned crisp nibble. Use your best discretion. My bite-size turned out to be pieces between the size of a quarter and a fifty-cent piece.
Step Five: Spread the bite-size kale pieces evenly across the cookie sheet. This was fun, because my cat decided he needed to eat kale as if it were candy and he were a 5 year old.
Step Six: Turn on your oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This could probably be step one, but I always forget to turn the oven on – sometimes even up to an hour after I put my food in.
Step Seven: The original recipe said to use olive oil but I’m not Italian or a chef or fancy, so I don’t have any. I have generic-brand vegetable oil, and a brand spankin’ new bottle of sesame oil. So I used the sesame oil. You’re supposed to sprinkle a tablespoon over the kale, but I just shook the bottle until all the pieces of kale had a reasonable enough looking amount of oil to make them sesame-y and oily and not kale-y.
Step Eight: Sea salt is something in the recipe that I also don’t have, so I used plain table salt from a salt shaker. Again, you’re supposed to use a tablespoon but I just shook the thing until maybe some of the kale was salty. Lesson learned: Whatever you are thinking, when it comes to kale, go for broke and use more salt, it really distracts your tastebuds while you confuse them with kale-flavor.
Step Nine: Put the cookie sheet (with kale) in the oven, and bake until the edges of the kale are brown and it is crispy – about ten minutes. I have no idea what this means, and my oven sucks. So I shoved the thing in and went downstairs to give my rabbits a piece of kale. That’s when I discovered that Poppy didn’t digest her new biscuits well (yuck) and her back end was a mess. Subsequently, I was washing bunny butt when I should have been checking on my kale. (PS the other bunny didn’t like his kale and refused it flat out. EVEN RABBITS HATE KALE)
Step Ten: Wash your hands really, really well after washing your dirty bunny and before going back to check on your food. Then, wash them again at the kitchen sink, with scalding water and industrial-strength soap.
Step Eleven: Stare at your kale with uncertainty. Is it cooked enough? The edges aren’t brown, but it’s been in there for over fifteen minutes…
Step Twelve: Poke it with a fork. If it crunches, it’s crispy and done. Remove and use your oven to heat your kitchen, but turn the oven off before you forget.
Step Thirteen: Consume!
And there you have it, folks! Kale chips, the most tolerable form of kale I’ve ever had!
(Thanks to this recipe!)