What the Kale?

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the vendor list at DOSE Market Chicago. I was there for work, previewing our soon to launch juice bar. One of the juices we were offering was the "Going Green" (green apples, celery, cucumbers, cilantro and kale), and because of that we had bucket and buckets (see below) of kale on our hands, among other things. I got to talking with my cohorts about other uses for kale and we decided that kale chips are a must when the day comes that we revamp the menu, as a perfect side for sammies and the like.

This gave me a bad case of "kale on the brain". It just so happens, I was grocery shopping the other day and couldn't resist picking up a bunch for myself. It's so frilly and fancy looking, but I've rarely ever had the notion to do anything but look at it, much less attempt to eat it (with few exceptions - ahem, thank you kindly Clean detox for the introduction to this "curly haired" veg). But when I heard how quick & easy it was to make kale chips (basically pop 'em in the oven and sprinkle them with salt), I thought, now there's a solution for my guilt ridden chip cravings. So I tried it out. And I must say, what a great way to get in some extra nutrients. You'll actually want to eat your leafy greens. I had mine as a side to a cucumber and smoked salmon bagel. (Ok, don't get me started - I've also been on a smoked salmon kick lately. And whaddya know, good ol' Trader Joe's had some for a reasonable price, so my craving was successfully nourished. Dose didn't help dampen my craving either. While there, I snagged a bagel topped with Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon from the adorable and lovely Each Family.)

Eat your heart out, folks! Seriously, please do. Your body will thank you. Trust me.
(Kale is known to be high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, as well as calcium. Not to mention indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and has been thought to block the growth of cancer cells. Well shoot. Get snacking!)
Katie's Kale Chips
Kale (one bunch, or roughly 8-10 small-medium stalks)
Olive Oil, extra virgin, to coat (or truffle oil if you want to be all fancy dancy about things)
Fleur de Sel , just a pinch(or regular old table salt works just fine too)
White Peppercorns, ground - a dash (optional - for a little extra punch in the face)
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Wash and dry your kale. Using your hands, or my favorite kitchen tool, a pair of scissors, trim the leafy bits away from the stiff center stalk (dispose of stalk). Over a bowl, break kale into desired "chip" size pieces. Toss to coat with olive oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings (salt, pepper, etc). Spread out on a sheet tray (I used parchment) and, if desired, sprinkle with more seasonings, to taste. Bake for roughly 20-25 minutes, until crisp. Voila. The healthiest chip you'll probably ever eat. And you might even like it.

*Note: I split my sheet pan in half and did half a regular recipe of chips (about 4-5 stalks, or leaves; and on the other half, I followed the same recipe but used approximately half the olive oil. This latter half was drier, since less moisture was added with the oil, so I popped them in a baggie and mashed them up with my hands (you could be more sophisticated and use a food processor, etc). This I will be using in the coming week or so as a seasoning, for some added "punch" (likely along with a generous sprinkling of parm) on top of buttered noodles & pastas, mixed into cream cheese for a veggie spread, mixed with some greek yo for a quick veggie dip, or even (as my fav, Smitten Kitchen suggests) on top of popcorn.

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