Jul 042011

Kale chip recipes are everywhere these days, but after reading several, before attempting to make some, I became suspicious that these recipes had not actually been tried. The evidence – the use of the term “drizzle” for delivering extra virgin olive oil to the prospective kale chip.

There is no way that olive oil or any oil can properly coat the future chip by drizzling on it. The kale will be either under or over coated. Neither option makes for a tasty kale chip. I have an unorthodox olive oil delivery system which I will mention at the end of the recipe, and I ask your forgiveness in advance. So here’s how Olive Crazy makes kale chips.

1 bunch kale
extra virgin olive oil (perfect opportunity to try a flavored oil here)
salt (I use light salt)
Implements to have at hand: baking sheet, scissors, small spray bottle for olive oil, paper towels.

Wash kale and dry very well with paper towels. Cut off stem and any of the spine that seems too woody. Cut or tear into pieces about the size of a big potato chip. Place on baking sheet (pieces can touch). Spray olive oil over kale, evenly coating. Sprinkle salt over kale. Cook at 350F/177C for about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Get snacking.

One day I decided I needed a way to spray my olive oil without buying a grocery spray can of mystery-olive-oil or going to a fancy store and buying some very expensive, TV-chef-approved glass or stainless steel spray bottle. I pondered for a bit and came up with a solution.

My unconventional olive oil delivery system is a cheap, colorful, plastic spray bottle with a levered spray mechanism. NO! Yes, it is. It’s the kind you find at the pharmacy on a bottom shelf in a basket. I know. I know. This defies some of my previous cautionary tales, but I promise I don’t actually store the oil in the bottle.

When I brought the bottle home from the store I thoroughly cleaned it (including the straw and the spraying part) with dish-washing liquid. I then rinsed it in hot water until most of the soapy residue was gone. Next I rinsed it in cold water. Normally I would have tapped out as much water as I could and let the bottle air-dry but I needed it right away.

I removed as much of the water as possible, poured a bit of the extra virgin olive oil I planned to use in the bottle, and shook it to coat the inside of the bottle. I then did some test sprays on a napkin to clear the straw and sprayer. I disassembled the bottle and turned it upside down on a paper towel – any remaining water runs off first. I added the amount of evoo I needed to use and sprayed. When I was finished. I did not store the oil in the plastic, but went through the above cleansing process again. This time I air-dried it and stored it away until it was needed.

I know it seems like a lot of trouble but the small bottles aren’t difficult to keep clean. Also a small bottle helps prevent users from succumbing to laziness and storing any evoo in the bottle to use the next day – please don’t do it. I’ve thought about it myself, but haven’t given in yet.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Jun 182011

When I was a kid, kale was the vegetable I dreaded most. I was okay with broccoli, spinach and most other greens,  but not kale. Mom boiled it and not very long, heaven forbid a nutrient went missing – love you Mom. The resulting dark green mass tasted strange and very untasty.

Sometime in the last decade I ventured to the part of the fresh vegetable section of the grocery store that displayed those veggies I either didn’t like or was too lazy to dig up a recipe for (collards, mustard greens, big squashes and rooty things). There, encased in plastic, was a bunch of kale. I grabbed the bag, determined to tame that healthy leaf into the tasty dish I knew it could be.

At home I emptied the contents onto the kitchen counter pondering my attack. I remembered a dish my sister, Ann, who studied at the Cordon Bleu in London, used to make with escarole, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. I really liked her concoction and thought why not substitute kale. I did and it wasn’t bad. Here are two versions I have used. I like them both.

1 bag of kale
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Method 1: Wash kale and trim off spines. Place in already boiling water and soften for a few minutes. Remove from water and dry well. Heat skillet on medium and add EVOO. When oil shimmers add kale. Cook without lid untils kale softens. Stir frequently. When you are satisfied that the kale is at the consistency you like, add crushed garlic. Stir until you smell the garlic (about 20 to 30 seconds). Remove from stove. Add Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve right away.

Method 2: Everything is the same except the boiling in water. I have come to the conclusion water changes the flavor of kale and not for the better. This is my preferred method.

May the sun shine through your branches.