Hello there readers, and hello 2010! I'm back from Israel and hope you enjoyed the dispatches from abroad. In truth, there's so much more to tell: a dear friend took D and me on a fabulous tour of the Old City's Christian Quarter, where we ate amazingly fresh hummus, climbed down to secret underground cisterns, and visited a tucked-away Austrian hospice for excellent cappucinos and Jerusalem's best apple streudel. And that was just one morning!
But now we're back to the grind, and besides, you must be tired of my rants about my travels. You come here for recipes, and I aim to please. So let's talk about kale chips, shall we?
I think I first read about crispy kale in the late Gourmet Mag. The recipe was as simple as they come -- kale, olive oil, salt, pepper -- and accompanying it were stunning photos of long, evergreen-colored leaves shooting out of a tall glass. Gourmet said the kale was the perfect cocktail party food, and looking at the pictures, I had to agree. I could envision these beautiful vases of kale chips placed on a long table, giving height to the usual array of flat cookie platters and cheese plates. Yum.
One evening, I had a bunch of kale to use up and decided to give the recipe a go. If it was a success, I figured, I'd make it at my next dinner party; the beautiful chips were certain to impress.
But then I ate one.
Can we discuss the fact that my entire mouth, like every single tooth, had green flecks all about? And flecks is an understatement. I might as well have colored my smile with green marker, it was that bad. Cocktail party food my #$@*^%!!! Kale chips are absolutely delicious -- they're crispy, and salty, and perfectly peppery, utterly addictive in short -- but they're something to be eaten at home alone, or with someone who really, really likes you. Either way, be prepared to laugh.
Don't let me green teeth scare you away completely, though: these kale chips truly are delicious. If any of you have made New Year's resolutions to eat more vegetables, consider this recipe a belated holiday gift. You can easily polish off an entire batch of kale this way.
Kale Chips adapted from Gourmet
These chips are delicious just so, but they really pop with a last-minute squeeze of lemon, if you have it handy.
1 bunch kale, cleaned and dried, center stems removed olive oil salt pepper wedge of lemon, optional
Put the kale in a large plastic bag, drizzle about 1/8 cup olive oil inside, and shake and massage to combine. Add more oil to the bag as needed until all leaves are coated in the oil. Spread kale leaves in a single layer on as many baking sheets as you need, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake at 300 for 20-25 minutes, until kale is crispy all over. Cooking time depends on age and dryness of kale, so watch carefully and remove when every piece is crispy. Serve immediately, and squeeze lemon overtop just before serving, if desired.