Kale to the Chip!

Kale chips.  Some say “Hooray”, some say, “Get a life!”

Why not just eat a potato chip?  Or a tortilla chip?  Or a hotdog with everything?

Because kale is good for you and you can make a pig of yourself eating it and only feel guilty about not sharing. This recipe for kale chips is somewhat involved, but you’ll be glad you did it. Its easy to adjust, make spicier or tangy-er, and everyone you know will love it.  It makes a wonderful gift for a friend heading off on a journey or a lone foodie trapped in a house of vegiphobes and cardboard harvesters (you know who you are).

Its cheap and easy to grow kale.  Mine survived drought and 100+ temps just by planting it in a bit of shade.  Blue dwarf kale and dinosaur kale improve in flavor after a frost or heavy snow. Or you can buy it in the store. Either way, choose fresh, raw kale and get plenty.  You’ll want to make a lot.

Ingredients:

Kale (2 bunches)

a large handful of raw cashews

2-3 cloves raw garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/8 – 1/4 raw onion

1/2 a small tomato

2 T brewers yeast

Tabasco or your favorite chili sauce (1/2 – 1 tsp)

olive oil

salt

1. Soak cashews in just enough water to cover them for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove the thickest part of the rib in each leaf by pinching it by the back of the leaf and pulling it downward.  (Like opening a FedEx) Failure to do this will produce needle-like spines that poke your mouth. Wash kale and spin-dry.  Rip it into slightly larger than bite size pieces.

2. In your blender combine the following: cashews, lemon juice, tomato, garlic, onion, yeast, and chili sauce.  Blend until smooth.  Add a bit of the cashew water if you need help getting it going.

3. Now here’s the fun/gross part: pour this over the kale, put a few drops of olive oil on your hands, and massage it in. You want to cause tiny dents and folds in the kale so the coating gets all up in there. This coating not only adds to the savory-goodness of the chip, but adds much-needed structural integrity as well.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 200. Cover 2 baking pans with silicone mats or parchment (silicone is the best).  Lay the kale on the baking sheets.  Its ok if it overlaps, folds or otherwise is obstructed a bit, but don’t pile it on willy-nilly-without-a-care.  Sprinkle with salt.Place the kale in the oven. After about 10 minutes, turn the oven off.

5. Go have a shower. Then turn the oven back on to 200 again.  Turn if off after 10 minutes.

6. Clean your room or do some laundry.

Basically you don’t want to brown or cook the kale as much as you want to dry it out.  If you have a food dehydrator, even better; use it.  But if not, do NOT cook the kale at 350 for 20 minutes.  You will end up with giant flakes of fish food that turn to dust when bitten. Just manipulate your oven to hover from 120-180 all day.

7. Check your kale.  Some may be ready to flip. Continue with the on again/off again oven, checking and flipping as needed.  Your first batch may never make it on to a plate as you will want to taste them, they will be so good that you’ll eat them all.  Mine usually take about 5 hours.  I like to make kale on yard-work days.  I can dart into the house, turn on the oven, use the bathroom, get a glass of water, turn the oven off, and head back outside.  I do this every 35 – 40 minutes or so.  On the last step, I just turn the oven off and let them coast for an hour or more. One time I forgot about them and they cooled in the turned-off oven overnight and made for an amazing breakfast.  Yes, it takes all day.  Yes, it’s a pain in the butt. Yes, it’s totally worth it.

kale chips

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