Monday, July 5, 2010

Enraptured with Kale (A Parenthetical Acclamation)

I have had two culinary obsessions this summer. Homemade Ginger Ale and Kale Chips. I make them a lot. They are delicious and nutritious. I think you'd like both of them. (Don't be afraid; read on.)

A few of my thoughts (because I always have a few, dont' I?):I don't use as much agave as this recipe calls for, but you make it to taste. That's the beauty of the drink. I like 4 tablespoons of ginger and about 1-2 teaspoons of agave.

Also, don't turn your nose up at the kale. It ain't that rubber stuff they used to garnish your plate with when you ate at the country club as a child. When I was pregnant our dear friend Newt put me on to Kale for its calcium. (I think on her Facebook page she lists "eat more kale" as her religion. Not really, but maybe.) At this same time the woman who lives across from the beach house we go to was growing and sharing Kale with me. (She has the most wonderful yard. I really should do a post about it one day too.) So I had the most gorgeous and fresh Kale to eat. I loved it and I still think about Kale a lot.

The proportions of the Ginger Ale make the drink where it can suit just about anyone. If you love the ginger, like me, pour it in. If you like sweet, squirt in that agave. The Kale chips are easy to love too because you can do so many different flavors. That annoying phrase "your imagination is your only limitation" applies here. One of my favorite Kale chip recipes (I keep capitalizing it because I think it will make Newt happy) is toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. I've also added ground ginger to that. I've done olive oil and hot sauce. That was good. Another one I really loved is olive oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and white pepper. Think of the flavors you love and throw them on your Kale.

One trick for the Kale is to let it dry well after you wash it. I usually spread it out on a dish towel for a couple of hours. Then, when you are putting your flavor on it, don't be too liberal as it will increase your baking time.

H wants me to tell you that she Hates the smell of the kale chips baking. I usually try to do them when she is at work, otherwise she makes me crack a window even when it is 133 degrees outside. (And that's just not right.)

Kale does other things well too. I use it in smoothies. Throw a banana, some berries and some Kale into a blender where you've crushed ice in water. So good. Green smoothies are great, delicious ways to get your veggies in. And in the hot, hot summer, turning on the blender is much more appealing than turning on the oven. The Green Smoothie Challenge website has some good recipes. Sauteeing with garlic is of course yummy. I've also made a raw salad (is that redundant?) out of Kale, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Very filling and refreshing.

Well, I thought this was going to be a quick little recipe post. Now I'll have to add "ramble on" as one of the labels.
Ginger Ale your way and Kale Chips your way. Try them today.
(Photos are from their website.)
Ginger Ale:
Make the Ginger Juice. In a blender, place the chopped ginger root (no need to peel) and add an equal amount of water. Blend on high for approximately one minute, until the ginger is completely chopped and pureed. Allow the mixture to sit in the blender jar for 30 minutes.

Strain the ginger pulp from the juice through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium-sized bowl. Press the pulp to remove all the juice. Refrigerate the juice until ready to use. It keeps in the refrigerator for one week.

To make a Ginger Ale (Makes one, 8 oz. glass):

In a glass, whisk together until combined---

2 T. Ginger Juice

2 T. Raw Agave Sweetener

Juice of 1 fresh lime

Add ice and sparkling mineral water. Adjust for your taste.



kale, ready to bake into chips. really. by smitten.

Kale Chips

Baked Kale Chips
Adapted from a bunch of inspiring places

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale (I used Lacinato or “Dinosaur” Kale but I understand that the curlier stuff works, too, possibly even better)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet (I needed two because mine are tiny; I also lined mine with parchment for easy clean-up but there’s no reason that you must). Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.


HBJ said...

NOTE: Everyone should know that kale has a Very strong odor - you either love it or hate it. I am of the latter population. Just keepin' it real. Enjoy your kale!

Reckless said...

So glad to catch up with you. In the fall I make a soup with Kale (capitalized for you and your Kale rverence)and sausage. So delicious. I may have to try the Kale chips next time I get Kale from my veggie co-op.

Amy said...

Love the Kale tale! And have been into the chips too. Lately I've been missing the Kale as we've been eating from our CSA. No Kale lately, some chard, but it's not the same. It's on our list for the co-op though. It's so good raw with the lemon juice. We add parm to it too.