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March 8, 2010

I'll take a Jeremy Renner-George Clooney sandwich, please

On Sunday I watched the Oscars, including way too much of the seventeen hour pre-show. It's like tailgating for couch potatoes. I love watching the stars chitchat awkwardly on the red carpet and pose and try to say profound things even though most are already two sheets to the wind.

On Sunday I also made the alleged Kale Chips I have been hearing so much about and I can assure you, they won no awards. You can search online and find all kinds of variations on the recipe but it's basically kale, oil, seasonings and a hot oven.

I used Lacinto kale (also called black kale or Tuscan kale) because I prefer its flavor over curly kale. I am always and forever trying to sneak kale into my food to make me feel healthier and I like the Lacinto kale best. It's great mashed in with potatoes or in my favorite chickpea stew.

This is what kale looks like washed and patted dry:

Here it is with the big leafy stem removed and cut into pieces:

Below is a picture of it on the baking sheet. I used reader Rachel's tip and sprayed mine with olive oil rather than tossing in oil since I am not much of a drizzler, I tend to be a pourer (which works well on Brussels sprouts, but maybe not on leaf bits.)


And here they are at the end, cooked and crispy and seasoned with sea salt:

Awful. Really awful. But listen, you may find this is right up your alley. I think it's a tastebud issue, because this tasted just like toasted nori to me and I hate toasted nori. I can't stand the taste of nori, no matter how many times I try to like it. I took one bite of one of these kale chips and gagged. I took another bite to be sure, because I am a slow learner and I always like to give food a second chance, then I threw the rest of the cooked leaves away.

I still had a pile of uncooked kale left so I chopped it and added it to my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pasta sauce that was simmering away on the stove. Every few weeks I make this sauce, you just start with a little garlic and some shallots and sautee them in olive oil. Then add in chopped tomatoes (I like cherry tomatoes best) and whatever else suits you. For this one I put in finely chopped zucchini and carrots, some cured black olives and some balsamic vinegar.


Then I added in kale and later basil:

You can see the steam coming off it! It's a good sauce. I serve it over corn pasta and add a little goat cheese and some pine nuts to the top. It's yummy and re-heats well for lunches.

I'm glad I tried the kale chips because I was curious about them and because it satisfies my goal of making new recipes this month but I won't be making that again. Yuck. I know a lot of people rave about them though, so you may find them just tasty as can be. I guess I prefer my kale sneaky and finely chopped into sauces or stews ... more of a supporting actor than the main event!

Posted by laurie at March 8, 2010 9:16 AM