Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dim Sum Sunday - Vegetables Part I - Kale Chips

Back when MS of Making Space requested this theme for Dim Sum Sunday, it seemed pretty straight forward. At second glance, it's a little more complicated. Right now she's fighting the good fight to help her kids eat better in a world that bombards them with well developed and slick advertising to eat things not so good for them. So it was in that spirit that I tried to find some vegetables and cooking techniques that are tasty and easy enough to make for parents with busy lives filled with jobs and offspring activities.

First up is Kale Chips. Actually I think this will work for any of the Big Greens. You know the ones I mean, at the grocery store or farmer's market, the massive bunches of greens bundled together with abnormally large twist ties. Most people stew with some sort of smoked pork product. We're not talking bags of that delicate little baby spinach, no we're talking the massive collard leaves that could easily be fashioned into a broad brimmed hat for a sunny day. We want those. What you first want to do is cut out the thick stem that acts as a spine to the leaf. Next you want to wash/rinse the leaves well. There's nothing more off-putting than biting into grains of sand when you bite down on greens leaf. Next you need to dry off your greens. This is important because you're going to be coating the leaves with olive oil and since oil and water don't mix, the oil won't adhere to wet leaves and then your leaves won't get nice and crispy. So I first gave my greens a spin in the salad spinner. I would think this would be a great job for the kids to do, they could even make a game of it to see who can make the spinner spin the longest. When you've removed the majority of the water in the spinner, it wouldn't hurt to either roll it up in a dry clean dish towel or have at it with paper towels to make sure the greens are good and dry. Next you want to put your leaves, and I leave them as whole as possible, in a large bowl. Drizzle the leaves with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (rule of thumb, one tablespoon to one bunch of greens). Toss so that the leaves are evenly coated. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay your leaves out on the pan and sprinkle lightly with sea or kosher salt and roast them for ten to fifteen minutes. Watch them closely so they don't burn. Burned Kale will make your kids hate vegetables and you and will just add to the list of things they will eventually complain to their therapists. Don't Burn The Leaves!! If you don't you'll get an amazing treat that will rival potato chips as a snack and that is packed with goodness.

kale chips

Or you can eat them all yourself and tell the kids how much they missed out. I made kale chips and I love the way they shatter in my mouth. They are very delicate. I'm thinking collard chips would turn out strong enough to handle dipping into a tasty yogurt dip. Here's the great thing, once you've mastered the basic greens chip, you can add your favorite seasonings. Finely chopped garlic, hot pepper flakes, whatever you or your kids enjoy can make this a great step down the path to vegetable love.

Up Next: Ewwww, are we eating Brains???


MakingSpace said...

I'm up!

Can't wait to try this, I've tried it before but I ended up overcooking them and the chips were ashes... oops! This looks yummy and easy to do.

Happy Dim Sum Sunday!

MakingSpace said...

OK reading more in detail I see my errors. I did not fully dry the kale and I chopped it fine before roasting. Now I know what to do to make it work and give the kids some fun in the process. Coolz!

Big Shamu said...

Yes, and if in doubt, undercook, not over.

MakingSpace said...

Got it!

Sharon Rudd said...

Wow, these sound amazing too! Must try!

Buzz Kill said...

I just did a very similar preparation for oven fried potatoes. I have one of the french fry presses that juliens the potatoes, then I put oil and salt in a ziplock and coat the potatoes. Oven at 425 for about 20 minutes, flipping a couple of times and they taste like fries without the mess of stove top frying.

I'm up at the Buzzkill with a carrot dish.

Big Shamu said...

Time to run over to Buzz's place and visit.