Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kale Chips!

Twenty minutes or less. Such a theme brings up a number of ideas for dishes, and it also makes one think up a variety of possible loopholes to exploit, especially since this week’s theme stipulated it was twenty minutes that starts after you assemble the mise en place.

So what about preheating an oven or a pot of oil? Or perhaps I was “assembling” my bread dough before baking it, or just “putting together” the batter for tempura before frying?

However, I don’t really like lawyers or exploiting a turn of phrase, so for this week, I decided to do something in twenty minutes, including the amount of time it took to put the things together…. Kale Chips. All in all, from start to the completion of the first batch took 16 minutes, including the time spent taking photos.

I suppose you could say there’s some exploitation involved since I was using non stick spray and a microwave, neither of which are involved in my usual cooking methodologies, but when beating the clock, you gotta do what you gotta do.

First the assembly of everything I’ll need. A large mixing bowl for washing and dressing the kale, one bunch of kale, a large plate that will fit in the microwave, parchment paper, and some ground sea salt. So far, two minutes elapsed.

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Next, the Kale is washed and dried, shaken vigorously in the backyards with a swishing motion that makes people who haven’t seen it before wonder why you are throwing your vegetables on the ground, but say “ooh” when they realize what you’ve done.

Six minutes in total elapsed.

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Tear the kale vigorously into smaller pieces with your hands quickly.

Spray quickly with non stick spray, then sprinkle on sea salt and get hands into it, ensuring non stick spray or oil and sea salt has coated all the surfaces of the kale. Nine minutes in total elapsed so far.

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Spread a layer of kale on a dish lined with parchment paper. Ten minutes.

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Microwave four minutes and test chips, decide they need one more minute. Scramble to hit the timer again. Sixteen minutes elapsed.

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First batch of microwaved kale chips, not bad at all.

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Place in a bowl to allow to cool a bit while finishing out the rest of the kale. The whole bunch obviously took a bit longer than twenty minutes, but if you cut out the cleaning and drying time with adequate preparation before hand, it will easily fit into twenty minutes.

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Here’s my second batch. I have to say I was surprised at just how crispy and satisfying the kale chips were. I may have eaten most of an entire bunch of kale on my own in one night. I’d like to experiment with curry powder or other spice mixtures in the future.

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Microwave Kale Chips, adapted from a bunch of different sources on the web.

  • One bunch kale, washed and well dried
  • Non stick spray or olive oil
  • Finely ground sea salt to taste
  • Ground pepper and other spices to taste
  1. Tear kale into medium sized pieces, discarding the thick stems, and place in a large container.
  2. Spray with enough nonstick spray to coat every piece of kale and sprinkle on a little sea salt and extra seasoning if using.
  3. Mix well with hands to ensure even coating and seasoning.
  4. Place kale on a large dish lined with parchment paper in an even layer. You probably can only do a third of the bunch or less per batch.
  5. Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove kale chips from microwave, as the dish can get very hot. Pour into a serving bowl and repeat until all the kale has been turned into kale chips.