Monday, January 11, 2010

Kale Chips: Epic Fail




I am greens-phobic. Not the salad kind of greens; it's those sturdy, bitter, winter greens that give me the willies. In fact, I've never cooked them, because just looking at those woody stems and ginormous leaves makes me nervous.

But I've seen several recipes this winter for Kale Chips. As in, torn leaves of kale, baked and salted, transformed into crackly and crunchy morsels not completely unlike REAL chips.

A veggie that resembles junk food? Inconceivable!

And there are even actual pictures on the Internet from food bloggers, showing small children devouring these crispy green bits of goodness. Now if kids in Pull-Ups can pony up and eat kale, I certainly can, right?

I decided to put on my big-girl underpants and not fear the kale. I actually made it to the register without returning my leafy bundle to the veggie aisle. I brought it home. I washed it. I spun it dry--because every recipe I've seen is quite *stern* about the fact that the kale must be bone dry or else it won't turn out.



I followed the basic method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Drizzle the kale with one tablespoon of olive oil and toss well to coat. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the leaves out so they don't touch. Sprinkle kale with 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Pop the kale into the oven and roast for 7 to 15 minutes, watching VERY carefully. The recipes I read were also very *stern* in their warnings not to let the kale brown, which it will do any time between minute 7 and minute 15, depending on how hot your oven runs. Who are these Stalins of Kale? They are very bossy.

But, if the kale browns, it becomes bitter, so you really have to babysit this sucker starting at minute 7. When brittle and crackly but NOT brown, remove from oven, plate and eat.

Verdict: What the Hell is this recipe about? I was a good little rule follower, down to the letter. My kale was dry and it was not brown and it was--Garrrgggllllll! Nasty! Despite my diligence, the kale chips still tasted kind of bitter and, frankly, like crispy grass.

None of us liked it. Well, Miss M. can't say for certain because she took one look at those things and said, "I not eating that."

Sorry Kale. I guess for us, it just wasn't meant to be.

53 comments:

  1. I've also heard about these marvelous kale chips. But I think you have to like kale to begin with, and that is an acquired taste that I will never have.

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  2. My rule is if I cannot eat it raw than there is no point in cooking it!

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  3. LOL - Once again totally on the same page. I think we may share a brain or a past life or something. I made these for the first time last week and only found them edible with plenty of salt (I'd eat anything with enough salt). Found out the hard way that day-old soggy kale chips are a rare form of chewy nastiness.

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  4. I love kale in soup. I love potato-kale soup. The Girl loves it, too. Granted, she mostly loves the potatoes and the salty broth, but I like to think a few kale bits get down her gullet despite her efforts to spoon around them.

    Don't think I'll be making kale chips.

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  5. I'm all for kale and rainbow chard and beet greens, et al., but only wilted in sesame oil and balsamic, with sea salt. I need those suckers soggy. Crispy would be...well, ew. Thanks for taking one for the team, TKW. And thanks for the mental image of you in your big girl undies. Can't shake that and now conflating it with the need to not brown. Blech.

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  6. We are big kale fans. The kids and adults all love it in soup of any variety. I also make it with shallots, olive oil, and shredded parmesan. It's divine!

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  7. there comes a time in my kitchen every now and again when a rogue piece of cabbage stumbles out of a pot of pan and lands on the stove. Hiding which a meal is prepared, it stays in a dry, hot climate. When it is finally cool enough to remove it is crispy and (yeah, I had to try it) it was good. I like cabbage so I am sure that helped. I still havent tried kale chips, but maybe a longer bake at a lower temp would make it less icky? idk where I am going with this...just wanted to share

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  8. You are brave to even give it a try! How about dry seaweed (nori) then? :-)

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  9. I am impressed you tried kale chips. I am truly thinking the best ones come from a bag at the grocery, just like potato chips. :)

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  10. I was torrmented with kale as a child. Will never, ever, evah, eat it again.

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  11. I was totally going to try making these....thanks for saving me the time and energy!!

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  12. The title alone had me CRACKING UP

    I happen to love winter greens. The key is slow cooking. With meat. Preferably cured pork. But a quick way is to cut out the thickest part of the stem, lay them in a large pyrex dish, drizzle a little olive oil and S & P then put seasoned bread crumbed chicken parts (we're partial to thighs WITH SKIN) on top. Bake the whole thing till chicken's done. The greens braise and get all seasoned from the chicken drippings. YUM

    But definitely not a shrink your ass dish.

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  13. Chuck the stems, lay the LEAVES in the pyrex

    sorry-didn't proof read :)

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  14. Ew, I'm with you on the leafy greens. They're kinda scary! And I don't like kale. How you make a lettuce like vegetable into "chips" is beyond me - it just seems all wrong!

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  15. I'm thinking that someone has a preference for either salty or sweet (everyone loves fat). As well as salty, I like sour tastes, so vinegar and lemon on greeny bitter veggies makes them taste better to me. Can't say I could be bothered to make kale chips myself. I'm impressed you gave it a go. Now you can say you don't like them and it will be an informed opinion!

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  16. We are just flat veggie phobes, here. Well......I am....my kids are.....the hubby loves that crap. *gag* If it's green, I ain't eatin' it as a general rule. I like lettuce.:)

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  17. I am laughing out loud.
    Stalins of Kale.

    I like chard and spinach but not kale. I just sautee it with a bunch of cream and butter. What's not to love? But, not great for the ass shrinking part.

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  18. I did make this for our New Years "greens" in the south it already came washed cut in just the right size pieces and all I had to do was cut off the big woody stems. I loved it! My daughter did not! I tossed it with enough oil and spread it on my stoneware bar pan, sprinkled with good sea salt. Maybe I added too much salt and oil and didn't follow the "stalins of Kale" instructions to a T.

    I am so proud of you that you tried it!!!

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  19. My favorite part of this whole (splendid) post: "I decided to put on my big girl underpants and not fear the kale." Just flitted that little goodie into the Twittersphere :)

    As always, appreciate your cadence and your humor. Am pondering a post called "Give Beets a Chance."

    Sorry it didn't work out with you and the kale.

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  20. Thanks for saving me some time. I was going to attempt this very recipe. After reading this, I'm so not.

    Scratching kale off my shopping list now!

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  21. Ha! I just saw a recipe for this yesterday and was all intrigued. Not so much now.

    Thanks for giving it the old college try (and thank goodness that everything you make doesn't work out because otherwise, there's no hope for the rest of us who are only kitchen bitches, not witches).

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  22. OH I LOVE kale. Do you think I should try it and see if the verdict is different? I actually like Raw Kale! I eat Kale Salad several times a week. I am a freak. I know.

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  23. What about sauteed? ANYTHING, short of big girl underpants, tastes good sauteed until just done in butter and garlic. Or, a la KW, with some siriacha? Mmmm??

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  24. Although you can't go wrong with olive oil and salt in my book (you know the book that LIKES tuna noodle casserole), it still looks like rabbit food to me.

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  25. This is hysterical - I have kale chips on my list of things to try . . . but keep passing over it b/c I think "if I'm going to eat a chip, I want a *real* chip, dammit!" You have inspired me not to take the time. I do love kale prep'd in other ways though - particularly in soups. It loses its bristliness . . . .

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  26. You are my daily dose of endorphins. I laughed throughout reading this... remember how Stacey (Stacey Snacks) blogged her own disaster, about a year ago. I'm learning to bond with new greens-- but stop short of mustard greens. Somehow, I couldn't get excited about kale chips. Now, I know why!

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  27. Thanks for saving me from Kale. I've bought it a few times and can't get up for making it.

    I did make the tortellini spinach soup for dinner last night. Huge hit at our house! Thanks for the immersion blender tip. I did that and it gave it a really nice texture.

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  28. Can I sit at the kiddie table with Miss M? I can make faces at kale with the best of them. Hasn't frozen yet.

    AofA: Dried Seaweed? huh? I'd stick it on my face before I ate it. It might freeze then.
    jc

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  29. What a coincidence, I made this last night. The only difference is that I didn't add any salt until after it crisped. The chips were fine the next day too. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

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  30. Kale chips. Right up there with tripe.

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  31. I HEART kale! I've been thinking about trying the crispy method but you've pretty much talked me out of it. Try the Moosewood recipe - The. Best. Ever.

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  32. I'm a greens lover but crispy kale? I'm no expert but it seems to me it would come out exactly as you described. Thanks for posting about this, btw. Makes me feel much better about my failed bean dish that I tried to feed my family tonight.

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  33. Ugh, it's the most disgusting thing. That's why you didn't like it. It isn't food. Simple.

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  34. I'm so glad you didn't like it. I was beginning to worry about losing you in the midst of all this healthy crap.

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  35. Well, those of you who are adventurous, Fresh Local and Best said hers turned out, so give it a go...I am feeling kind of guilty that I dissuaded so many kale chip adventurers. Please, if you have kale in the house, just try it for shits and grins.

    I am still "Garrrrrggglllll" over here just thinking about it.

    ADR: I have no Beet Love, either. Good luck with that. Anxiously awaiting your report re: second chances.

    jc: if you are at the kid's table, so am I. Pull up a chair or two for the other naughty kids.

    AofA: How did you know that I hate nori, too? It's from the sushi poisoning from hell experience a few years ago...can't touch it.

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  36. The comic is too apt! :D

    I have not ventured into kale-chip land, did not know such things existed before this post! Good to know. I'd just expect the leaves to go up in a puff of smoke before they could really become chips. Maybe I'd better not attempt this. I've been known to set things on fire rather easily.

    I am going to try this, though.

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  37. I tried the crispy kale once...didn't like it either. I like it in with other ingredients better than alone. Just smother it in hot sauce next time! :D

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  38. Kale has been consumed when covered in rendered bacon fat... then its eatable. With little chunks of ham. I am not sure about Kale chips!?! I may try when I am trying to scare small children

    yum

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  39. You are brave. Don't think I could have tried kale under any circumstances. Ok, maybe is someone had a gun to my head.

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  40. I'm not a big kale fan...it is so bitter...you're better than me, I wouldn't have bothered... :) xxx

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  41. Thank goodness I am not alone! I've tried this not once, but twice - and they tasted like shit both times!

    They were brittle, bitter, just plain awful. Based on your additional review, I am confident I will never try it again! :D

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  42. I'll bring the Cheetohs and Tang:)
    jc

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  43. Kale Chips...big oxymoron! Frankly, there is no good way to eat kale--leave it in the garden.

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  44. What? No kale in soup? C'mon TKW. I dare you to put on your big girl underpants one more time and try some kale in your soup. No? Okay, how about if you juice it? Like, veggie-juicer juice it! It'll give you a boost of energy, I swear, and will inevitably help you shed a few pounds with the volume of, er, excretion that'll follow. Yum, right?

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  45. Hey, I just TAGGED and LINKED you at
    "...i don’t like mama!"

    Come check it out...tag you’re it!

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  46. Kale sounds disgusting. I guess I will not be trying this recipe anytime soon.

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  47. I first tastes kale when I moved to the States- after getting the hang of cooking it I am now a big fan BUT as chips?? That just doesn't seem right, your a brave woman!

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  48. yeah, that looks weird! but also, i think that the levels of olive oil and salt are wayyyyyy too low? I would add more oil and also add a lot more salt and garlic powder and pepper and probably cayenne pepper and THEN i would squeeze some lemon juice over them or something.

    But that's just me, I'm always breaking the rules.

    You know what? You should just make that yummy corn with the dijon mustard/mayo/queso blanco again, that was really good. Except you can use fake mayo, the vegan stuff. That's fat free and it's healthy!

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  49. So I hear from all the raw foodies that the best way to make kale chips are in a dehydrator. If you don't own one, which let's face it most of us don't, just set your oven to the lowest temp and leave the oven door cracked. This slowly draws out the moisture from the kale without browning and in the end they will have a more stable texture as well.

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  50. I tried the recipe and I LOVED IT! Seriously.

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