Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Buzzing about Kale


I'm not exactly sure why it took so long for this veggie to regain popularity.  Kind of like the tall girl in the back of the dance class, kale hardly had a second glance for a very long time.  In the past 18 months I've heard a great deal of buzz about kale. Not to detract but this modest member of the vegetable kingdom needs more than a second glance almost as much as .....Bacon! (don't hate about the bacon note but seriously can we shift gears for a moment here? Enough foodie talk about bacon...besides what hasn't been written about bacon recently? ) 

I've always been a proponent of greens in all textures & varieties. At times I am certain my family has been rather skeptical at one more dish of anything of the "green" variety.  In the past 2 years it seems like foodies everywhere are singing the praises of kale & chard. In the United Kingdom kale was widely popular during World War II because of the ease which it was grown in Victory gardens & the nutritious benefits the greens added to the wartime rationed diets.  kale has 192 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin c as well as minerals like iron, niacin, potassium and phosphorus. Not loaded with nitrates & fat, kale is low in calories & good for us too.  Many folks out there are touting the anti-cancer agents found in Kale. When I first heard about Kale Chips I couldn't imagine baking kale & having it keep any flavor.  I was impressed by the time I saw Giada de Laurentiis turn kale into a crispy side dish although it might be considered an appetizer.  Served with a side of the lemony mayonnaise & I could be in heaven in less time than it takes to toss on the olive oil & throw a serving of kale in the oven. Giada has a genius for knowing her audience & somehow tossing sea salt over the EVOO enhances kale making it perfection.  The big taste test came when the kale chips were brought to the table & my husband started raving about them.  A real hit for certain.  Recently, I've also been rather enamored with Whole Foods selection of Kale Salads.  Check here for a modest recreation or twist on my own Kale Salad which is also posted on the lunch box blog here:

Potato & Kale Chips
3 large Kale leaves
Extra Virgin Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (8-ounce) medium white potatoes, unpeeled
* 1 (8-ounce) medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled


* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 a large lemon)
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 a large lemon)
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chips: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the thick stem from the kale and discard. Cut the leaves into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Put them in a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well. Arrange the kale in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and slightly dark on the edges. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, slice the white potatoes and the sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices. Put them in a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well. Arrange in a single layer (without overlapping) on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the slices over and continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes until brown and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes longer. Season the chips with salt and pepper, to taste.

Mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer all the chips to a large bowl and serve with the mayonnaise.

Cook's Note 1: Some potato chips will cook faster than others. Remove the chips from the baking sheets as soon as they become brown and crispy.

Savory Kale Salad
Cook's Note 2: The recipe can be doubled or tripled.


Patti Lecron said...

You're right on! We've "discovered" kale here, too, and have been eating it this winter, thanks to the weekly French organic veggie box. Love it!

Dee said...

Patti, it has always been a favorite of mine & I am thrilled to see folks taking it again. Can't wait to hear more about the weekly veggie box.

Patti Lecron said...

Hey, Dee! More and more food for commercial sale is being grown organically in France; we're finding it even in the hard discount stores! My veggies are coming from the Loire valley, which qualifies here as "local," so I'm gradually becoming a locavore...with the exception of bananas, mangoes, chilis and coffee!

Dee said...

Patti, that sounds perfect. Finally people are starting to really grasp the idea that if the produce is more locally consumed it is by far fresher. I am in agreement with you. Here eating local means it was grown either 100 to 250 miles from where it is sold & consumed. The definable difference of course is right on the plate. *I can almost picture how wonderful a French organic box must be:)

mangocheeks said...

I grew curly kale for the first time three years ago and absolutely adored the flavour: especially sauteed in olive oil. I came across a recipe for Kale crisps around the first time and have to shout out and say they are fantastic. I'd go as far as saying I prefer them to potato crisp.

I tried to grow some last year inmy tiny garden plot, but the cabbage white butterfly destroyed them all :( and those sold at the supermarket are just disappoitning, always minced up.

Angie's Recipes said...

Love those guilty-free snacks, esp. kale! I have tried something similar with celery leaves. Very delicious too.

Jackie said...


Did you know that Austin has a weekly veggie box they will deliver to you for a small price? I read about the offer in a Austin Tid Bits email recently. I will forward it to you!

Dee said...

Mangocheeks, they are so addictive & delicious. I had good luck last year with chard & wondered how a sturdy chard would do crisped in the oven?

Angie, guilty snacks are so much fun, aren't they? Better yet if they have such great flavor.

Jackie, don't forget to send it to me. Is it through Johnson's Backyard?

ClaudiaH said...

I guess you are one of the lucky ones! As one who has to emphasize calcium, I think of calcium first when I think of kale! It's at the top of the calcium list. Looks like a fun recipe - mmm - potato chips!

Tracy Wood said...

I just used kale for the first time in my long cooking career! I added it to a bean soup and it was great. (see my blog if interested anybody) I never know this veggie even existed and I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater!

Hornsfan said...

This was so tasty - but it's funny, I don't remember not liking kale, I think I've always enjoyed it :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome, I like the idea of kale chips and reg & sweet potato chips together!

Dee said...

Claudia, it really is a fun recipe. So easy too!

Tracy Wood, I am now following you. I love kale with white beans, yummy recipe.

Hornsfan, you are right you loved them however there were detractors, just like my "squash month"...LOL

5 Star, it was Giada who added the genius to this combo. The sweet potato seems to balance it all out.

Laura said...

Love love love Kale. Since giving up meat I crave all the thick chewy leafy greens. I think it mus be an iron issue. My other favorite is rainbow chard.

Laura said...

Love love love Kale. Started craving thick dark leafy greens when I gave up meat. I think it's an iron thing. My other favorite is rainbow chard.