My Love Affair with Kale Continues

So my new thing, besides *finally* learning to bake kale chips without burning them, is eating kale raw. I’m obsessed. I’m a Kale evangelist. I should be this fervent as a Christian. Seriously.

I bring my kale salad around saying “wanna try some?”

And today (actually about a month ago, as that is when I first started writing this post) I brought a bowl of kale chips to Morgan’s soccer game passing them out at the gate while I worked on tickets. All takers were smitten, except Paster Greg, who agreed that I should be that fervent for Jesus, and also said they’d good with ketchup — which I took as the single strike against them.

I usually grow just black tuscan kale, which is the long skinny leaved variety favored in Italy.

[Cuz I’m so cultured.]

This year, I also grew a box of Red Russion. Which, isn’t red at all, but is perfect for my salads and chips. Not that the black tuscan isn’t good for those things, mind you. It just that… oh never mind. It seriously doesn’t matter.

Here’s a question for you to ask the produce manager the next time you go grocery shopping (which for me is hopefully never): WHY THE HELL IS THIS KALE SO EXPENSIVE?

And if you aren’t comfortable with such a bold question to a perfect stranger (and swearing), then how about this one: WHAT IN THE SAM HILL CAN I DO WITH 5 KALE LEAVES?

These are both totally fair questions. Kale should not be expensive this time of year. It’s like arugula, which is like a weed. Yet you can only buy the daintiest little bunches of it for something like $5. Crazy. Meanwhile there is this kale revolution going on everywhere: recipes, online, restaurants… I’m waxing poetic all the live long day. My friends go to the store to buy some (because my house apparently isn’t as convenient as a grocery store), and you have to pay $3 for 5 medium sized leaves that will cook to nothing and serve about one person. It is seriously crazy. We need to start a mutiny.

Well, you can. I’ve got a lot of things to do today and besides, I’ve got enough kale to last me until 2014.

The other day, I read about using kale to make some kind of pesto sauce. Frankly, the blog I read it on is one that I accidentally subscribed to and can’t figure out how to unsubscribe. The blog drives me literally bonkers. And yet I can’t help peeking when they show up in my inbox because I love to hate this woman. She is an unadulterated and shameless COPYCAT of, who you could also hate but for entirely different reasons (jealousy). The copycat styles her photos the exact same way LaTartine does, which is very unique to her (and gorgeous). And worse, she tries to write in the exact same voice — which is crazy because latartine is French and english is her second language! aaaah it just drives me to drink. I’ve got to figure out how to unsubscribe. Anyway, forgive my rant. The copycat did mention a kale pesto that sounded intriguing… She probably copied it from somewhere.

For now, in addition to my kale posts (I was going to link them for your convenience, but I found I’ve written way too much about kale. Just type it in the search box and see for yourself.) from previous years, here is my latest and greatest way to devour my crop:

Kale & Mustard Greens* Chips:

These are everywhere online. But here’s my I-tried-it-so-you-don’t-have-to-suffer-the-same-fate advice: bake at 250 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, turning and removing just before they turn brown. Lots of recipes have you bake them at 400 or higher for a minute or two. It is impossible to keep most of them from burning at that temp.

Take out any bigger sized stems, because these take way to long to get crispy and you’ll burn the leaves waiting for it to happen.

Rub the leaves between your hands to distribute the olive oil.

Salt (and pepper) generously! I also like to sprinkle a little hot chili powder on them for a little zing.

Now that it’s not humid in MN, they keep a long time in a big bowl in the pantry. Keep them on the counter and you’ll find yourself eating them instead of crap food.

Kale Salad:

Why don’t I have any pictures of this? I know not.

Anyway, here’s the deal: cut up into salad size pieces, toss with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt for a medium sized bowl of kale, (probably about 2 or 3 lame grocery store bunches) a tablespoon of olive oil and the juice from a half of lemon. Stir it all up and let it sit about 30 to 60 minutes. That’s all it takes to tenderize the leaves. Then mix with just about anything tossed with a little more lemon and olive oil to taste. Here are some I’ve tried and loved:

  • apples, almonds & quinnoa
  • butternut squash & craisins
  • wild rice and pears
*Mustard Greens. I planted these this year and they are quite the prolific little crop. They are really zippy tasting raw and I’ve used them raw with the kale for salad. Spicy, mustardy tasting. I’ve also baked them into chips and it works great! They take just a bit longer to cook.

(Never fear: road warriors will be completed, as promised, by christmas.)


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  1. says

    I haven’t tried kale chips but am inspired via your instruction.

    I HAVE made Kale pesto. Short story is “pesto” just means “pounded” (I googled extensively as I didn’t want to be saying pesto incorrectly!!) – although if someone says pesto to me, I think the basil kind. This summer when my CSA (a share for 2 and I am just 1) threatened to overwhelm me with green stuff, I made pesto out of anything green that was left at the end of the week and froze it. For Kale pesto I liked Kale with olive oil/lemon/garlic and I started swapping sunflower seeds for pine nuts.

  2. says

    Liz — this is a reply to your comment from last fall. BUT: I DID make kale pesto. And I… HATED it! Gave it to the chickens. :( Did you ever try it?

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