Potential Sunday Tradition

I am probably the worst person at cooking. Or was at least. Before I decided that I needed to become more domestic, I only knew how to cook rice (and that does not count).  Now after being half way through the semester in my Green Media class, I feel like I have definitely grown as a chef/baker. Our assignment for this week was to go out to a farmer’s market in the city and pick out a vegetable or fruit that we have never cooked with before.  (If I have gotten this assignment a year ago I probably would’ve started to cry thinking that I’d fail the project.) So this past Sunday, I planned to meet up with some of my girlfriends down at Nopa for brunch on Divisadero, which is only one block away from the Divisadero Farmer’s Market. I was a little nervous, but I went with an open mind to go pick out my fruit or veggie. The farmer’s market on Divisadero is a lot smaller than the one down at the Ferry Building, but I found that despite its small size that it still had a wide range of goodies.

After about 10 minutes of being indecisive, I decided to buy some kale. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about kale chips and how delicious they are so I thought I’d try to make some myself. For some reason I got really nervous when I walked into the farmer’s booth and I kind of started to get super awkward. I think it’s because it was close to closing time and he looked like he had a long day.  I knew I had to make some kind of connection with him so I built up the courage to ask him for his advice about kale. So I asked the farmer/vendor how he likes to prepare kale and the first thing he mentioned were kale chips so I knew I was destined to make some. He told me that dinosaur kale is usually what he uses to make kale chips and said that it was really simple to make. He then told me that he likes to bake his chips with some olive oil and garlic salt (I love garlic salt). Being that I was so weird, I forgot to ask his name and even what his farm was called (that means I’ll just have to go back and find that info out another week).  But he ended up being really friendly and helpful so maybe next time I won’t be such a scaredy cat.

Thinking that dinosaur kale was what I needed to make these esculent chips, I got pretty bummed out. When I got home, I found a recipe for kale chips on Foodgawker, a food website that I turn to whenever I want to look at some great pictures of food.Through Foodgawker, I found a very great and simple recipe for kale chips on a website called weheartfood, titled “Kale Chips – the best thing to happen to kale since dirt!” and the recipe wasn’t specifically for dinosaur kale so I told myself to just try it out and see what happens. Here’s the very simple recipe:

Tips…

  • Wash and dry the kale really well before mixing with the oil and vinegar
  • If the kale is too crowded on the baking sheet, it tends to steam rather than crisp — split among two baking sheets
  • The kale will shrink a bit when it bakes, so don’t worry if your “bite size” pieces start out bigger than a bite!
  • Start making bets with friends that you could get them to eat an entire bunch of kale, willingly, in one sitting.  You will win.

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
salt, pepper, or whatever spices you like!

Preheat the oven to 350.
Tear the kale off the thick stems and into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and spin-dry the kale, then toss with the olive oil, cider vinegar, and spices of choice until well coated. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and just starting to brown. Watch carefully because they can go from done to burned in no time.
Remove from oven, put in a bowl, and inhale.

For my “spice” I chose to take the farmer’s advice and use garlic salt because that stuff’s the best.  It took me about 10 minutes to stir everything up and put it in the oven and kale doesn’t take very long to turn crispy and delicious either (only about 20 minutes).  After the chips were all shriveled and edges golden, I pulled them out of the oven and tried my first taste of kale EVER.  I’m pretty sure my face instantly lit up and my eyes got real big when I tried my first chip because my coworker gave me a really weird look.

I am completely in love with these things and they are the easiest things to make.  Adding in vinegar to the mixture was also a good call on the recipe’s part because it gave it that extra kick it needed. I am so proud that I made a dish I have never made before using a vegetable I have never even seen until Sunday AND that it came out being scrumptious. I’m thinking about deeming Sundays as my official brunch and farmer’s market day. Watch out Rachel Ray!

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