Monday, July 14, 2014

Beet Chips and Kale Chips

So I have been hearing all about kale chips lately.  And to be honest with you, I really didn't see the appeal.  I mean kale by itself it pretty good.  When it's in my fridge I will add it to other salad greens or chiffonade it into soups. 
Kale and collard greens are a lot alike, except kale recently had a rise in popularity.  It's like coolness can be measured in the amount of kale smoothies you drink.  Personally I think collards have more more going for them. They may be considered low country but collards are more flavorful than kale, they are less tough and cook up better.  But to be fair I had to give the kale chip a try before passing judgement.  

I started with a bag of organic kale.  Organic is a must.  Even though greens don't top the list of the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen.  They have been categorized with a special consideration because of their unusually high amounts of pesticides. Be sure to check this out before purchasing your next bag of greens.  
Instead of olive oil I used coconut oil for the kale chips.  I emptied half the bag of kale into a large bowl and tossed with coconut oil and Himalayan sea salt until the leafs were well coated but not soggy.  I repeated with the second half of the bag.  I then spread the kale out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and placed them in an oven preheated to 350.  I baked them for about 20 min. I poked my head in the oven every so often to move the kale around to make sure it was baking evenly. Halfway through the baking I rotated the pans around. I was surprised to see how well they crisped up.  
Then there was the taste test.  Not bad.  But I am not sure they are worth the effort.  I will tell you the crumbs from the broken leaves made an awesome topping for soup.  
Kale chip with Himalayan sea salt
Kale Chips
Now don't be discouraged because the next "chip" I tried was BEET CHIPS.  Trust me.  They were worth all the time and effort you will put into them.  Which really is no longer than 10min of prep time and about 25min of baking.  
Red beets
I peeled the beets with a potato peeler.  Wear gloves because these red bad boys will stain your hands.  Then with a mandolin or food processor, slice the root thinly.  The thinner they are, the quicker they will cook.  I like mine at about 2 mm thin.( my roots are very metric~pun intended) Toss in a bowl with an oil of your choice.  I used coconut oil.  Season as you desire.  I like sea salt but have also tried a mix of sea salt, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder.  I also think cinnamon may be good too.    Again spread out evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Bake at 350 for about 25min.  Remove any chips that appear to be getting done before the others to avoid burning.  Let cool and enjoy.  
Thinly sliced beet root

Baked Beet Chips

Beet chip with sea salt
Now my resident taste tester, (Dr. Brian) claimed to not be a big fan of beets.  In the past, I have made them many ways.  I have roasted them like potatoes, shredded them into salads but he always gave them a polite tasting and that was that.  Now when he saw the chips, he gave me that same, "I'll try them but I don't like them face."  Well that face quickly disappeared after one nibble.  I had an addict on my hands.  So if you have a self proclaimed beet hater, try the beet chips and convert them for life.   

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