You Can Skip the Dips if You’re Eating Kale Chips

26 Aug
Yeah, you can use that post title as a slogan, kale growers of America.  I won’t even ask for compensation, although I wouldn’t turn it down if you offer.

For Christmas, my step-mom gave me a shaker of Heinen’s Two Brothers seasoning.  If you’ve lived anywhere within driving distance of a Heinen’s supermarket, you’ve probably tried it.  To the average Heinen’s shopper, it’s gold.  Ohioans use it like Southern Californians use Tapatio.  Or vegans use nutritional yeast.  In short, they put it on anything edible.  Anyway, I was mostly used to it flavoring meat and since I’ve given up meat I kind of figured it was one of those spices that was going to sit forlornly at the back of my spice cupboard (way behind the Tapatio, but in front of the nutritional yeast).  Eventually, I couldn’t resist and started experimenting with it (turns out it’s boss on broiled zucchini).  That’s why last night when I decided to try my hand at kale chips again, the Two Brothers seasoning was sitting at the front of my cupboard insisting it would be delicious.

And it was.

Now, let me back up and talk about kale chips for a second.  Whenever I get kale in my CSA basket, I never think “Wow, I’m definitely going to have to stop myself from eating that whole bunch in one go.”  No.  Usually I pray that I can use enough of it and not end up throwing it out.  I was pretty sick of that cycle, so that’s why I settled on kale chips last night.  They use up a bunch of kale and are generally at least mildly palatable.

The last time I made kale chips I cooked them at 350 for 15 minutes.  I came out with a mixture of slightly soggy and very crispy chips that had a distinct kale aftertaste.  They were okay, but I couldn’t understand why so many people went gaga over them.  This time, I altered my approach and turned the heat WAAAAAAAY down.  As far down as it would go on my oven (170) and baked them for almost three hours.  The consistency was so much better.

Kale chip

You know it’s done when it glows.

The substitution of salt for the Two Brothers seasoning couldn’t have hurt either.  Instead of just plain salt, these were closer to barbecue chips, but better.  They had the perfect amount of salt, pepper and heat. I’m sure any kind of seasoning would work great so try out your favorites.  My roommate found a spice shop in Corona del Mar that I’d love to try out for more combinations.  Ethiopian style kale chips?  Yes, please!

To further convert you into kale chip fans, I’m sharing these handy tips which will stop you from making the same mistakes I did my first time around.

If you want to make awesome kale chips…

You should: Remove the leaves from the stem and place into a large bowl.  Lightly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle on seasoning. (Seriously, you need less seasoning than you think.  You can always add more later.)
You should not: Tear the leaves into tiny pieces.  Never mind too much about the stem.  Pile everything on a baking pan and drench with olive oil.  You can never have too much olive oil, right?  Pour on  a few tablespoons of salt.

You should: Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You should not: Pack as much kale as you can onto the sheet.  After all, you only have one. (Note: You can get really cheap baking sheets at thrift stores.)

You should: Bake the kale for as long and low as you can. If you end up in a rush, increase the temperature in your oven by up to 50 degrees for the last 30 minutes. Check their progress ever half hour.
You should not: Cook high and fast.  I bet they’d cook really fast under the broiler.

You should: Take them out when they look and smell done.  It’s true, you’ll notice a different smell when they’re close to done.  Try the chips in the middle once they start looking dry.  They should be crisp and not at all chewy.  If you rattle the pan they’ll sound like fall leaves.
You should not: Take them out when the recipe says they should be done cooking.  Recipes know everything.

You should: Eat them all before you let anyone else try them.  Kale is packed with all kinds of vitamins so it’s actually better if you don’t share them.
You should not: Feed them to your cats.  Cats don’t like kale, yo.

I hope you found my mini-guide helpful.  I’d be interested to see other ways people get creative with kale chips.  I’m also interested in retrying beet chips with a similar method since mine turned out miserably last time.  Maybe next time I’ll use Tapatio.

– April

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One Response to “You Can Skip the Dips if You’re Eating Kale Chips”

  1. wanderdrossel August 28, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Nice title. I feel like a sub-par Ohioan because I have never heard of Two Brother’s seasoning, but their Sea Salt and Chocolate is pretty rad.

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