kale

Oh, spring.

I have been waiting for you for such a long, long time.

And now that you’re here, you’re playing games with me.

One minute, we’re pure magic—all fresh breezes and warm sunshine. Bailey and I go for an evening walk, his paws trotting past tiny green buds peeking out of the earth and I breathe in the new air, cold and clean, inhaling it down deep and sighing, happy sighing, the kind filled with satisfaction yet anticipation. The next, you’re waking me up in the middle of the night, my eyes swollen and my throat tight, while what feels like a hundred tiny hammers bang against my head and nothing—not the Vicks VapoRub® or the warm compress on my eyes or the two tablets of pain medication—makes me feel well again. I always forget about this part. Every year.

Then, just when I’m ready to give up on you—to say I’ll bide my time and wait for summer’s long, hot days—my mom buys and brings me a neti pot, a small contraption in the shape of a genie’s bottle that, when filled with lukewarm saltwater, clears my nasal passages and frees my airways and makes me breathe again, so I can taste your sweet, windy gusts that burst through my windows, signaling the rainstorm that will come, along with the temperate days and green, green grass.

Spring, I take it all back. I think I love you.

When I look at things clearly, I say you’re like kale. Does that make sense? Kale is dark green, leafy, sold in thick bunches wrapped with bands, filled with promise, the kind of produce you want to take home with you because it’s beautiful and healthy (!) and, you know, there will be a way to enjoy it. Even though it’s usually considered a winter vegetable, kale is easy to find on days like these in March, just like natural light and rainy evenings and smells of charcoal grills wafting through the sky.

But after I’d made a failed winter vegetable gratin and a botched attempt at blanched kale, I was ready to give up on kale. And then.

pieces of kale

First at The Kitchn and then at Robin Sue’s, I saw big promises for something delicious, easy, healthy and impossible to resist. I saw kale chips.

Essentially, this is what you do: Wash your kale and break it into pieces, then toss it with olive oil and vinegar. Lay these pieces flat across a parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

kale chips

In the fast heat, the kale loses its moisture and becomes crispy, airy, full of the flavors of olive oil and salt. My friend Jackie said they reminded her of potato chips, and a few other testers said they couldn’t get enough. In fact, they’re so surprisingly tasty, you might not even realize you’re eating something filled with vitamins K, A and C, not to mention maempferol, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

It’s indeed possible, after having some of these, to find yourself forgetting preconceptions and declaring your affections boldly and loud, kind of the way you might after walking through wet grass, under blue skies, on a day before spring comes, like a girl in love.





Kale Chips
adapted from ChowMama’s recipe posted at The Kitchn

Ingredients:
1 bunch organic kale, torn into 1/2? pieces
3 Tablespoons organic olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash kale, and toss it in oil and vinegar until thoroughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, until crispy.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Jacqui

    i have a friend who eats a lot of kale. we had a late-night frozen pizza last week and she added some kale and it was awesome! funny you should post this recipe from the kitchn, i just forwarded it to her a few days ago!

    i’ve been wanting to explore new kinds of greens, as well. i’m getting bored with spinach. kale is definitely on my list!

  2. Robin at Caviar and Codfish

    I’m so glad you’re using the Neti-Pot!! I’ve gotten good results from it, though I still get a scratchy throat during spring, the days of the spring love/hate relationship are almost gone. :) Isn’t it nice to finally be able to enjoy it?

    Kale chips have been on my recipe backburner for a while now, thanks for the wonderful, motivating write-up.

  3. Molly

    Seriously, you posted that the day after I used up the last of the Kale I bought this weekend? I cry foul.

    One of my personal favorite kale recipes is sauteing it in olive oil and then tossing it over a short chunky pasta with feta cheese. Works with kale, chard, collard greens… all of them so tasty.

  4. Rachel

    wow! how interesting…. i wasn’t expecting that! I bought kale once… to make olive gardens potato soup. lol. to be honest…. I probably wont ever buy kale to make chips but i would totally want to try it if you made it!! haha

  5. Shannalee

    Jacqui – On pizza! Genius! (Making a mental note)

    Lainey – I hope you try it! SO easy.

    Robin – I cannot tell you how much I balked at the idea of the neti pot, but I am its biggest fan now. Being able to breathe is kind of the best thing ever! Glad to have a fellow supporter in you!

    kickpleat – That is sad! Hang in there, though, the end has to be in sight!

    DD – Introduction is the perfect way to explain it, yes!

    Molly – Mmm, what a great idea to add it to pasta!

    Rae – You’re hilarious! I’d love to make it for you, any time!

    Susan – I totally understand because it took me forever. But then, once I wanted to try it, I didn’t give up, and now I’m glad. Give this a shot – you’ll love how simple it is!

  6. DaleR

    Many years ago I went to a New Years Eve dinner party where everyone got together and cooked a special dish to share. One of the most commented on dishes of the evening was a small plate of basil leaves – basil leaf chips that is. They retained a recognizable shape, were lightly salted and delicately crispy.
    Basil is pretty amazing no matter what, but kale would be totally unexpected. I never did get the information on how they were made, but I think you just gave me the answer. Either way, this will make a totally awesome snack and, with a little experimentation, maybe some other green leafy things will too.

  7. Shannalee

    Robin Sue, We sure will! Thanks for posting about them!

    DaleR, I agree! I was already wondering if this would work with spinach, but basil chips are something I NEVER would have thought to try. I bet it would be really interesting!

  8. Kirbie

    Wow, I’ve never heard of Kale chips! It sounds very tasty. I am always trying to eat more kale, but don’t know of many ways I enjoy it other than putting it in soup. I will definitely try this out.

  9. Pingback: The Fact of the Matter | Angel Hair with Braised Kale | Food Loves Writing

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