The question I am most often asked is if I actually eat the things I make. While I focus on being fit and healthy, I can assure you and anyone else who asks I do indeed eat everything I make. In fact, I make each recipe, tasting the batter along the way when possible, photograph it, eat it, like it, and write about it before you ever see it on this blog. If it doesn’t pass the taste test, even if Mom and Dad like it, it doesn’t see publication. Luckily, Mom is kind enough to do the dishes
Moderation is definitely key. Making cookies means eating one, yes, one and only one, after dinner. It means limiting myself to one piece of pie or cake. It means no heaping scoop of ice cream next to said slice of pie or cake. More than anything, it means eating less and healthier throughout the rest of the day. I almost never eat out, and just looking at my small meals would leave most of you hungry . . . until you got to dessert.
More than anything, I really love healthy food. Sure I get a craving for French fries now and then, though I haven’t had any in over three months, and a few potato chips, about five, seriously, often satisfy my salty snack craving. But fruit, vegetables, wild fish, lean meats . . . these are foods I love, foods that provide comfort, foods that make me feel good and are good for me.
I’m not always a fan of leafy greens. But a few years ago when the craze over kale chips began, I was curious to say the least. Could these really be as good as people said? Would I like them at all? Or not be able to take more than one bite? I experimented with many different cooking temperatures and times. I learned 350 is way too hot to cook them. Covering them with parchment, or even cooking them on parchment leads to soggy chips. And timing . . . oh, man, that has to be perfect.
I have now perfected my kale chip recipe. An unlined baking sheet, 300 degrees, and almost 30 minutes exactly will give you perfect kale chips. Kale chips have become one of my favorite side dishes. Even Dad likes them, and trust me, when I said kale chips, he looked at me like I was crazy. But as long as they are fully coated with olive oil, the excess drains off during baking, you’ll end up with perfectly crisp kale. I season mine with black pepper and red pepper flake for a bit of a kick. The flavor is spicy with richness from olive oil and a slight bitterness from kale, giving an overall perfectly balanced flavor. It’s the texture of these that is my favorite. Completely crispy, they then almost melt in your mouth, dissolving into bits of pure flavor and health, as kale is considered a super food. The experience of these is kind of unique and hard to explain, so you must give them a try. I know you’ll fall in love with them as much as I have, and they’ll help you keep your New Year’s resolution to lose weight . . . or at least make you feel better about eating dessert.
- 1 medium bunch kale, stemmed and thoroughly washed
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Dry kale thoroughly. Tear kale into bite size pieces and place on an unlined rimmed baking sheet. Cover the sheet entirely, but do not put more than one layer of kale or it will not bake properly. Sprinkle with black pepper and red pepper flakes. Drizzle on olive oil, and then mix with your hands to make sure all the leaves are coated in olive oil. Drizzle a little more if necessary. Excess will drain off during baking.
- Bake for about 30 minutes. Check a few minutes before to make sure it is not done early, and it is possible it could require a few extra minutes, but 30 tends to do the trick. The kale will have shrunk down substantially. It should all be crispy, but not at all brown. It may be sizzling a little. Serve immediately.