Saturday, August 25, 2012

Is summer really creeping to an end? ALREADY??

Boy, once again, summer has flown by WAY faster than I wanted it to! And...for those of us here in Minnesota, it is State Fair time. What does that mean, well, for me it means a great day out with my hubby - but it also means a whole lot of food temptations that I will most definitely pay for if I'm not careful! I love fair time and used to love trying all the new and most outrageous foods they came up with each year, sadly I've had to change my favorite fair past-time to people watching as I can't eat most of the "new" and "crazy" new foods they have figured out how to put on a stick here in MN...

I was thrilled to learn a couple weeks ago that on the list of the 40 new foods at the fair, that there were a number of Gluten Free options joining the ranks. What I was even more excited about was when I got there today and not only tasted the yummy goodness (risotto poppers and chocolate cupcake) at French Meadow Bakery, but also how many people were ordering the gluten free goodness. I hope that means that next year will have EVEN MORE!! Thank you Minnesota State Fair for thinking of those of us with gluten intolerances and allergies!! WE APPRECIATE IT!!

Risotto Poppers @ French Meadow Bakery at the MN State Fair - they were yummy!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kale Chips

A few months back, my younger brother (who claims I'm the one who eats weird stuff) asked me if I've ever tried Kale Chips. I was quick to say that I hadn't, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I had never tried kale, let alone bought it and cooked it! He told me that he had tried kale chips he bought from the store and really thought that the homemade ones were much better. I cataloged it to the back of my mind and figured that some day, when I was feeling particularly adventurous, I would think about buying some kale and trying kale chips.

Well, I guess that day has come. I was at the farmers market this past weekend with my husband and two nieces - urging them to find a food they'd never tried before. My husband picked out thai green eggplant and I decided to go for the kale - needless to say, the neices didn't find anything new that they were brave enough to pick out :) I was sure to ask the lady at the stand how long the kale usually keeps for, as I figured I likely wouldn't get to it for at least a couple days. She assured me that in the bottom drawer of the fridge it could last 7 - 10 days.

Well, a few days later, here I am, yup, just made some kale chips this evening. Really, they're quite simple to make. Gather your cleaned kale, some olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also use other seasonings such as red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, vinegar, or tabasco sauce, the options are endless.

I started out with my clean and dried kale

Since I had never tried kale before, I of course, had to try a couple bites of it raw. I learned a long time ago, that you can never fully appreciate a vegetable unless you've tried at least a bite of it raw - that's when you get the true, full flavor of the vegetable.

I gathered my simple ingredients along with

I used parchment paper on a cookie sheet, but the recipe I used said to use aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. I don't know if that made a difference in timing or not.

I used my new mistor to lightly coat the kale with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then cracked some salt and pepper over the raw kale before putting it in the oven
(this picture actually shows some basil garlic seasoning on one and garlic parmeasan on the other)

Bake the kale in a 350* oven for 10 - 20 minutes. I guess the timing depends on what kind of kale you use and how wet it is when put in the oven. You only want to bake it until it starts to turn brown (my first couple batches were way over done and you can tell in the flavor - it almost tastes burnt).

Now that your kale chips are done - if you didn't tear the kale into small bite size pieces, you can do that now, or just leave them big and take a big bit and ENJOY!!

Kale Chips
- One bunch of Kale
- 1-2 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- Other seasonings (listed above) to taste

- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Take your washed and patted dry kale and place it on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Spray/mist with olive oil and salt and season to taste.
- Bake for 10 - 20 minutes, checking at least every 10 minutes to avoid over cooking.
- When the kale chips begin to brown on the edges, remove from the oven. You can enjoy the fresh from the oven (be careful - they will be a bit hot). After they cool they can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Kale is rich in vitamin A and K!