I was half way through finishing my next post, when I got hijacked by a whirlwind of highly motivated foodie-ism and experimenting that I felt compelled to share. In the last 48 hours I’ve made: a batch of my sprouted buckwheat raw cocao cereal, cashew yoghurt, these fermented corn flour tortilla-like breads for a mexican dinner party, slow cooked lamb stew, dosa mix, as well as few extra special breakfasts and dinners. I’ve been going off- and the kitchen’s a mess!
One of my favourite little garnishes/treats that I buy, is the salad sprinkles from Loving Earth, which are bits of their kale chips with other seeds and spices. I sprinkle it on every darned thing, and have thought, when I get the time, I’d like to try to make them myself. Well, the time is nigh in the garden, for all things kale. And when the spirit of the insatiably-busy-kitchen-witch takes you over, you don’t ask questions. You go with it.
My personal stash
So, I don’t have recipe to go off of. Though I did go look up a recipe on another blog. The method and outcome were different than what I was going for, but, I could see there were no great big secrets to Kale chips.
First step- wash your kale and get rid of the stems
I’m currently growing a selection of Kale varieties: Siberian, Scotch and Cavolo nero.
Next- I thought about the flavours I wanted in my chips/sprinkles. I really wanted something with some ZING! I have some preserved lemons left from last years lemon season (eeek! better get on to it and make more- we’re almost at the end of this season!!!) so they were definitely going in to the mix.
Last years citrus mix: preserved lemons, lemonades, limes and cumquats. I had 3 of these bad boys, this is the last one.
Chilli, of course. Dill is going OFF in the garden, and is a great, unsung hero of the herb world. Garlic has just had it’s first harvest locally, and I picked up some absolutely beautiful purple stuff at the bulk shop the other day.
Feast for the eye.
So then- I basically just chopped everything up, and placed it in the mortar. I added a whole lot of olive oil (don’t ask me how much), and then decided that my other FAVOURITE ingredient smokey paprika would go nicely, so dashed that in there (generously). More olive oil. Then remembered I had a bunch of walnuts/pepitas/brazil nuts soaked in the fridge. Chucked them in. Big blob of macadamia nut butter (for consistency mostly) and set about the task of pestle-ing the bejebus out of the lot.
Improvised dressing for the kale, mine needed to be thick and chunky.
Now this is not to say you have to go and work with these ingredients. You may not have preserved lemons, but lemon zest would work well. You may want to do a salt n’ vinegar type and use some balsamic and himalayan or other good quality salt. (I didn’t add salt to mine because the preserved lemons were done in a mountain of celtic sea salt.) What’s within reach in your kitchen/garden? You may just want au natural kale with a splash of olive oil… go with what you’re craving.
Mix- the dressing in with kale. I wanted a generous amount throughout, so my kale was quite thoroughly covered. Then, get your 4 year old to stand on a stool and take your photo… cuz this stuff is messy- so no handling of cameras with those hands!
Time for the dehydrator/oven- Now, I made the VERY wise decision of investing in an Excalibur dehydrator about 5 years ago, and have never looked back. I make heaps of dehydrated crackers, cookies, pie crusts, and cereals in it- as well as drying herbs/fruit- AND I use it as incubator when making bread and yoghurt. I’ve even made kangaroo jerky in it!! It’s a great addition to your whole foods kitchen, so- I highly recommend getting one. If the price is a bit scary and you aren’t convinced you’ll use it, there are less expensive varieties out there. I even saw some at the local home cheap-o store for $40. The thing to look for, is a temperature gage. You want to be able to change the temperature to suit the needs of the food you are preparing. For example, if you are particularly concerned about the “raw” credentials of your food, you never want to dehydrate above 105 degrees farenheit OR 41 degrees celcius. OR If you are making jerky or other dried meats, you need it to be at a high temperature to be food safe, etc…
So, I got my dressed kale in to my dehydrator, set it to the magic 105/41, and it’s in there as we speak making quite a wonderful smell.
If you don’t have the dehydrating technology, an oven can work too. What you will need to do, is to put the temperature as low as it can go, and keep the door open. The down side with the oven, is that it’s unreliable, you need to keep an eye on it, as it can easily get too hot and perhaps burn. You will also lose your “raw foodist” street cred. But work with what you got. Perhaps you do a few things in the oven and then realize how great and fun the world of dehydrating is, and you run out to your own home cheap-o or visit an on-line shop for the rolls royce-esc Excalibur. For oven dehydrating, I’d place the dressed kale on cookie sheets, and leave them for about 20- 30 mins, checking regularly.
SO, I’ll leave you there… Kale chips dehydrating away… the sweet anticipation and curiosity of how it’s all gonna turn out. I have a really great feeling about it, and I’ll definitely be updating you on the outcome. The moral of the story is: When compelled to kitchen witchery- DON’T HOLD BACK!!!! STOP EVERYTHING! GET IN THERE AND MAKE MAGIC… work with what you have and trust your instincts. These phases come and go, and hopefully, your pantry is full of kale chips and other goodies to see you through the dry spells when you are busy with your other endeavours.