Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mon petit chou

The French have a different word for everything, except when it comes to the cabbage family.  For that, everything is “chou” which is pronounced “shoe” and might be your description of the texture of cabbage-related vegetables.

English______                        French_______         
cabbage                                    chou
Brussels sprouts                        choux de Bruxelles
cauliflower                               chou-fleur
collard greens                           feuilles de chou-vert
kohlrabi                                    chou-rave
sauerkraut                                 choucroute
kale                                          chou vert frisé

and, inexplicably,
my darling                                mon petit chou

The French for kale literally means “green curly cabbage.”  Kale is also known as “the disgusting boiled vegetable served in the elementary school cafeteria when I was a kid.”  Back then, Mrs. Hurstein the Cafeteria Aide ruled over her fiefdom as a benevolent dictator.  She required us to (gasp) eat our vegetables before we could get in the dessert line.  I drew the line at eating kale.  Blech.  Dessert was not worth that price.

Lately, though, I have heard people raving about kale chips.  I was dubious that these would actually taste good, but finally decided to give it a try.  I mean, kale is so darn good for you.  It’s chock full of vitamins A, C, and K, and half a chock full of a bunch of other vitamins.  It’s an antioxidant party! There are nutritional drawbacks, though. Kale conflicts with blood-thinner drugs, and it prevents the absorption of calcium.  So if you are trying to boost your calcium, just don’t dip your kale chips in your milk.

My first attempt at kale chips was successful.  They were crispy, crunchy and flavorful.   I really liked them, my husband gave his approval, and Oldest Daughter finished off the batch.  The two younger members of the household ate one ‘chip’ when forced, but no more.  I guess I am not enough like Mrs. Hurstein.

Now that you have thought about kale, I suggest you think about cookies.  You have earned it, Dear Reader.  You could head over to Andrea’s blog Raising Peanut, look at her cookies (here for Elephant Cookies and here - scroll toward the end for a lovely story of what she did with her Christmas cookies), and give her some comment love.  

(Recipe for kale chips is below the photos.)

Take one bunch of kale.

Wash it. Ain't it pretty?

Tear the leaves off of the ribs.  The ribs are the part
 pictured here.  Discard them.

If you are taking photos for your blog, clean out the sink
before putting the kale leaves in the salad spinner.

This is about half of the bunch of kale, spun dry.
Put the leaves on a baking sheet.  Spray with cooking oil.
Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.  If you like spiciness,
sprinkle with cayenne pepper.  Or any other spice you like.

Cook at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from baking
sheet to paper towel to cool.  Repeat with the rest of
the kale leaves. 

 Still life of kale with oatmeal cookies.

This recipe only takes about 5 minutes to prepare,
if you are not cleaning out your sink to take photos.

Kale Chips

uncooked kale, 1 large bunch
cooking oil spray
garlic powder
cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Tear kale into bite sized pieces, removing the large rib. Wash and dry thoroughly. Lay kale on a baking sheet in a single layer (do not crowd). Spray oil lightly over kale.  Sprinkle salt, garlic powder (and cayenne pepper if desired) over kale.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet onto paper towel to cool.  Repeat with the rest of the kale.

One recipe I found said this:
Let sit out to cool and store in ziploc bag. Note: make sure that you get rid of any uncrispy pieces before closing the bag or it will make all of the kale very chewy.
but I don’t know if it’s true that it will get chewy.  Ours was gone before bedtime.


Cassi Renee said...

That was a great French lesson :-)

I made Kale chips once, last summer. The adults thought they were okay. I guess we didn't like them too much, though, because I've never made them again.

Angie said...

Yeah, I know all about those french words. And having in the south now for 5 and a half years, I have come to appreciate "greens." Because they know how to cook 'em down here! I like mustard greens, collard greens, even beet greens. Kale is not one of my favorites. I've not heard of kale chips. I'll have to try that. Because yes, absolutely, they are good for you!

Jon said...

I make kale chips quite often at the Carnegie Science Center as part of a show for early learners about nutrition. Almost all of the kids are willing to try it and almost all of them like it!
My family was quite skeptical the first time that I made it but it actually went over very well. Instead of cooking spray, we typically use a few tsp of olive oil (or other healthy oil of your choice)and toss the leaves in the oil to get them evenly coated. Some various seasonings that are popular with the staff include:

Basil (my favorite)
Parmesan Cheese (when using this you can omit the additional salt)

Once at home and once at work I fooled people into thinking that I was baking pizza when I used a combination of basil, oregano, garlic powder and parmesan cheese.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Tres bien! I just can't get behind kale as a food. It's always been a salad bar garnish to me...

Common Household Mom said...

Jon, that sounds delicious! Next time I make them, I'll try it with olive oil and some different spices.