24 December 2010

Recipes: Basic Kale Chips & Oven-Roasted Corn

Sometimes, I just don't feel like cooking, so I end up eating stuff that's bad for me because it's easy and fast. So I've been working lately to build up a repertoire of delicious, fast, and easy dishes. Here's are two of my all-time favorites:

First, kale chips. OMG, do I love kale chips. My sister, Fiona, introduced me to Kale chips, and I have to admit, they didn't sound that great, but if my sister was raving about them, I figured I ought to at least give them a try. The first time I made them, I wasn't that impressed. For one thing, they were way too salty, which, I found out later, came from a typo in the original recipe that I used. Ugh. All, they were kind of, well, weird, but I decided to try them again, and I've finally come up with a "recipe" that's really yummy.

Oven-Roasted Kale Chips

Preheat your oven to 350 d. F.

1 bunch fresh kale, any kind will work, but I like the curly kind

Tear the kale off the stems and into smallish pieces, maybe 1 - 2 inches big? They will shrink a lot when you cook them, so don't be afraid to keep 'em on the larger side. Put the kale pieces into a large bowl or pot.

1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. vinegar (any kind, I've used balsamic and white)

Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the torn kale. I'll confess: I never measure, so use more or less as needed. Use your hands to get in there and smear the kale with the oil and vinegar. Try to make sure that every leaf is covered. You'll be able to feel when it's all mixed right.

Lightly spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray. (Not necessary if you have non-stick pans, but I don't). Spread the kale mixture evenly all over the pan. It really doesn't matter if the leaves overlap a bit.

1/2 t. salt
1/8 cup nutritional yeast

Sprinkle the tray of kale with salt and nooch (nutritional yeast) to taste. If you don't have nooch, it's totally optional, but it really makes the chips taste awesome. You can buy nutritional yeast in the bulk foods section at most Whole Foods. It's about $8 a pound, but you only need a small amount. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn with a spatula or tongs, and return to the oven for 8 - 10 more minutes. Depending on your oven, you might want to start checking the tray after 15 minutes. The kale will shrivel up and when you touch it, it will be crunchy. You want to stop cooking when most of the kale is crunchy, being careful not to let it burn or turn too brown. I tend to have some non-crunchy pieces, but I think they taste delicious and don't worry about it too much.

Here are some additional recipes for flavoring your kale chips. I haven't tried any of these yet, but I definitely will sometime soon. These all call for dehydrating the chips instead of doing them in the oven, but I'm going to stick with the oven method, just add the new flavors.

I'm totally eating a bowl of kale chips as I write this entry. Yum-um!

Another favorite of mine is oven-roasted corn. Since the oven was already hot from today's batch of kale chips, I decided to make corn to go with dinner tonight. Oven-roasted corn is probably the easiest recipe ever.

You need:
Fresh ears of corn, enough to serve whoever's coming for dinner
(Okay, I know it's winter, so corn might not be the best -- save this for the summer!)

Oh, yeah, that's it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fresh corn husks in the oven, directly on the rack. There's absolutely no need to pre-husk the corn or remove the silks before cooking. Just chuck 'em right in the oven, wander away for 30 minutes (perhaps to work on your blog, like I'm doing), and go back to the most succulent, mouth-watering corn you've ever had. No need for butter. No need for anything. Just peel back the husk to use as a handle, remove the silks, and eat. Oh my gawd.

(If you really must put something on your corn, check out this recipe to Mexican Street Corn from America's Test Kitchen. It is amazingly good. I saw it on the show and had to try it the next day for dinner. Wow!)


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