Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kale Chips

Kale chips.  Some people have heard of them, some haven't.  I first heard about kale (boerenkool in Dutch :) ) when my family started growing them on the farm.  I never ate it because I dislike bitter vegetables.  I can eat the green part of bok choy, but arugula, frisee, alfafa sprouts, watercress, bittermelon...thanks, but no thanks.  A lot of people told us they boil it in stews and soups (boerenkool met worst might be something I could cook AND eat), many juiced it and a few mentioned kale chips.  Really?  Some cabbage chips?  Nasty.... That's what I thought until I saw kale this past Tuesday and figured, what the hey, it's $2.00 for a package, I can give it a go.  I'm trying to limit my starch intake as much as possible and if I have to have something, I try to make it rice or potatoes; energy from carbohydrates comes in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables.  I have noticed when I overdose on my beloved cookies, quick breads, cheesecakes and various desserts, my eczema flares and I break out something crazy.  It's nothing as major as celiac disease, but I think a lot of us have a wheat or gluten intolerance and don't really realize the cause.  Google "gluten intolerance" or "celiac disease" and you'll find a lot of interesting reading.  I never really knew how much gluten appears in "normal" things until I did some reading.

Anyhoooooo....back to the kale chips!  After Googling "kale chips" and coming up with hundreds of results, I sort of took the average in my head and came up with the concoction below.  They were all basically the same, dry leaves, coat with oil, bake, but what varied was the temperature and seasonings!

I removed the ribs from the kale chips with a knife and cut/tore them into 2" pieces.  I dried them thoroughly in my salad spinner several times as a lot of water got trapped in the curly leaves.  I massaged them with canola oil (I didn't have olive oil), a bit of salt and pepper and parmesan cheese and made sure every part of the leaf had a bit of oil on it.  I cranked the oven to a medium 300 degrees, wrapped two cookie sheets with foil and laid the kale chips out in a single layer, with a little space to breath in between each piece.  I baked for about 25-30 minutes (watch carefully, all the recipes say they go from crispy to burnt in moments).

Here they are before:

And after:

How did they taste?  I tried them when they were about 2/3 of the way done.  EW GROSS!!!  Bitter, mineral-y taste, soggy, kinda limp.  BLEH!!  But once they were completely crisped up....YUM!  Well, a "not bad for a fluffy veggie".  The chips don't look the best once done, but they really are pretty good.  A definite alternative to potato chips and very easy, low prep snack in which you control the salt and calories and a bit healthier than straight parmesan crisps.  I think next time, I'll tear the kale into smaller pieces and put them in a big zip top bag with the oil and seasonings to make clean up (of my hands) easier.  The chips are extremely fragile when done so I'm storing mine in some plastic containers.  I think I'll guinea pig my coworkers and see what they think!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tango Market

I, like many others, miss Satura Cakes, but in the same location, Tango Market has opened.  It is owned and operated by Chef Goran Streng, of Tango Cafe (yes, it's across the street from Tango Market!).  I know of Chef Streng from the Kapiolani Farmer's Market; his blueberry bread pudding with creme anglaise was a welcome breakfast with some 100% fresh roasted Kona coffee (in a 3 shot latte, of course!).

I stopped for lunch because I had to make the long trek from one side of the Ward shopping complex to the other (soooooo far in the hot Hawaiian noon-day sunshine! It was terrible, let me tell ya...).  I asked the server what was good and she recommended the duck confit quesadilla (~$10) which comes with either a tossed green salad or pasta salad.  I opted for the pasta salad (tossed salad is the same everywhere...rabbit food!)

Here's the duck confit quesadilla (how's that for fusion??):

And here's the inside of the quesadilla (duck, cheddar cheese, corn, tomatoes, onions, avocado, sour cream (I think) and green onions).  It was crispy crunchy and delicious.  At $10, I might treat myself to this once in a while!

Here's a close up of the pasta salad which had tricolor rotini pasta, red and white onions (fair warning, they're raw), salami, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata and green olives with some sort of dressing.  I would like to say it was italian, but it could have been a vinaigrette.  It was quite tasty, and I could probably do a big bowl of that for lunch.  It's nice to know that the pasta salad isn't a "just" a side dish, but something that is a unique and yummy creation all on its own.

I couldn't pass up for dessert so I chose the chocolate hazelnut cheesecake for $3.75 (not that I wasn't already in cheesecake overload from the double chocolate marbled cheesecakes I made over the weekend.....).  Not what I expected, but in a good way!  It was light, more like a chocolate mousse (I couldn't really taste the cheesecake flavor) with a big helping of whipped cream and a sprinking of crunchies (I'm assuming these are toasted hazelnuts with some crust...maybe hazelnut cookie crumbs) and an adorable chocolate design (yes, I know you can buy these, but I prefer to think it was made just for me) and buried at the bottom, some cubes of white cake:

I spent a total of almost $15.00 for this lunch so it's a bit pricey to eat often, but the atmosphere is nice and it's a slightly nicer place to go for lunch.  They have sit down service as well, but limited inside seating as well as some outside seating.  Would I go back?  Hands-down definitely!  I have to work my way through the dessert menu........