I don’t know if you are into gardening, or have the opportunity to garden, but certainly here in the UK we are having a good growing season. Drive anywhere just outside of cities and towns and you see fields and hillocks covered in vegetables plots, neat rows of climbing raspberries and sprawling strawberries, waving ripples of wind-tossed grains. In Scotland I’ve already spotted tell-tale tassels of sweetcorn.
Aside from the washout of Glastonbury last weekend, we have been so lucky with the weather – warm, a little rain and not too much drying wind. In fact it has been so nice that it has been difficult to stay indoors and do proper work and chores. Consequently I have a dusty house and bits on the carpet but great-smelling line-dried laundry and a swept deck. It is almost painful to be indoors when the sun is out and the air is balmy. Do you feel that way?
With all of the great weather and my inability to stay indoors I have been able to keep a closer watch than normal on my edible garden. Happily I have noticed that even my own modest collection of pots and willow-bound raised beds are bursting with greens and edible flowers. In fact, I would go so far as to say I have a glut. Not of black pak choi though. We had barely a chance to eat a few plants before hungry, discerning critters swooped in and nibbled the lot.
But not much is after the kale. More fool them as homegrown kale is out of this world, and incredibly easy to grow. Shannon, who lives in Malaysia, has the normally cool temp crop growing on her balcony! But I think she may have a special knack. I sowed a tray earlier in the year and planted most of them out once they had about four leaves. After that I pretty much just left them to the elements. No molly-coddling from me. :-).
But this isn’t a gardening blog: I would have run out of things to say by the third week, such is my lack of knowledge. I will however give you my new favourite kale crisp recipes. Kale crisps/chips are my area of expertise. 😉
I have learned over the few years of making kale crisps to keep the temperature low and the time a bit long. It does require more patience – not really my forte – but totally worth the wait. I also use a variety of kales, with all working well when no extra flavours are added, but curly kale works best when adding both dry or wet seasoning: the little frills and nooks and crannies are just so good at trapping flavour. But use whatever kale is available to you. I grow mainly the long non-curly black kale so that is what I used here. If buying from the store you are more likely to find the curly stuff, so get that.
To bake the kale crisps you will need a tray of course. And I was lucky enough to be given a great bakewell pan from Viner’s Cook & Dine to be used not only for kale crisps (I don’t think kale crisps are its selling point!) but any kind of baking or roasting. I have gone through so many baking trays over the years, most warping at some point. Still usable but a little unsatisfactory. I tested this pan without anything in it to see what was the ‘warp point’ (the temperature at which a tray will bend and buckle). It didn’t have one. I had the tray at 250C (500F) and nothing. Not the usual tell-tale ‘boing’ from the oven, or shape-shifting when I had a peek. Good stuff. It isn’t non-stick, but I actually prefer to add my own baking paper anyway, so that’s what I ended up doing. The image shows kale on tray sans paper just so you can see the pan better.
So to the giveaway, Viner’s are offering UK readers of food to glow a chance to win a set of baking trays – the Progress Multi-Use and a Viner’s 12-hole deep muffin tray. How does that sound? If you like to cook and bake you don’t need me to tell you one can never have enough trays. 🙂
To have a chance of winning just leave a comment finishing this sentence: If I won the Viner’s baking set the first thing I would make is….
Leave a link to your own recipe, someone else’s, or even just the name of what you would like to bake, e.g. carrot cake muffins. To increase your chance, tweet a link to this blog post, including me – @foodtoglow – in your tweet! Good luck!
Giveaway winner decided at random and contacted shortly after the closing date of Friday, 11 July at 12 midnight. Mainland UK readers only – sorry!
Disclaimer: I only affiliate with companies and products I personally use and love. I will not endorse a product or company without having tried them. It isn’t ethical. I will not run a giveaway for or do a review of a product or service I haven’t used. Review opinions are completely my own and are not paid for.
PS All images are just snappy snaps from my phone. In a hurry. We were hungry!
PPS Thank you to Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes who felt sorry for my naked header section at the top of the blog and put some of my photos into a banner for me!
Spicy and Tangy Kale Crisps
Although I have used homegrown black kale here – cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, lacinto (it has a lot of names) – my preferred kale for flavoured crisps is curly. The natural frills hold any flavourings you add, and keep the hot air circulating around and through the leaves. When I am not adding anything to my kale, black kale is the business. For the curly kale, just pull the frilly ‘outcrops’ from the stem itself; for black kale, cut away the rib and tear or cut the leaves (see image).
The spicy and tangy options here are sriracha-miso and Korean gochujang. Both are very tasty indeed, but those avoiding sugar will prefer the less sweet version of sriracha-miso.
I also baked leftover marinades into some raw peanuts with great results. I would however use walnuts or pecan next time as the nooks and crannies will hold even more delicious sauce!
The lower than usual temperature is necessary for evaporating the moisture in the sauce and leaving just the exquisite tangy-spicy flavour. You may need to play with the timings to get them to your liking. Enjoy! K x
Korean Kale Crisps
Gochujang is a spicy-sweet paste used widely in many Korean dishes. You can get it from souschef.co.uk, many Chinese and Asian supermarkets, and of course online. If you can’t get it – or don’t wish to – see the other crisp recipe below. :-). There are homemade gochujang recipes online too.
160g (about half a large bunch) cleaned and dry kale of choice, trimmed weight
1 tbsp gochujang paste
2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 ½ tsp rapeseed oil/coconut oil
Sriracha-Miso Kale Crisps
I think that this paste combination tastes very similar to commercial Korean gochujang paste, so do try this if you can’t get gochujang paste.
150g (half a large bunch) kale of choice, trimmed weight
2 tsp Sriracha (hot sauce)
1 tsp brown miso (or other miso paste)
2 tsp vinegar
1 ½ tsp rapeseed oil/coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/285F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment or Silpat.
For either sauce, cut or tear the cleaned and dry kale into large pieces, bearing in mind they will shrink during their time in the oven. Add the pieces to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add the marinade ingredients of choice to a small bowl and use a spoon or small whisk to mix thoroughly. With the gochujang paste you will have to work a little harder as it is a bit sticky. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Scrape the marinade into the large bowl with the kale and use both hands to thoroughly rub into the kale pieces. Place on the two baking paper-lined or Silpat-lined baking trays. Place in the preheated oven and bake until crispy and light – about 25 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. You may need more or less time, depending on your oven: kale crisps are sensitive little creatures!
Let the crisps cool for a few minutes, to dry further, then just start eating!
Leftover crisps? That rarely happens but if so they are wonderful as a cheese substitute on spaghetti Bolognese, on salads and mixed with popcorn.
BONUS marinade use: on nuts
I have loads of kale recipes and a cluster of Korean recipes, so do have a look at the Recipe Index for more ideas.