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September 22, 2010. How good are these? They’re so good that Kathy – who previously pretended to be allergic to kale – requests them. Frequently. Ever since Holly made them for us last year in Napa, CA.

How good are these? They’re so good we serve them as snacks to every dinner guest during kale season. Which begins now – just picked up my CSA farm share with the season’s first kale.

Yeah, kale’s really good for you. But that doesn’t make you love it. Flash roasting does.

So quick and easy that there’s no recipe. So tasty they’re addictive. So cheap you can afford to eat them until you just can’t eat any more. Near zero calories.

They’re amazingly light and crispy. They retain their shape and crispness for an hour or more, so make them in advance. They’re delicious. They look really cool: dark green with ruffled golden brown edges.

They’re what kale always wanted to be.

What to do
Not much. Wash and dry the leaves. Cut out the stems; they’re too tough to eat. Tear the leaf halves into bite-size pieces. Actually, larger than bite-size – they shrink a lot in the 550-degree oven you’re preheating. (Holly uses less heat; about 350F. Personally, I like the higher temperature; the “chips” seem to be lighter and crisper – and take less time to make.)

Toss the kale pieces in a large bowl with a very little bit of very good olive oil and some sea salt. Toss thoroughly to completely gloss the kale. Just a gloss – not a thick coat, no dripping with olive oil.

Lay out the pieces on a baking sheet. Side by side, one layer. Not a pile. Into the 550 F oven for about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it – things happen fast. When most or all of the ruffled edges turn a golden brown, take them out. Let your kale chips cool for two minutes. Eat them right away – or anytime within an hour.

Chances are, you’re eating them right away. So have another bowlful tossed and ready for the second shift in the oven.

Pizza?
Why not. I was thinking, about four minutes in a 550 F oven – sounds like a pizza. I made some pizza dough yesterday, so I stretched a crust, dotted it with feta cheese and put it in the oven for two minutes. Then I put the olive oiled kale on top and let it go for another four minutes. What a great pizza!

Thank you, Holly.

Cost-Benefit Analysis
The kale itself: about 1 calorie per chip. Go ahead, have 20 or 30. That’ll get you more than twice your daily Vitamin A requirement and significantly more than your Vitamin C requirement. And some dietary fiber. For about 25 cents. A very little bit of olive oil will add 15 calories to your feeding frenzy and 10 cents to your cost.

Cost Comparison
For $1.29, you get almost as many Frito-Lay’s potato chips in the 2.75-ounce back. You also get 412 calories! Yup. Four times the cost; ten times the calories. Try the kale, huh?

Let’s do the math I like to dance, but you have to be a dancin’ fool for more than an hour to burn off the potato chips. The kale? You’ll torch the kale calories before you make it through the album version of Light My Fire.

Every Thing Is Everything
Just three servings of vegetables each day — especially cruciferous ones like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts — cut the risk of prostate cancer by almost half, according to Hutchinson Center research. While all vegetables help decrease risk, cruciferous vegetables are the heavyweights. It’s believed that vegetables protect against cancer because they contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, many of which increase enzyme activity to detoxify cancer-promoting compounds in the body.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The study showed a 35% lower cancer risk for men eating 28 vegetable servings weekly – and a 44% lower risk for guys who ate just three servings of cruciferous vegetables each week.

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