I’ve been talking about missing kale since I left the States back in January. Now that we’re back in the Hudson Valley for the summer, I’ve stopped talking and writing about it because I’m far too busy cooking and eating it! What sweet joy it is to be reunited with kale…Tuscan Kale, Curly Kale, Red Russian Kale…keep it coming!
I had been eager to get Claire to try kale chips since, I have to admit, she isn’t very keen on her dark leafy greens just yet. (Especially raw greens ) I wasn’t very eager however, to turn the oven on. In addition to being reunited with the diverse bounty of the region, we were reunited with humidity. Kind of makes me wish for the dry, desert heat.
So, when it’s too hot to bake or roast, it’s a perfect time to grill. Just as I would do for kale chips, I lightly dressed these leaves, still attached to their stems, in olive oil, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper. That’s it. But really, that’s all you need. This kale is from Blooming Hill Farm, located 20 minutes from where I’m staying. You could still taste the sweet Earth in every bite and the nourishment is the bonus.
Kale is a super food. It’s not a trendy super food that will die out to the next trend. Kale sets the bar for other trends, plain and simple.
Let’s start at the beginning. Kale is a member of the Brassica family, cousins with Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli. This is a special family of vegetables, responsible for a whole host of health benefits such as promoting detoxification, protecting against cardiovascular disease, and kicking several cancers’ a**! Excuse my French, but kale really does perform when it comes to prevention and even treatment of various cancers. The antioxidants, especially lutein and beta carotene, are responsible for this special power. Kale also has what are called glucosinolates which are specifically “anti-cancer nutrients”¹. Throw in the potent anti-inflammatory properties that kale possesses and you’ve got a winning recipe to combat oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, 2 main causes that lead to most diseases, including cancer.
Kale is also a super detox food. The goodie nutrients help protect you from the toxins floating around
whether you’re actually doing a detox or not. Then there’s the fiber and specific sulfur compounds that actually aid in the detox process. It would be wise to eat steamed kale or throw it into a smoothie before, during or after your detox/fast.
I would be remiss for not mentioning the abundant stores of Vitamins A and C (also antioxidants) and Vitamin K, calcium and iron. That’s a lot of muscle for a dark leafy green.
Ready for the cherry on top? Claire loved these kale “chips”! (Hint, hint to you moms trying to get some dark leafy greens into your kids’ tummies!)
1-2 bunches of kale (depending on how much you want to end up with)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 healthy pinch of sea salt or my new staple Himalayan pink salt
Freshly ground black pepper, optional
1 t lemon zest (from an organic lemon), for garnish
Turn the grill on and keep setting to low.
Wash and dry the kale leaving the leaves and stems intact. Then drizzle with olive oil and turn to coat the leaves. You don’t want to use too much oil or the leaves will simply get limp.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper if using.
Arrange the leaves to line up next to each other on the grill. After about 2-3 minutes, turn leaves over. You may need to do this a couple of times until you reach your desired level of crunchy to wilted ratio.
When done (5-6 minutes, really), remove and place in a bowl. Garnish with lemon zest.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy all summer long!