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Treats for Terribly Deprived Children

October 6, 2010

Sometimes I get the urge to write a parenting blog.  Don’t worry, I’m going to bring this back around to food in just a little bit.  But before I do, there are probably a few things you should know.

I spend way too much time with my kids.  It’s probably not healthy for them.  And it’s certainly not healthy for me.  The direct proof of that is the unnatural love two kids born after Y2K have for the Talking Heads.  When a toddler can sing the refrain from Psycho Killer you’ve got a problem, but when Little Miss Fussy can sing the lyrics from Slippery People it’s gone way too far.  She couldn’t even tell you the name of one princess or fairy.  How will she ever fit in?

I’m probably going to regret this down the road, but in many ways my kids are terribly deprived.  They don’t get nearly enough sugar, junk food or television.  I knew a guy in college who grew up like this, and he was one of the most twisted people I have ever met.  Great guy, but totally warped.

So maybe now it will not be such a great surprise to hear of the recent exchange I had with Young Master Fussy as I was considering what to do with a bunch of kale:

YMF: Daddy, can you make some kale chips please?
DAD: No, they are a real pain in the neck, and I’m tired.
YMF: How about just one batch?
DAD: [considering the proposition]
YMF: Pleeeease?

I caved.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  YMF isn’t one of those kids who goes crazy over vegetables.  He eats the ones he likes, and occasionally will suffer through the ones he is less crazy about in order to get some pittance of a dessert.  But more often than not he’ll choose to skip dessert, which he loves, in order to avoid eating a few bites of dark leafy greens.

From what I’ve been told, kale is a nutritional powerhouse.  And if this preparation can get him to not just eat the stuff, but explicitly request it, all the better.

It’s not as if it’s difficult to do, but it just takes a bunch of time and space, most likely because I can be a bit of a perfectionist about things.  First I like to make sure my greens are entirely clean, which generally involves three changes of water.  Then I like to make sure they are very dry, which involves a lot of salad spinning and towels. To make sure the kale chips cook evenly, I cut out every individual stem.  And that just takes time.

The quickest step is tossing the leaves with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and making sure every leaf has been adequately dressed.  Using an extra large bowl helps.

When laying them out on the foil lined cookie sheets, I make sure they leaves are all in one layer and not too crowded or overlapping, so they cook evenly and crisp.  And I limit the number of cookie sheets in the oven at a time to two.

My secret for kale chips is to watch the greens closely, especially towards the end of cooking, to make sure they stay mostly green, but still crisp up.  Timing will be a bit different depending on what kind of kale you are using and the idiosyncrasies of your oven.  With the flat-leaf red Russian kale from my CSA, 250 degrees for about 15-20 minutes was about right.

Oddly, the leaves seemed to melt into the aluminum foil.  As they cooked they completely flattened.  But they slid right off and were so super crisp that they shattered like candy glass when we bit into them.  Clearly they made an impression, because I found my kid begging for them.  But then again he is also begging for an acoustic mandolin.

So, which one among you is going to call child protective services first?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob W. permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:21 am

    As a father who was once heard to say “No, I won’t make you beans and rice tonight — just eat your chicken patty”, you’ll get no judgement from this corner.

    Thanks for the kale chip tip…I’ll defintely give it a try with my chip-loving brood.

  2. October 6, 2010 3:05 pm

    My kid begs for black beans like they are M&Ms. So I’m in no position to judge you for Krispy Kale. :)

  3. Vicki permalink
    October 6, 2010 4:06 pm

    Just watch out that YMF doesn’t end up like one of my co-workers who wasn’t allowed any candy during childhood and now eats skor bars for breakfast and the rest of the meals for the day are down hill after that!!!

  4. Ellen Whitby permalink
    October 8, 2010 12:15 am

    Reminds me of the time I was in the produce section of the supermarket with my boys and one of them asked if we could buy brussel sprouts and make them the way Grandma does. A woman who overheard his request came over and timidly asked me how grandma makes brussel sprouts.

    YMF will be just as unique as you are. And you know what? He’ll know what’s good!

  5. October 10, 2010 3:37 pm

    i LOVED the way you started out with the kids and ended up with kale chips!
    really enjoyed this post :) good job getting FP’d yesterday, bringing your blog to my attention. have added you to my blogroll and will take my time skimming the rest of your posts at my leisure :)

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