I made kale chips and brought them to the New Year’s party I was at a couple of nights ago. They were very, very popular. When I had to leave after a few hours, and picked up the storage container with the last few in it, a friend of mine literally made a little “uh!” sound and grabbed for them. Kale chips are ridiculously expensive per unit weight, but also remarkably easy to make at home. Here’s how I made mine.
Start by soaking a cup of raw cashews (well, they’re not really raw, but you know what I mean) in water for an hour or two. In the meantime, prepare two bunches of Tuscan kale by carefully stripping them off their stems, washing them well, and drying them as much as can be done easily. (You could use curly kale too, and that might even be better. But the Tuscan kale strips are long and delicate!)
Then purée in a food processor until it turns into a paste:
The soaked and drained cashews
The flesh of a red bell pepper (no stem, no seeds)
The juice of a juicy lemon (and, if it’s a good lemon, some of its zest too)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Maybe a clove of garlic
A little sprinkling of sea salt (the nutritional yeast is already plenty salty)
You’ll need to do this in two batches, most likely, so put half the cashew-pepper-nutritional yeast paste in a bowl, then put half the kale leaves in there and mush it around with your hands until the leaves are unevenly coated. LIttle clumps of the coating here and there are fine, uncoated bits are fine too. It’ll stick. Lay the leaves out on nonstick cookie sheets or baking pans, with as little overlap as possible. (I used two big cookie sheets and still could only cook half the leaves at once. If you have a bunch of nonstick cookie sheets, mazel tov.)
Put them in the oven at its lowest setting, like 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the chips after 20 minutes or so, and every 10 or 15 minutes thereafter. You’re not trying to bake them so much as to dehydrate them. When they’re starting to get pretty dry, take the pans out and flip the chips over with a spatula. When they’re really, truly all dry and crispy, they’re done. If any of them are still kind of damp, they will make all the rest chewy rather than crispy when you put them in the same container.
Let your guests fall upon them ravenously.