January 22, 2014

Kitchen Day

Yesterday I just couldn't get warm enough. And my perpetual sniffles were threatening to take over my sinuses and chest. (I rarely get sick [knock on wood!], but often feel like I am fighting off a touch of sickness. A little tired, a little phlegmy, a little layer of cotton wrapping the brain.) Then I remembered two things: a recent post over on SouleMama about staying warm next to a hot oven by cooking all day and my long shelved surefire cold-busting comfort food. 
Garlicky, spicy, pipin' hot miso soup. Rather than chicken noodle, this is my go to sickness soup. Boil water or vegetable broth, scoop some out in which to dissolve the miso (I like white), throw in diced carrots, add the dissolved miso after a few minutes along with diced extra firm tofu and ridiculous amounts of minced garlic, simmer for a couple of minutes. That's it. I had the soup with a small portion of soba noodles, topped with green onions, and with a generous splurt of sriracha and a dash of soy sauce stirred in. Delicious. And it did the job, too. My sinuses are back to normal today.
While soup was simmering, the oven was warming up for roasted chickpeas. I tried this once before a few years ago, but was disappointed with the results. That time, the beans were over-dried and overly hard. This time I looked up recipes online. There's quite a range of suggested oven temperatures and time to roast. Such a range that it was hard to make sense of it. I followed this recipe by Mark Bittman. The beans turned out slightly crunchy, pleasantly chewy, and still soft inside. After they cooled, the crunchiness was lost, but they were still great on top of a salad at dinner time.

While pizza dough was rising, the star of the day went into the oven. Why have I never had kale chips before now? Why? My two requirements for snack food that will satisfy a junk food craving are salt and crunch. Hello kale chips! Salty, crunchy, light as air, and oh so tasty.
Again, quite a range of oven temperatures and roasting times in the recipes I found online. This is what worked for me with lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale. Remove the leaves from the central stem. Cut or tear the leaves into slightly larger than bite sized pieces. Wash and dry well. I left the washed and spun kale spread out on towels on the counter for a few hours. Toss well in a little olive oil, really massage the oil onto all the kale. I used 1Tbs for one bunch of kale. Arrange kale in a single layer on parchment lined sheet trays and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt. Put in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until kale chips are completely dry. I used both sheet trays and brownie pans. The sheet trays were done in 10 minutes, the brownie pans took 12 minutes.

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